The influence pyramid has been overturned, organizations and brands no longer command power, compared to when advertising first began on television. Trust in brands is at an all time low, while any individual can build an influential presence using social media
Now, more than ever before, it's become important to invest in influencer outreach and relationship building. The key to winning at influencer outreach is relationship building, and there are several ways to do it via social networks.
1. Share quotes with @mentions
Quotes get shared a lot on social networks, and even more so when they're visual. They inspire people, can easily be turned into appealing visuals, and are great for building a rapport with the influencers who said them.
There are multiple ways to use quotes in your content.
- You could quote an influencer on your blog post, podcast or video
- Conduct an interview series and pick quotes from influencers' answers, or
- Create an independent quote cover related to your niche and share it on social networks
In cases one and two, you simply need to take the quote, add it to a simple background and share it on social media, tagging the influencer who said it.
Here's an example of a simple but effective quote cover:
It won't always guarantee a connection, but it can be an effective way to get yourself or your brand on their radar.
TrySpruce is one of the easiest ways to create and tweet a visual quote.
2. Curate influencer posts with @mentions
To reach and engage your social media fans, it's important to be consistent. You need to have posts going out of your social media accounts once, or even multiple times a day (particularly on Twitter). It can take time, and a sizeable budget, to create enough original content to fulfill that requirement.
Alternatively, you could curate influencer content to engage your audience and build relationships with influencers all at once.
There are several ways you could curate influencer content.
- Follow them on Twitter and add them to lists
- Search for the hashtags they use and set up keyword alerts
- Use content curation tools and subscribe to industry newsletters
When sharing influencer content ensure that you use the right @mentions and #tags. On Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn you can access tags by using the @symbol, while on Google+, you can use the plus symbol to tag people.
DrumUp is one of the easiest ways to curate content based on keywords and share them on social media with hashtags and @mentions.
Follow this tactic consistently to build relationships with bloggers whose content you share over time.
3. Invite influencers to co-create content
Social media users can smell promotion from miles away, and are more likely to trust in content created by a third-party, unbiased source. That's where subject experts and influencers come in. By inviting them to co-create content with you, you get a fresh perspective, your customers get valuable advice and the influencers get access to a new audience. Everybody wins.
There are different types of content you can co-create with influencers.
- Podcast & video interviews
- Blog interview series
- Case studies & co-created blog posts
- Co-created eBooks
- Blog or video features
Since influencers are typically busy and have their own brand to carry, it's smart to ask them for small commitments. Tweet them one thought-provoking question and make it easy for them to send in answers.
You can format/design the content you receive from your participants creatively. The interviews could be part of a video, blog post or even infographic.
4. Use Twitter lists to manage relationships
If you're interacting with a large network of influencers, managing those relationships can get challenging. An important part of influencer outreach is staying up to date with their current activity, to show your interest and have meaningful conversations with them.
How to create Twitter lists and manage influencer relationships.
- Choose between public and private Twitter lists based on your purpose. Public lists notify recipients that you are following them, private lists do not.
- Use lists to categorize influencers by reach, niche or activity, so you have context when engaging with them.
- Allocate some time each week to check your Twitter lists and interact with influencer content.
If you're also connected to the same influencers on LinkedIn, you can sync your phone contacts and get additional information about them to use during personal conversations.
5. Participate in Twitter chats
Twitter chats are a great place to find your target audience. While your Twitter following may not be a 100% relevant, people who participate in chats usually are, and it's even better when you find chats with topics closely related to your product and market.
Tips for influencer outreach during Twitter chats.
- Find Twitter chats hosted by relevant influencers and participate in them regularly.
- Interact with other influencers participating in the chat (other participants and guest hosts of the chat).
- Quote influencers during chats when their content is relevant to questions being asked, and @mention them when you do.
Chats are hot zones for target groups and influencers are likely to appreciate the exposure they receive as a result of being mentioned.
Most chats share their questions in advance, so you can even prepare visual quotes of GIFs to increase exposure of your tweets.
Influencer outreach is most successful when you get honest and personal. Do your research and use the unique features of different social networks to reach and catch the attention of influencers you want to work with. The ideas on this post can give you a great start, and when followed over a few months, can set you to begin a relationship with influencers.