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Engaging influencers

  • RS

    Ross Simmonds

    over 3 years ago #

    The average influencer receives a plethora of emails each and every day. And while Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram make it seem as if we’re closer closer to business influencers, founders and innovators than ever before — we’re not.

    It’s harder than ever to stand out because their inboxes, DMs and mentions are filled with people asking questions, looking for advice, asking them to read a blog post or check out their latest app. It’s a landscape filled with noise. Just look at the constant stream of questions and thoughts being thrown at Gary Vaynerchuk:
    https://twitter.com/search?f=tweets&vertical=default&q=%40GaryVee&src=typd

    That’s what you’re up against.

    So how can you stand out?

    First - Be a human. People talk to people.

    So use your own email, Twitter handle or Medium account to do the actual outreach. You can reference the company you're working with in the email or message. That said, if the influencer is following your company account and not your personal - Hit them in the DM with a note saying "Hey, It's Nora from ABC Brand, would you be interested in XYZ? Email me at: Nora@ABC.com"

    But if this influencer is already busy - You're going to have to try a bit harder to get their attention. Here are a couple ways:

    1) Show Passion For Their Projects & Content
    Most influencers have built their name and reputation by creating something.
    Whether it’s writing a great blog post, building an awesome product or giving an amazing TED Talk — most influencers are makers.

    Similar to a parent, makers look at their creations as something they hold very close to their heart and that they look at with pride. If you ever want to make a parent smile, tell them how well behaved, smart, talented or cute their child is. In business, you will find the same tactic will result in a maker smiling from ear to ear. But it should be authentic. Don’t tell them you like a product you’ve never tried or blog post you haven’t actually read.
    Most influencers are used to seeing comments like:
    · Great blog post!
    · Loved this video.
    · OMG. I’m such a fan.

    What they aren’t used to seeing are comments and reviews that go above and beyond the status quo. What are some tactical things you can do to go above and beyond?

    If the influencer has created a product, take the time to develop a review of their product. Invest in purchasing the product first and then take them time to review it in detail. If the product is physical, create a video showing the unboxing and your initial review of the product. Share it on social media, your own site and then pass it along to the influencer’s team so they see it.

    For digital products, the same approach will work wonders. Write a raving review about the product you downloaded and explain to your readers some of the key insights you gained and the impact it had on your life. Be transparent with the results. So transparent that the influencer will want to use them in their materials, on their site, and in case studies.

    One of the most common ways to show passion for a maker’s work is to share their content on social media. To find their content, I like to use a tool like GetCrate.co which will pull in the top blog posts shared on a specific domain or that an influencer has shared/written. Once I find a few articles that are relevant to my audience, I can schedule themed to be shared in the future and add “Via @Influencer” to ensure they're notified when the tweets are shared.

    2) Kanye West once said:

    "I hate when they text you like, “what’s up, fam, oh you good?”
    You say, “I’m good” then great, next day they ask you for somethin’"

    Influencers have people asking them for favors or advice every damn day. One thing they don’t get every day is someone who goes out of their way to help them with something that matters in their world.

    Everyone wants something.

    The founder of a new startup is looking for new leads, a VC is looking for ways to add more value to their portfolio companies and bloggers are looking for new emails on their newsletter. Find these opportunities and do something that demonstrates that you can help them accomplish this goal. It might be as simple as sending them a report showing them that they have 10–15 broken links on their website. It could be as simple as mentioning them in a blog post you’ve written for a Tier-A media outlet.

    No matter who you’re trying to build a relationship with, there is always something they want. If you can genuinely identify what that is and offer value by delivering on it, they’ll take notice.
    Keep in mind that this isn’t an easy or guaranteed task.

    As much as you may like to believe you’re owed an email response a shoutout on Twitter, the world nor the influencer owes you a thing. If you’re viewing any of the efforts and examples in this blog post as an opportunity to gain an IOU — you’re missing the point.

    This is all about adding value.

    • ED

      Edward Dennis

      over 3 years ago #

      Everyone can leave the building. @ross has dropped the mic

    • AA

      Anuj Adhiya

      over 3 years ago #

      Major :key: here.

    • VC

      Victor Crispin

      over 3 years ago #

      He got the answer right on the spot. But my own personal nugget. Like Ross explained. "First - Be a human. People talk to people."

