The following post is a guest feature by Carrie-Anne Foster – author of Social Media Made Easy. She writes about getting influencers in your niche to pay attention to you — and just maybe, share your content with their followers!
You are most likely familiar with the phrase, “Content Is King”. Which, for the most part, is true. However, the content you create doesn’t do much good if no one sees it. When it comes to content creation, there is likely someone who is doing bigger and better than you. These individuals are often known as influencers.
What Is An Influencer
Influencers are people who have the ability to impact how other people think, behave and even take action. Tweet
These are people whose opinions are usually sought after. They have the power to produce an effect on the niche they specialize in. A good example of an influencer is the Dalai Lama. This is a name that is well known all over the world for spreading a message of peace and love.
Identify The Influencer
You will find influencers in every social media platform. Choose one platform that you are most comfortable with. Usually, this will be the platform that drives the most traffic to your website or blog. It is best to stick with one platform to start. This will help you to stay focused and you won’t be overwhelmed with keeping up with your influencers. Once you’ve picked your platform, you need to identify the influencers in that platform. You want to look for people who have a decent number of followers. But more important is the level of engagement the influencer is doing.
I used the Dalai Lama as an example of an influencer. Looking at any of the social media platforms that he uses, you’ll see a staggering amount of followers. But what about the level of engagement? Yes, there is a lot of interaction, but this is on the followers part. Not so much on the Dalai Lama’s part. Let’s face it, he’s a busy man and simply doesn’t have the time to spend engaging with his followers on social media. The Dalai Lama’s follower numbers are great, but this isn’t what you want to look for. You are looking for someone who is engaging with their followers. Answering questions, commenting, interacting with their followers on social media platforms. Posting alone is not enough to qualify as engagement.
Finding The Influencer
If you’ve been blogging for a while, you are most likely familiar with one or two influencers in your niche. But we want to find a few more. Buzzsumo is an easy to use tool that will help you identify top content and influencers in your niche. There is a pro version, but the free version will work well for finding influencers in your niche. You want to look for 10 influencers in your niche. Any more than that and you risk spreading yourself too thin. Engaging with your influencers does take time out of your day, so keep your influencers at a number that is easy for you to manage.
Once you have found the influencers you want to follow, place them in a list. Both Facebook and Twitter have lists. Google Plus has circles, and Pinterest has boards. I like to label my list as ‘Subscriptions’, but you can choose any title you want. The purpose of the list is to have all your influencers in one place. This way you can easily find them and keep track of their posts. Set up a notification so that any time the influencer posts to his page/profile, you will know. Some social media platforms don’t have a notification option, if this is the case, you will want to check your list often.
Engage The Influencer
When you begin a relationship with your influencer chances are they won’t know who you are. Sending them a private message or an email asking them to promote your content isn’t going to go over well. This is why you’ll want to move slow. The goal here is to create a lasting relationship.
The first step in wooing your influencer should be interacting with their posts. This can be as easy as a like, a +1, or a retweet. Make sure you’ve read the post, or the article it links to.
Next, move on to commenting. Leave thoughtful comments. None of this, ‘great post’, stuff. While it may be a good post, this type of comment doesn’t leave any room for discussion. You want to leave a comment that let’s the influencer know that you have read the post. Asking a question is another great way to open up a conversation.
Thirdly, you will move on to sharing their content on social media. When you share their content, introduce it with a unique spin of your own. Tag them when you share the content so they know you’ve shared it. The benefit of tagging is it sends the person you tag a notification. This will increase your chances of grabbing the influencer’s attention.
One of my favorite ways of interacting with an influencer is by linking their content with my own content. I will write an article and look to see if any of my influencers have written similar content. I will then include their link in my article. You can take this a step further and send the influencer an email letting them know that you have linked to their content. I learned this tip from Ana Hoffman of Traffic Generation Cafe. Ana points out that website owners might miss a link that is pointed to their website. Plus, an email adds that personal touch and could open up a deeper connection.
Benefits Of The Influencer
Creating a relationship with an influencer takes time, effort and hard work. But the work you put into it will pay off. Over time, your influencer will begin to notice you, start sharing your content, and potentially will offer you an opportunity to guest post for them. Including influencers in your content strategy will lead to more exposure for you, traffic to your website and improving your social proof.