Influencer marketing is more prominent in 2019 than ever. As more brands achieve fame and influence on social media, there are more opportunities to create and leverage valuable relationships for your life.
Once you learn how to effectively play the game of digital attention, you can grow your own influence to unprecedented new heights. This guide will give you a comprehensive strategy for building a more useful network through your social media presence.
The First Principle of Influencer Marketing
The most important rule of influencer marketing is to assume that influencers want to help you. Even if someone has many more followers than you, they might be interested in what you do. It takes time to get their attention and show them that you are a genuine person.
Think of this kind of marketing as a team sport. If you can help influencers, even just by giving them some of your time and attention, you can get a few of them to return the favor.
When you try to build relationships without asking for anything in return, it creates more space for other people to help you. The most effective influencer marketers rarely ask for anything because they know that they don't need to. They just cultivate the best network possible and allow good things to happen.
Methods of Influencer Outreach
You can use a variety of tactics to make your first contact with a new influencer. Each approach has its ups and downs and your preference will depend mostly on your personality.
The most direct approach is the cold call. You can send emails or call to try and start a conversation with an influencer that you have not met before. This works best if you have a clear and small request, usually an informational question that can be answered in one or two sentences.
The more subtle approach is to leave comments on social media posts by the influencer. If you leave a few comments on Facebook and Twitter, after a few months that can lead to some responses. This builds awareness that can allow for a warm approach as opposed to a cold call down the line.
You can also ask for introductions from friends. After you have a small network, this is a great way to meet friends-of-friends and connections-of-connections to rapidly expand your circle.
Nurturing Long-Term Relationships
As you become friends and colleagues with an increasingly vast number of people, you won't be able to maintain every single relationship in an active manner. This is why old-school salespeople relied on holiday cards to maintain awareness.
In the modern era, there are a few ways to do this. One is to simply reach out every now and then, perhaps via a Twitter message, to reconnect. Another is to maintain a mailing list and personal blog where other people can naturally keep up with what you're doing.
It is only natural for some of your relationships to grow and others to diminish over time. Don't resist too much of this process. Instead, keep an eye for new and interesting people to meet and brands to work with on a regular basis. Get so good at adding people to your network that you never need to fear losing a few of them to time.
Leveraging Your Network
Once you have a good network for a long time, you'll have the ability to make real requests for help without much trepidation. Do not hesitate to make use of the resources available to you once you get to this point.
The best way to ask for help from people you know is to schedule short, specific times for meetings. While getting coffee is a bad cold call approach, it can be a great way to catch up with a friend and colleague while you are traveling through town. Make sure to leave enough time in your schedule in case the meeting runs long, but never intentionally drag it out. Create a great experience for the other person, whatever their energy is at that time.
For more specific requests, it will depend on your relationship. Sometimes your influencer network is about access to hiring somebody, not getting a favor. The most powerful people in many industries can't even be contacted, let alone be hired, unless you know the right connections. You will have to use context and personal tact to understand your relationships. There could be entire books written about the nuances of influencer relationships.
Keep improving your skills and exploring new tactics over time. There is always more to learn about how to meet new people.