      • GR

        Gigi Rodgers

        over 3 years ago #

        I like to use gifs to help my human, and hilarious side, come through. It seems to work and it's damn fun! So far, people I email/tweet to with gifs seem to enjoy it as well. Win-win.

    • NC

      Nora Cottrill

      over 3 years ago #

      Thank you so much for your response, Ross! Super helpful and informative actually. I've gone with using my own accounts for most of this approaching of influencers, and combined some of the sharing of their content across social accounts (mine, corporate). I've also begun testing some of the other methods you mentioned. Thanks again!

      • GR

        Gigi Rodgers

        over 3 years ago #

        I really needed this as well. I was just pondering this question, literally 14 minutes ago.

    • HD

      Hugo Damásio

      over 3 years ago #

      You got me at "The average influencer receives a plethora of emails each and every day". Nice answer Ross!

    • JV

      Jay Velasco

      over 3 years ago #

      Yes!! I needed this so bad. Thanks, Ross !!

  • RK

    Richard Kuwahara

    over 3 years ago #

    I had this question myself and asked a bunch of people I trust who've done it before. The overwhelming opinion was to do it through your personal account as big influencers are more likely to look at a DM or social media outreach when it's from an individual vs a brand.

    But I still feel there's value of doing it through a brand, IF that brand is recognizable in the space and has some good equity.

    In the end, you never know until you try it both ways and see what works best.

    • NC

      Nora Cottrill

      over 3 years ago #

      Thanks for your response, Richard. I totally agree- it seems more personal and authentic if it's a person you can look up on LinkedIn and find other evidence of them online. Makes me more likely to be interested, personally. For now, I'm going to mainly use my personal/professional accounts, and when our brand has grown more, use it as well.

  • ES

    Edward Stephens

    over 3 years ago #

    Hey Nora,

    Thanks for the question. I thought i'd jump on this one for you as I liaise with GH's very own Anuj Adhiya the community manager on a multi-weekly basis. I also work as a moderator here at GH and helped to secure Guy Kawasaki as an AMA guest.

    In addition to this I run an Instagram and Twitter account under the monicker of Start Vader. My honest answer is it will depend on the person and the way you can apply leverage.

    Honestly, to get Guy K, I literally just sent an email asking and kept it very brief and literally focused on one action point for the email (to know if he'd like to find out more about the AMA's). Now clearly in this instance GH and the AMA's and the profile of the past guests is the kicker - my reputation and ability to have swung that as 'me' would have been zilch.

    I've emailed a couple of other people on spec and got good responses e.g. Dan Martell of Clarity (one of Canada's own), Nathan Chan of Foundr mag and others. The one thing I would say was I kept all the emails short and as relevant as I could.

    If you're looking to reach out to influencers e.g. Snapchat, YouTube or IG influencers there are a couple of ways to do this. You could use Canadian equivalents of the companies we have to reach YouTube influencers in the UK like Peg and FanBytes, they'll broker these relationships for you and are very well connected for a small fee. I've worked with both and they do a great job. Another way would be to have a personal or professional account on the social platform of choice. I've found in my experience that Twitter DM's (or at least my own) get spammed the whole time so i'm guessing engagement is pretty low, I would say IG is a lot better. I've found it easier to network as a content creator, however, I think if you have a reason to reach out to someone that either will raise their profile or make commercial sense - this should be a go'er.

    A couple of other suggestions if you run your email through gmail at work or your personal one and you occasionally use that checkout the Mixmax plugin. It will do a couple of things, if you get a pro account you can measure the conversion of your templates (in this case an outreach one) to see % of responses and % of replies. It will also help you to track email opens etc to stop you wondering if/when the emails are getting read and you can respond with really quick canned responses by using /'s.

    I hope this helps, if you know what kind of influencers you are looking for drop me an email at Ed@angelinvestmentnetwork.co.uk and i'll see if I can help at all.

    • AA

      Anuj Adhiya

      over 3 years ago #

      Damn! Now this is a blog post waiting to be published right here!

    • NC

      Nora Cottrill

      over 3 years ago #

      Thanks Edward- super helpful! We've found IG to get some response, but definitely more for social follows - never conversion. We're in the HR space though, so it's not necessarily where we target our ideal customers w/marketing materials- we use it more for showing off our own company culture.

      Funny that you mentioned Dan Martell, he's one of our investors, and he's an AC local like me. Great guy!

