How Do You Find Influencers?

How do you find influencers who can make a difference to you? Here are five tips to find the people who are having an impact in your field:

 

  1. Use BuzzSumo’s free influencer search tool. You can use keywords and find Twitter handles of accounts sharing similar keyword-related content. Filters let you sort results by reach, authority, influence, and engagement.
  2. Try Followerwonk, a free app on Rand Fishkin’s Moz site. This tool lets you search Twitter users based on keywords in their bios and sort results based on their number of followers and social authority.
  3. Twellow is a very useful site that can help you build your audience in several ways. It allows you to search influencers by industry and breaks down results based on location, subject matter, and profession. Another way to find possible influencers by location is to Google it. For example, searching for “mommy bloggers in Pittsburgh” would return lists of top bloggers in the area.
  4. Check out industry-related conferences and scan the speaker list. These are likely to be well-known and influential leaders in your field.
  5. Hashtag research can help you identify influencers with similar interests. Search for a topical hashtag (like #organicfood, #librarian, or #electricalengineer, for example) on Google, Twitter, and Instagram to find others interested in a topic. Dig a little deeper to look at how many followers they have, the engagement they get on their posts, and what kind of content they publish.

 

Once you’ve created a list of influencers, it’s time to start finding ways to connect with them. Don’t “pitch” influencers. Befriend them.

 

from “Known” by Mark Schaefer

 

 

Be Proactive with Industry Leaders

“No matter what topic you want to be known for, you should be proactive with industry leaders,” Aaron said. “You need to mingle with other influencers who can help you along the way. The best approach is to leave your digital footprint everywhere. Do this by liking other people’s photos, commenting on blog posts, helping others out, retweeting, creating guest content on leading blogs, and participating in Twitter chats, to name a few ideas.”

 

from “Known” by Mark Schaefer

 

An Example of Influencer Marketing

 

Groove, a company that provides help desk software, is a perfect example of executing an influencer strategy with precision. They were a start-up company with literally no audience— and no time to build an audience—so they relied on borrowing the audiences of others. The result? 5,000 new blog subscribers in five weeks. Here’s how they did it:

 

  1. Build the influencer list. The company carefully considered which potential influencers connected to their target audience (web start-ups and small businesses) and which of those leaders would be able to get true value from their content and service. This is a critical step. Most influencers are deluged with spammy requests for their help, so doing careful research up front gives you the best shot at success.

 

  1. Forge relationships. Influencers may hold the keys to the audience kingdom, but simply making a cold pitch doesn’t work. Groove embarked on a plan to use the social networks to connect with them and move beyond the relational weak link. Their plan included tweets, blog comments, blog post shares, and emails. Here are other ways to engage with influencers:
  • Ask for a quote you’ll use in your article.
  • Re-tweet them consistently.
  • Provide them with a recommendation on LinkedIn.
  • Interview them for a video or podcast.
  • Ask them for feedback on an idea.
  • Link to something they wrote about (they will generally see this “pingback”).

 

  1. The Ask (part 1). By this time, the people from Groove were on the radar of their target influencers and it was time to make a move. But they didn’t ask for a favor. They asked for help—a subtle yet important difference. Most people have a hard time saying “no” to an honest request for help. This plea included a link to their site, a request for feedback, and emphasis on potential mutual benefits. Using this technique, Groove earned an 83 percent positive response rate from the influencers. “Help” is a more benign ask, and more importantly, it helped Groove start real back-and-forth conversations with industry experts.

 

  1. The Ask (part 2). Now that the company was ready to launch their blog, they needed a push from their new influencer friends. Since this group had been involved in providing feedback to the Groove team, they had a built-in stake in the company’s success. Groove sent these new advocates a link to the first blog post with a request for help promoting it.

 

  1. Results! Not only did most influencers promote the post, but almost all of them also commented on the new blog. This level of response provided proof to new visitors that the blog (and company) had traction. In 24 hours Groove had acquired 1,000 blog subscribers, and by following up with consistent, high-quality content, they attracted more than 5,000 subscribers and 535 trial sign-ups through five weeks of blogging efforts.

 

In this case, Groove methodically built relationships with influencers that led to measurable success. But there was another force at work here, too—the powerful, magnetic attraction of involving key audience members in your content creation and transmission.

 

– from “The Content Code” by Mark Schaefer

 

From Weak Links to Strong Ones

Here are five tips to transform your weak relational links into strong ones through networking:

 

  1. Keep a list of your most active audience members, by city. When you visit a city for pleasure or business, pull out your list and invite your audience members for coffee.
  2. Make time each month for a Skype call to get to know at least one person from your audience.
  3. Interview somebody from your audience for your blog, podcast, or video. Use that interaction as an excuse to build a closer relationship.
  4. Start a chain reaction of reciprocity by going out of your way to send a card or personal note to those who are sharing your content and supporting you.
  5. Make yourself available. When I’m on a long car ride, I tweet out that I’m available for a phone call to keep me company along the way. If someone responds, I send a private message with my phone number. This has created some of the most amazing friendships!

 

from “Known” by Mark Schaefer

 

The 3 Core Elements of Personal Branding

 

Everything you say online—and everything you don’t say—contributes to the story about you that plays in people’s heads. While everyone has a personal brand, not everybody has a Heroic Brand that can put content sharing on auto-pilot. And Chris Brogan has a Heroic Brand. Here’s the connection between his powerful online persona and content ignition, in his own words:

“Some people share content just because they believe in you and what you stand for. I believe there are three core elements of personal branding, at least for me, and they are very intertwined and related. “First, I’m exactly who I am no matter if you talk with me online, offline, in the lobby of a hotel, or before/during/after my time on stage. I think that an integrated (and true to life) persona is vital. People can no longer get away with being someone they’re not. It just doesn’t work. At least not for long.

