Get All Access for $5/mo

Ask Not What an Influencer Can Do for You You got it -- ask what you can do for an influencer. Here are five ways to build that authentic relationship.

By Ian Cleary Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

brucephoto | Foap.com

When a relevant influencer supports your product or service, it can be a hugely positive endorsement than can lead to sales and improved brand recognition. But many people think about what they can get out of an influencer rather than building a positive relationship with them.

If you are a global company and are dealing with thousands of influencers, it's not possible to build friendships with them all -- but you can still build authentic relationships.

Related: How to Connect With High-Profile Influencers

Here are five tips for building authentic relationships with key influencers in your industry.

1. Identify influencers with similar values.

When you want to form a friendship with someone, you naturally gravitate toward people with similar values. If influencers have similar values to you and your team, in their personal life and business life, you will find it easier to establish a relationship.

The great thing about the online world is that influencers leave clues about what they stand for and what they believe in. Their audience size and relevancy is important, but their values are also important.

2. Help them.

Instead of looking for what you can get from an influencer, how about trying your very best to help them? In Robert Cialdini's book, Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion, he talks about the law of reciprocity. When you do something for someone, they want to do something in return.

Brian Fanzo is a social media strategist who uses the hashtag #showucare to promote the importance of showing that you care. He highlights brands that demonstrate this online.

If you genuinely care about a relationship, demonstrate this. Next time you meet an influencer, the most important thought in your head should be how you can help them.

Related: 4 Traits Influencers Possess

3. Travel to meet them.

A relationship can be established online, but it goes to another level when you meet someone in person. You can't spend your time traveling around the world just to have a coffee with all the influencers you connect with, but you can pick out the most important relationships.

Go to a conference where they all hang out and lurk in the corridors to meet the influencers in person. The action at conferences happens in the corridors or in restaurants and bars -- not in the sessions.

4. Be honest.

I recently got an email from a blogger who has no audience and wanted to interview me on a podcast. I get many requests -- so why did I accept the one from the person with no audience?

I got a very genuine and honest email saying this person was a fan of my work and, although they had no audience, they would be honored if I went on to their podcast.

And that's a great way of starting a relationship.

5. Do something surprising.

Earlier this year, I spoke at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego and, a few weeks after I returned, I got a personal thank-you note from the team. In the online world we live in, getting a personal, hand-written thank-you message is powerful and surprising.

Ted Rubin, a social media strategist, uses the term Return on Relationship. If you want genuine, long-term relationships, the immediate return of investment is not the only thing you need to track.

Are you and your team really building authentic relationships? What will you change?

Related: 4 Surefire Ways to Grow Your Circle of Influence

Ian Cleary

Founder of Razorsocial: We Build Your Marketing Engine

Ian Cleary is founder of RazorSocial who provide online training on content marketing and social media to marketers and business owners.  Ian is considered one of the world's lead social media specialists and speaks regularly at international conferences around the world.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Growing a Business

How a Local Greek Restaurant Seized Opportunities and Won a New Food Network Competition

After starting as a food truck in 2014, Think Greek has evolved into an award-winning restaurant by creating innovative menu items and taking advantage of opportunities that extend its audience reach.

Business News

How to Be a Billionaire By 25, According to a College Dropout Turned CEO Worth $1.6 Billion

Austin Russell became the world's youngest self-made billionaire in 2020 at age 25.

Growing a Business

3 Branding Strategies That Will Make Any Brand Stand Out

Here's how to differentiate your brand in three essential steps — understanding your unique selling proposition, leveraging storytelling, and valuing feedback.

Leadership

How to Spot the Perfect Executive for Your Company

Hiring senior talent to run a team is a crucial moment in the story and trajectory of a company. Whether you need to hire senior talent now or are looking to gather insights for the future, it's important to be prepared for a gap in a crucial leadership position.

Science & Technology

There's No Margin for Error in Cybersecurity — Here's How to Build a Strong Online Defense through Everyday Habits

Learn how everyday habits and practices can enhance your organization's security posture.