      Cheers!

  • GH

    greg houser

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Nora,

    Having been on both sides of this (as someone who has been reached out to, and someone who reaches out) I would go with the company accounts. For me, it works like an added layer of authority and I know what I'm getting myself into right away.

    I've always used my company when I've reached out to folks I want to work with because I don't want them to have to jump through hoops to confirm I am who I'm saying I am.

    -

    • NC

      Nora Cottrill

      over 3 years ago #

      Makes sense, Greg. I think though like others are saying our company brand probably isn't credible enough yet to approach with influencers with it. We're going to be going through a re-brand too, so I'm thinking for the time being it's best to stick with my accounts. Thanks for weighing in!

  • MT

    Mike Templeton

    over 3 years ago #

    If the influencer won't know you or your company to start with, I'd advocate acting under your own account. It's likely much more active and personal to you, which should help with any screening the influencer may do of your account.

    However, if your company has a lot of credibility and the influencer would recognize that, by all means give it a try.

    • NC

      Nora Cottrill

      over 3 years ago #

      Mike- totally. As we're just building our brand and social presence now, it's probably better to engage as me from my accounts. Your response is echoing a lot of the others, so thanks for adding it. :)

  • RF

    Ronald F. Holbrook

    over 3 years ago #

    Influencer marketing is not an easy piece of cake. Thanks for the overall contribution.

  • AR

    Aparna Raja

    over 3 years ago #

    @ross Wow! U just cracked things right here! "First - Be a human. People talk to people."

    I was wondering if I should be using my account to do it. And u answered it...

  • CO

    Chris Out

    about 3 years ago #

    In the past 2 years I have build a lot of relationships with great influencers in growth / cro industry. As a result of that I'm speaking at ConversionXL Live https://live.conversionxl.com/

    In this world it's all about personal connections, so I would definitely do it from your personal account.

    Also take it a step further. Try to build as much as possible the relationships in person!

    Talking about growth hacking at the bar has been my best strategy to build relationships with influencers.

    If people want to know more about my process, just send me a quick message. I'm of course happy to help.

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    over 3 years ago #

    It really depends who and for what purpose.

    So I'm interested in hearing about the general context of your outreach. What is the end goal of this outreach/engagement?

    • NC

      Nora Cottrill

      over 3 years ago #

      Anuj, we're an HR-tech startup, with a great hiring platform. Looking to connect with influencers in the HR space for brand evangelism, as well as content re-purposing and content creation (ie: new blogs, interviews, podcasts, etc).

  • MV

    Maja Voje

    over 3 years ago #

    For our Kickstarter campaign https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/reaching-100000-kickstarter-analytics-challenges-lessons-maja-voje?articleId=6114855363977236480#comments-6114855363977236480&trk=prof-post we were using the Ninja Outreach tool, which was pretty awesome. For us the most successful strategy always is to reach out as a person, with highly customized message to a very wrll targeted audience. While it is true that influencers are pilled with such requests, a great product-influencer fit still works miracles. The other great lesson for me (regardless of pitching reporters or influencers) was to aim for a clear yes or no. Try to reach them them via multiple channels as you with a sincere and synergy focused pitch- good luck to you and your team!

    • NC

      Nora Cottrill

      over 3 years ago #

      Maja, thanks for your response! I agree- so far being as customized and 'human' as person has been most successful. Until we get a message than is getting a lot of response, I've been writing personalized messages each time. Thanks for the tip about Ninja Outreach!

  • PB

    Pavan Belagatti

    over 3 years ago #

    I have done this, normally things do well when there is a human touch in it. The people you reach out with your account will for sure see your Twitter profile first (if you are reaching out through Twitter) and your Twitter feeds if you tweet valuable stuff related to them. If you want to use your company account, It depends on your organization, it's popularity and in which business you fall under. If your company is really making some buzz around and has some unique product, everyone wants to be a part of it. Again, if your popularity and reach on Twitter are better than your company Twitter profile, then using your personal account would be a better option.

    Thanks
    Pavan

    • NC

      Nora Cottrill

      over 3 years ago #

      Pavan- thanks for your response! It echoes a lot of the others I'm seeing, so that's for adding your two cents. :) We definitely are in the midst of building our brand and social presence, so not a lot of significant credibility outside of our current user base. I'll still with my accounts for now!

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