“Second, I believe that connecting with others and serving them is one of the most important parts of personal branding. That’s a mistake most people make. Your brand isn’t exactly about you. It’s about how others experience you. So I work hard to connect, to respond, to be available, and to show people I’m just like them for the most part.

“Finally, personal branding and connecting with people is about making information portable enough that others can make it their own. I say two or three things over and over: Give your ideas handles (meaning, make it easy for others to take the ideas with them). Everything I do is steal-enabled (as much as I dislike plagiarism, I love when people take my ideas and run with them—with a little credit). Brevity and simplicity are gold (most often, people try to convolute their ideas to make them seem more important than they are). To be simple is to be more open and honest.”

 

– from “The Content Code” by Mark Schaefer 

“Influencers share stories because they want to build bonds with people”

In his book Fizz, word-of-mouth marketing expert Ted Wright concludes that those who ignite content are intrinsically motivated. “Influencers share stories because they want to build bonds with people. For them, that is the reward, and it comes from a place deep within them. If they think what you’re selling will be interesting to people they know, that is all the motivation they need. You cannot buy their interest—or their approval—with discounts or rewards.”

 

– from “The Content Code” by Mark Schaefer

 

 

Making Sense of Social Media Platform Choices

For those new to social media, the choices can be daunting.  How do you choose among so many alternatives? This article summarizes my answer to that question.

First the bottom line, then some explanation.

 

  • Top priorities
    • Facebook, blog/website, email, Twitter, Amazon
  • Secondary
    • YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, podcasts, Goodreads

 

Please keep in mind that these are generic recommendations – your priorities may differ.

So let’s sort through some of the rationale behind these recommendations.

First, as Mark Schaefer points out, you need a stream of strong rich content that can come from your blog, podcasts, or video.  Unless you are particularly photogenic and charismatic (video), or have an excellent speaking voice and a bent for talking for long periods of time without making mistakes (podcast), my recommendation is a blog on your own website.

Once you have a platform for your rich content, you need to get it broadly distributed (“ignition” as Mark would say).  If you already have a strong email list, that is the most effective means, because people who agree to allow you to send them emails are more likely to have a stronger connection to you than Facebook fans or Twitter followers.

But how do you get those email addresses in the first place?  That’s where Facebook and Twitter come in. Specific exceptions may be if you have particularly visual content (Pinterest) or are targeting business customers (LinkedIn) or a young audience (Instagram). Otherwise I think Facebook and Twitter are top, with Facebook the more important of the two.

Twitter tends to get bashed, but there are many people there who you want to connect with.  As a company they’ve struggled, but a large part of that is because their company valuation was over-inflated and their expense stream could not be supported by the modest revenue model that is more realistic.

Amazon is there because they are the largest distribution channel for books, and because it doesn’t take much for you to establish your author page there.  Low maintenance after that.

Now of course there are exceptions.  If your target audience is on the younger side, Instagram is more important (and it is growing in importance in general). If your niche is in visual areas such as cooking or fashion, Pinterest is more important. If your market is business, prioritize LinkedIn. The bottom line is, as always, go where your customers are!

Again, your results may vary; however the above recommendations are based on my work with a series of different authors and businesses.

 

 

Get in Touch With Your Creativity

As you get in touch with your creative gifts, you will, as matter of course, get in touch with every facet of your being. A particular poem will call up memories of your past, or a painting will bloom once you engage a fuller range of emotions. A character in your novel or play will finally open up when you delve into that character’s sexual identity or spiritual beliefs-and in delving into those things you will touch your own sexuality and spirituality.

So prepare yourself for full-life engagement. You can embrace this work and never be bored again. Or you can resist it and suffer one of two fates: you yourself will become numb and boring, or you will exist in that nerve-jangling tension of never quite saying yes or no.

 

– from “The Soul Tells a Story: Engaging Creativity with Spirituality in the Writing Life” by Vinita Hampton Wright Loyola Press

 

The 3 Core Elements of Personal Branding

Everything you say online—and everything you don’t say—contributes to the story about you that plays in people’s heads. While everyone has a personal brand, not everybody has a Heroic Brand that can put content sharing on auto-pilot. And Chris Brogan has a Heroic Brand. Here’s the connection between his powerful online persona and content ignition, in his own words:

“Some people share content just because they believe in you and what you stand for. I believe there are three core elements of personal branding, at least for me, and they are very intertwined and related. “First, I’m exactly who I am no matter if you talk with me online, offline, in the lobby of a hotel, or before/during/after my time on stage. I think that an integrated (and true to life) persona is vital. People can no longer get away with being someone they’re not. It just doesn’t work. At least not for long.

“Second, I believe that connecting with others and serving them is one of the most important parts of personal branding. That’s a mistake most people make. Your brand isn’t exactly about you. It’s about how others experience you. So I work hard to connect, to respond, to be available, and to show people I’m just like them for the most part.

“Finally, personal branding and connecting with people is about making information portable enough that others can make it their own. I say two or three things over and over: Give your ideas handles (meaning, make it easy for others to take the ideas with them). Everything I do is steal-enabled (as much as I dislike plagiarism, I love when people take my ideas and run with them—with a little credit). Brevity and simplicity are gold (most often, people try to convolute their ideas to make them seem more important than they are). To be simple is to be more open and honest.”

 

– from “The Content Code” by Mark Schaefer – posted 3/3/17

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