Influencers are gatekeepers to significant visibility and traffic in social media. With respect and authority in a wide circle or a specific niche, influencers generally command the attention of thousands of followers. One share of your content with that audience could instantly improve your credibility and get thousands of more eyes on your content.
The problem is that influencers are busy, well-connected people. Getting one to take time out of their day to share a piece of content you wrote, presumably only to help you meet your end goals, isn’t always easy. Tons of people try to talk to them on a daily basis, and standing out in the crowd is difficult.
Still, you can use these seven tactics to gain an influencer’s attention:
Shares are almost a form of currency on social media. Sharing another user’s content instantly broadens its potential audience and visibility, which garners appreciation from the receiving party. Obviously, your goal is to get an influencer to share your content, but to do that, you first have to offer a favor of your own. Share the influencer’s content with your audience—even though an influencer might be accustomed to seeing their content shared, they’ll likely notice the gesture and might return it with a share of their own, especially if you share their content regularly. You’re basically doing them a favor in the hopes that they’ll soon return it.
Influencers thrive on community discussions. They’ll track trending topics and look for other influencers to start a conversation, then jump in with their own opinions. Your job is to find these conversations, using search features and social listening tools, and jump in with your own set of opinions. Reply to influencers directly and show off your expertise—if you disagree with them and back up your points strongly, or if you offer evidence in favor of their opinions, they’ll instantly notice you. Do this two or three times, and they won’t be able to forget you. You’ll immediately be on their radar.
Influencers don’t spawn out of the ether. They work hard to build up a social community, and it’s the power of their followers that puts (and keeps) them in a top position. As a result, they love and are very loyal to their most active followers. If you can become one of those top followers you’ll earn the notice, respect, and appreciation you need from almost any influencer. The best way to do this is to comment frequently on their posts, offering your sincere opinion and hopefully, something of value to build on the conversation. The more active you are and the more intelligent your insights are, the better.
Some might consider this a form of bribery, but I disagree with the association. Giving an influencer something valuable can instantly win their attention, making them far more likely to do you a favor in exchange. For example, if you’re looking for more visibility for a new product you’re rolling out, you can send a free sample to your influencer of choice with a request that they write up a review of the product. More than a bribe, it’s a sign of respect and goodwill, which may or may not result in the development of a mutually beneficial relationship.
Influencers see value in more than just objects—they love to see opportunities, which offer intangible benefits for their personal brand. For example, if you run a reasonably successful podcast on topics related to the influencer’s range of expertise, you can offer them a spot as guest host for a day, or even interview them live. Such an offer has clear benefits for the influencer, and can also lend a credibility boost to your brand. Even better, it opens the door for future interactions.
There are tons of companies and individuals in your industry, and all of them have something in common with your influencer of choice. Look for something they don’t have in common with them—for example, were you born in the same city as your influencer? Are you fans of the same sports team? Starting a conversation with an item like this gives you a more personal introductory connection. From there, you can expand to topics about your industry, and eventually start exchanging favors and connections.
Finally, you can go out on a limb and ask an influencer directly for help. This won’t help you stand out from the crowd, and you’ll likely get ignored, but it doesn’t take a lot of time and your bluntness might be refreshing to an influencer who’s tired of sycophants. The best way to use this strategy is in a mass format, reaching out to multiple influencers the same way. Even if only one responds, you’ll still reap the benefits of the resulting share.
Once you’ve gotten an influencer’s attention, you can start building a mutually beneficial relationship with them. Engage regularly in the form of comments, shares, and messages, and work together to achieve both of your goals. Remember, influencers are busy people with limited time—you have to make it worth their while to help you out.