Social media is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to promote your brand within your target market, but you won’t have much of a reach on your own page.
Building relationships with social media influencers is your answer -- you can extend your reach and boost your visibility by creating relationships on social media with the right people. You probably already have a personal network built and know some of the people in your industry. But there is more to be done. Are you connected to the bloggers who write about your industry? People who have written books on your topic? What about magazine editors in your space, or investors who are particularly interested in your sort of product?
Keep in mind that there are billions of people out there, many of whom are looking for the answer that you provide. Here’s how to get their attention and utilize your network to the fullest, building relationships that get you noticed.
1. Connect on Facebook.
Facebook is a good tool for finding influencers in your space. Though some of the advertising capabilities have fallen off, Facebook is still the best platform for B2B and B2C companies to build their following in a targeted audience.
First, search Facebook for influencers in your industry using key words and significant phrases. Then, once you’ve found influencers who can help you, build an online relationship with them: "Like" their profile page and their content, like pages that they have also liked, comment on their content and share their posts. Post to their page about how much you like their message or product. If they like your page back, send a message quickly to introduce yourself and extend a warm greeting.
Remember, be judicious and non-promotional -- you’re trying to build a relationship, not overwhelm them. By getting in front of their audience, hopefully they will follow you and their followers will, too.
2. Connect on LinkedIn.
The importance of LinkedIn cannot be overstated, especially for B2B marketing. Like Facebook, search for the users that you want to meet by looking for key words. Send them a connection request, making sure to tell them how you know them or know of them. Follow the influencer’s company page, and share their content.
Once the influencer accepts your connection request, send them a message explaining that you know their time is valuable -- influencers get a ton of mail, so write a message that is to the point and explains what you bring to the table for them. If you don’t want to wait for them to accept your connection request, you can always upgrade to LinkedIn Premium, which lets you send direct messages without being connected.
3. Network on Twitter.
Twitter, to me, is the most fun of the social media platforms. There are so many ways to interact and have conversations that there is real opportunity for creating relationships.
First, Follow the influencers you’ve identified on Twitter -- all of their accounts, personal and business. If you get a follow back from them, tweet a thank you to their @handle.
Next, use your Twitter lists and make one just for influencers. When they tweet, it is very easy to find them. Engage in their conversations and re-tweet, like or reply to their tweets -- this is the best way to build relationships. Stay active, post often, and automate your evergreen content so you are always visible.
4. Connect on Instagram.
Search for your keywords to find influencers: accounts featuring your keywords, or people who are using your keywords as hashtags.
Once you identify the accounts with the largest followings that are in alignment with your space, get their attention by following their accounts. If the influencer doesn’t follow you back, try un-following them and following them again.
Instagram is about reciprocity. If an influencer comments, comment back. If they like you post, like theirs back. Make sure that you are posting frequently and regularly, and using relevant hashtags in your posts that will help you to be found.
Though this may seem like a lot of time and effort, social media marketing of the grassroots sort is one of the most important tools that you can have. Building relationships are imperative, and that can be hard work. If you feel overwhelmed, start with one or two social media networks and work up to more, or consider utilizing a tool like HootSuite to streamline your posts. Once you get the attention you deserve, the relationships you make will serve you long into the future.