Picture this: You’re at a party. You’ve worked hard all week, your kids are at the sitter’s, and you and your partner haven’t had a night out in months. You spot some friends, and the two of you head over and engage in a conversation about the latest goings-on. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a person you’ve never met before barges in and begins loudly rambling on about something completely off topic. How do you feel? Probably pretty annoyed.
That is exactly how it feels when people “barge into” online conversations uninvited. At best, you appear rude; at worst you appear self-centered and spammy. So you’re probably asking yourself, “How then do I ‘get invited’ to an online influencer’s party?” Especially an influencer you are hoping to get to know better, even entice to join your upcoming influencer marketing campaign? Well, you’re in luck, because we’re going to tell you.
Gaining Access to the VIP Room
We all know that one of the benefits of social media is the incredible range of people you can meet and engage with, both for business and pleasure. The goal, however, is to nurture those relationships organically and naturally, building trust along the way. And while today we’re talking Twitter, these guidelines are pretty much universal across most, if not all, social platforms.
Get to know who you want to get to know. It’s not enough to source a highly followed and respected influencer who is industry- and/or brand-relevant. What do you really know about them, as a human being? Don’t rely on their Twitter bio or LinkedIn descriptor, either. The key is to gather information that isn’t specifically work related. Do a Google search, dig around online a bit, read write-ups about them, and scan tweets. Try and glean golden nuggets like who their favorite sports teams are. Their hobbies. Where they love to travel to, or what music and other entertainment they consume. Check out what type of content they are sharing that isn’t industry specific. What articles interest them? Are they highbrow or populist? Prone to snarky humor and sarcastic wit, or very serious and straightlaced? Take notes, and refer back to them regularly as you begin to engage with them online.
Begin to sow the seeds. You’re armed with knowledge now, but the key is to start slowly. Follow them, obviously, and begin retweeting some of their content, both industry specific and otherwise. Read the content before RT’ing, and add thoughtful commentary when you can. Remember, you are sharing this person’s content with your community, so direct your comments to your followers, rather than calling attention to the influencer. Allow some time to go by with this tactic, and then try personalizing your own shares by tagging. Share non-work related content first. Source articles you are sure your influencer will like (because you’ve done your research!), and add a friendly “Thought you might like this @influencer!” message to your tweet. Slowly begin to pepper in some pertinent industry related content, and gauge their response. Don’t bombard them though. You don’t want to appear aggressive.
Show up where they are. Are they hosting a webinar? Show up. Do they hold Twitter chats? Participate. (This is a great way to “influence” your influencer, but be sure you’re adding to the conversation by knowing the subject matter inside and out.) Do they have a blog? Be sure and sign up for regular email updates, and read and comment where relevant. Do they have favorite sites they frequent? Frequent them also, but again, keep it natural, not stalker’ish.
If you’ve followed the above tips and tricks, you’ve (hopefully) begun to see the fruits of your labor. Perhaps they’ve followed you back, or have responded to some of your tweets and content shares. Social media pros, especially influencer-types, will value and respect the respect you’ve shown them in getting to know them. Hopefully you’ve made a real human connection and can now join their online conversations without feeling like the proverbial bull in a china shop.