No matter what type of business you have, there are likely some people who could be considered influencers in your industry, or one closely related to it.
Influencers can help you with your business in many ways, from being a role model/source of inspiration to helping spread the word about your business in order to give you more exposure. If you are looking for influencers within your industry, here are some tools that can help you out.
One of the best ways to start engaging with influencers is through Twitter. Why? Because Twitter allows people to chat with anyone by mentioning their @username in tweets, regardless of whether the two people are actually following each other. This means you don’t have to worry about Facebook dropping your message into the influencer’s “other” folder or having to pay a fee for InMails on LinkedIn because you are not in the same network.Followerwonk is a free tool that lets you search for people by keywords mentioned in their profile. You can simply enter a keyword and search, or click on the more options link to narrow down your search to people in a specific location or people who have a specific URL on their profile. You can even specify a minimum number of followers/tweets to only see people with a large following or recent activity.
The results will be a list of people with fashion in their profile bio who live in New York. You can sort these results by number of followers, number of tweets, age on Twitter, and authority in order to find popular people who talk about your industry on Twitter.
If you want to get a peek at influencers across multiple social networks, then a great premium tool to try is AuthoritySpy. This is a desktop application that allows you to search for influencers using a particular keyword and see their popularity across multiple networks.
There are three plan options: a one time fee of $27 to search for Twitter/Facebook influencers, a one time fee of $47 to search across all networks, and a one time fee of $47 plus $17 per month for enhanced searches with profile matching.
If you have a large budget, Grouphigh is an outreach platform that allows you to find influencers with blogs who might be willing to spread the word about your business. Simply use their keyword search to find blogs that write about a particular topic. In the results, you’ll see their social following, a quick line about their blog, keyword tags, and the latest posts.
It’s a powerful tool with a matching price tag. The last public mention of the price for this platform is $5,000 per year. But it is well worth it if you are planning to launch a full blogger outreach campaign to promote your business as it will give you everything you need to know quickly, plus a way to manage your outreach campaigns themselves.
Tips for Connecting with Influencers
When you’re ready to start connecting with influencers in your industry, here are a few tips to get the most positive responses possible.
Get on the influencer’s radar first through casual conversation using Twitter or replying to posts on their Facebook / Google+ pages.
If you are looking for blog coverage of any form (guest posting, mentions, reviews, etc.), be sure to get to know their blog first. Subscribe to their content, read the posts, comment on the posts, and engage with the community. The more you get to know the readers and the content, the better you’ll be able to make your pitch. Plus, commenting on the posts give you another avenue to getting on an influencer’s radar.
If the influencer has some kind of paid course, training, membership, forum, etc., you might consider buying in. It’s a good way to get closer to their “inner circle” to speak.
Find out if the influencer is speaking at a conference and attend their session. Try to get a quick meeting in after their session or during the conference’s designated networking times.
When you are ready to reach out to an influencer, remember that they are a person. Greet them by name, let them know why you love them (you listen to their podcast, read their latest book, love their course, enjoy conversations on Twitter, etc.), and then briefly explain why you are contacting them. Don’t demand anything, rather put it in a way that says, “If you think this is a good fit for your audience, I’d love to tell you more, schedule a call, write for your audience, etc.”
While these steps aren’t foolproof, they will get you a little closer to your desired response than sending an e-mail out of the blue.
Have you connected with an influencer to help with your business? If so, please share how you found them and what you did to network with them in the comments.