Step 1: Connect with Influencers on Social Media
The best way to find influencers is to first scope them out on social media. Like their pages on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, circle them on Google+… but don’t stop there.
I’ve found that Twitter is a great way to connect with influencers because they get notified when you follow them or tag their profiles in your status update. The key is to let them know you exist, but not in a spammy way.
Step 2: Build Genuine Relationships
We’re all mature enough to spot a fake relationship, and that’s true in business as well. If you build connections with the sole intention of getting something out of the relationship, people will see through your charade.
It’s essential to build genuine relationships with influencers. Whether they are willing to help you or not is secondary. You need to be genuinely interested in their business/platform and appreciate what they are doing for their audience.
Step 3: Help Them Out
There’s a popular saying that if you want to find a friend you must first be one. This is a fundamental rule in business networking too. If you want to build connections that could possibly grow your business, you must first be willing to help others out.
Here are some ways you can help them online:
- Like, comment or share their social media posts.
- Provide valuable input to a conversation on their page.
- Share freebies they offer on their website.
- Re-share links to their blog articles with personal comments on how it’s helped you.
- Give a shout out to their business or a product/service they provide.
- Send them an encouraging email, thanking them for the positive impact they’ve made.
- Comment on their blog articles, adding something to the conversation, or just appreciating the effort they took to research and publish the article.
Any of these activities done on a consistent basis will get influencers to notice your website. That way, when you establish contact, you are not a stranger. They already have a vague idea of who you are and what your website is about.
Step 4: Offer Something Valuable
The best way to get influencers to help you is to offer something that they’ll find valuable – both for themselves, and for their audience. This is where freebie marketing comes to your aid.
You can create a high-quality freebie that would be valuable – not just for your audience, but for a larger crowd as well. If it appeals to a wider audience, you can introduce the freebie to influencers, and request them to share it in their circles.
Step 5: Ask for Help
“You do not have because you do not ask.” Don’t these words sound familiar? If you really need help, you must be willing to humbly ask for it. There’s no need to beat around the bush, but you must craft your request with great care.
It’s best to email influencers after you’ve built up a connection with them. Here are some elements you must include in your email:
- A very brief introduction of who you are.
- A connection point – for example, something on their website that you relate with.
- Your request in a crisp and clear format.
- An explanation of how helping you would be beneficial to them.
- Relevant links and images.
- An expression of gratitude.
Here’s a sample email you can use when reaching out to influencers.
I’m <Your Name> from <Your Website>. I love your article on <Article Topic>. I appreciate your perspective and the effort you’ve taken to put together such a great resource.
I understand that your audience is interested in <topic of your freebie>. I’ve created a free resource on <freebie title> to help <what your freebie aims to do>. I’m sure your audience would find it very beneficial. I’d be much obliged if you would consider sharing this free resource with your readers.
I’ve attached your complimentary copy with this email, and would love to return the favor anytime.
Thank you for your time!
You could use variations of this email for different networking campaigns, customizing it based on who you are writing to, and what you have to offer. A well-written email, combined with a valuable resource, is sure to get you a positive response rate of at least 5 – 10%.