We all know them, the people who know their stuff inside out and we look to for guidance and advice.
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They are not just experts, they are influencers.
Influencers are hubs of information, they have many followers who respect their recommendations and opinions and being featured by them sends a powerful amount of targeted traffic your way.
It is the ripple effect.
If you want to grow your business you need to know who the influencers are in your field, learn from their expertise and build a productive professional relationship with them.
The Leverage of Influence
Influencers are important to your business because of the size of their audience and the influence they exert. It is good old fashion word of mouth recommendations on steroids.
So if you want to grow your business or profile online it only makes sense to find the right influencers, learn all you can and build excellent working relationships with them.
Here are 7 ways to find powerful influencers:
#1. Industry Awards
These are a great way to find who’s achieving results, they’ll showcase the who’s who and provide links to their blogs, websites and social media.
#2. Be Influenced
Ask others who they recommend and follow – this can result in some amazing finds.
As influencers are inherently very well connected within their tribe, find out who they are in conversation and working with, sharing content and promoting.
#4. Industry Events and the Presenters
The larger conferences can be great for getting a big overview while the smaller seminars and events are ideal for actually getting to meet the influencers and having your specific questions answered during question and networking time.
#5. Podcasts and Webinars
These are another great way to find key influencers – whether it is through interviews, presentations, information products of their own or curated information by others.
#6. Twitter Lists
Twitter is a great untapped resource for finding influencers and keep track of what they are publishing. You can join public lists created by others as well as create your own private or public lists.
#7. Groups and Forums
These are also valuable sources of information. Often those that are the most active are growing their own circles of influence and know who the experts to learn from are.
Building Relationships with Influencers
It may take some time to build a relationship with an influencer, particularly as they are being regularly approached by people who want something from them, but the rewards can be more than you expect.
There are many ways to build relationships with influencers. Here are 9 ways to build relationships:
- Connect through the social media platforms they use.
- Share the posts that are of value to your audience; retweet and quote their content, share, comment and like their Facebook posts.
- Help promote what they are involved with, including charity causes, seminars and conferences, publications and promotions.
- Attend the events and conferences where they are presenting and Tweet their presentations, being sure to tag them and the event’s hashtag.
- Ask them your questions, either through social media, direct messages, at events or in forums.
- Share your original content and ask their opinions.
- Show through your actions that you respect their work, business, time and privacy.
- Be helpful with introductions – while influencers are very well connected, key introductions can be very useful.
- Offer to be of service to them, whether that is to help with an event they are putting on, promoting their latest product or simply answering a call out they make, be ready to get involved in a positive and constructive manner.
What about you?
Have you found developing relationships with influencers to be useful? Who’s on your influencer lists?
How to you build relationships with influencers? What would you recommend?
Guest Author: Belinda Stinson is the editor of the online magazine “She Inspires” and organiser of the She Inspires Social Media Seminars. She has a passion for writing, social media marketing, connecting people and ideas. Connect with Belinda via @she_inspires on Twitter.