How Do You Find Influencers in Your Area to Help Grow Your Business?

Posted on June 14th 2013

How Do You Find Influencers in Your Area to Help Grow Your Business?

Influencers is the new buzzword in digital marketing, and everyone preaches about building relationships with online influencers but no one shares tips for how to do so. Today I’m going to change that.  Yes, building relationships with influencers can greatly grow your business because it puts your brand name in front of new eyes, and especially those in your local area. If you’re a small business owner, or franchisee, this is a must add to your marketing strategy. But how?

First define your goals; do you want to get more people to visit your restaurant or local shop? If so, you need to find people who talk about your industry in your local community. For example, if you own a restaurant you should you should begin by searching Google for “good food in Norwalk, CT.” If you own a boutique you can search for “fashion, Norwalk, CT.” Your search results will show online business listings that match that search but there should be URLs that link to relevant online content. Some of these URLs will hopefully be blogs that belong to local bloggers. If you do not find any blogs, there should be a few local news organizations in your area that are publishing this type of information. If you look in the comments section on these sites you can probably find a few people who seem knowledgeable about your industry.

Do not have fear if you didn’t find any blogs, you can head to Twitter and
do the same search there. Go to search.twitter.com and search for fashion or food and target your search to your specific geographic location. If you’re an Engage121 user you can easily do this in your Explore tab, and save the search for later. Your results should show some tweets that are relevant to your industry. Click on the profile picture in those tweets, and check out the bio of that person who tweeted the relevant information, as well as scroll through their tweets to see if this is a subject they discuss often. Don’t forget to click the URL they have in their bio, it might be a link to their blog.

You can repeat these steps on every social network. Now that you’ve identified a few key influencers in your local area, what do you do next?

Here are 4 steps for building relationships with those influencers:

  1. Start interacting with them online. For example, if they are a blogger make sure you read their content often and comment on their posts to show that you find their information valuable. Make sure to share your thoughts on the content they publish. In time they’ll see that you are a repeat visitor and will take interest in you, and show their appreciation for your comments.
  2. Share their blog content on your own blog, your Facebook Business Page, Twitter account and tag them on other social networks they use. I refer to this as “scratch their back, and they’ll scratch yours.”
  3. Once these influencers start interacting with you, and it’s a 2-way conversation, invite them to visit your local establishment because you would love to meet them in real life (IRL).
  4. Once you get to this step you’ll have formed a relationship with this influencer, and you need to continue to do the 3 steps above. If you have not seen them mention your brand online, feel free to offer an incentive. Some people will argue against this point but if you’ve gotten to this step I personally think its ok because they know who you are, and you are no longer a stranger. For instance you can offer them a free product or gift card that they can raffle off on their blog.  They’ll love this because it will help them increase blog traffic, and it will help you gain more brand awareness and hopefully new customers. 

If you’re providing great content on your own blog and promoting your social networks in your store then you might not need to do these steps. However, make sure you connect with your offline customers, online and build relationships with them to secure customer loyalty and guarantee repeat business.

How did you find influencers for your business?

Jennifer MacDonald

Jennifer MacDonald

Experienced and results driven social marketing and design professional specializing in creating and administering targeted social marketing strategies utilizing a variety of social media mediums, blogging platforms, webinars and instructional handbooks. 

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Comments

zubin
Posted on June 20th 2013 at 1:26AM

Thanks Jennifer for the useful info!

I have a question about Influencer use of social media, and specfically Facebook. What is Facebook currently doing well to allow Influencers to effectively spread their content? If Influencers had a wish list for new Facebook features geared specifically to them, what would they be asking for?

Twitter has captured the real-time conversation as its primary value for Influencers, so I am curious what Facebook can create to provide additional value to this group.