After a long, tear-jerking (or more like hilariously pathetic) season of The Bachelorette (yes, it is my guilty pleasure), I started pondering the powerful art of schmoozing. Thirty somewhat attractive men, with varying levels of intelligence, suck up to the one "flawless" woman to vow for her heart (or to travel to Europe and drink for free). Regardless of the contestant's intentions, if they don't suck up to the one lucky lady, they're sent packing in a pitiful van with mopey emo music humming in the background.
How does this tie into connecting with influencers via social media? It essentially takes the same skill set. On The Bachelorette, the contestants need to show their interest in a compelling, non-creepy manner that leaves the lady wanting to make a connection and further the relationship.
The same goes for connecting to industry influencers, but luckily the in-person skills are not a requirement. Take a deep breath if you're not good at schmoozing in live social settings (I'm not a huge fan myself). You can learn how to compel influencers without any face-to-face interaction. It's an introvert's dream! Follow these tips to start making more powerful business connections.
#1: Make a Thorough List of Influencers
This tip is pretty self-explanatory, but in order to maximize your efficiency you should organize industry influencers in one Excel doc between several Excel sheets based on the goal you hope the relationship will accomplish.
For instance, let's say you're trying to connect with a big-time industry conference organization to get in front of a new audience that's unexposed to your brand. Add the conference planners to the goal list of expanding your audience through speaking engagements. Then provide links to all of their social profiles and any additional information that will help further facilitate the relationships. Spend time engaging with them and promoting content that is likely to impress them.
On Twitter, make lists of these influencers to easily prioritize you schmoozing goals. You wouldn't want to spend too much time focusing on the other dudes when you should be focusing on winning the lady's hand, right?
#2: Favorite, Like, Comment, and Re-Share Influencer's Content
Tread lightly with this one. Don't be the creep peeking into your crush's window with binoculars as they sleep, but rather the one providing subtle, blush-worthy compliments at the right moment.
On social media, you should be liking and re-sharing influencer content 3-4 times per week, depending on how often they post. Comments should be reserved for valuable insight, flattery and educational commentary (humor also goes a long way, but if it borders on offensive or inappropriate then keep it to yourself - these aren't your fraternity brothers). The rule of thumb here is be genuine rather than spammy to show that you're taking interest without being a suck up.
#3: Promote Your BEST Content to Influencers through Custom or Tailored Audiences
Both Twitter and Facebook have this powerful targeting capability, which allow you to promote your content to a specific audience. It's incredible, and this is the number one thing you should be doing to woo your influencers.
Custom Audiences are created by uploading either phone numbers, social IDs or emails in a CSV or TXT format, to Facebook or Twitter.
But what if you don't have access to their emails or phone numbers? Luckily, you can target their profiles specifically. This strategy is a no-brainer since you only pay to place your most relevant content in-front of the influencers that you hope to do business with.
#4: Talk About Non-Work Related Things
If you can make a personal connection to an influencer this is going to go beyond any subtle sucking up through re-shares and comments.
When I previously worked in customer service, I always tried to find some commonality with each client, whether it was studying abroad in the same city, being dog owners, or enjoying live country music. It doesn't have to be sharing a friend or last name, but just something small that helps form a personal connection. Not only will this help an influencer remember you, but it will help them connect and like you since you share common interests.
How can you do this on social media? Well, since it is social media, they likely share some personal content from time to time. Keep an eye out and if you see something that sparks your interest, comment on it or bring it up in when reaching out. For example, "Hi ___, I saw on Twitter that you recently visited Florence. I was just there a few months ago! Although I gained 5lbs in a week from the amount of pasta I consumed, hah! (Then get to the business)."
#5: Utilize the Same Hashtags and Participate in the Same Chats
Pay attention to the hashtags, conversations, possible twitter chats, or LinkedIn groups your influencers are partaking in and follow suit. You can also tag them in posts or Instagram photos, which they're likely to find engaging. Naturally, you want to hang out where they're hanging out, and since social media is a social place it should be quite easy.
Stop being the no-name guy that no viewer remembers, and start putting your best foot forward to gracefully schmooze your way in with influencers.