In a previous post we looked at how you can find social media influencers in your industry.
That’s the first step to creating a better social media marketing strategy. In this post we’re going to take that a step further by looking at how you can get those social media influencers to share your content.
Go into this process like you would on the first day of school. You can’t find your new best friend on the first day. You might find people that would make appealing friends, but you have to go through the process of building the relationship so you can eventually become best friends.
With online marketing and social media, you’re building a network of colleagues. You’re building trust and respect for one another. If one person goes into the relationship asking for too much and looking to take advantage of the other they’re going to hear crickets and this process won’t be successful.
So not that you have your list of influencers, here are the steps to getting them to share your content.
Step 1: Follow Them
Yep. It’s that simple. Follow them. It’s an obvious courtesy. Later, when it comes time to reach out the person will wonder, “Who the heck is this person?” When you are following them on social media they might remember seeing the “John Smith is now following you” or that message.
But even more important than that is the fact that you can observe how the person uses social media.
Step 2: Observe
Sit back and really observe how the influencer uses social media. You’re looking for a few things:
What They Share: Look at the links the person shares. See if they share photos, articles or any kind of content. You’re trying to see what they find interesting, which you can use later to make yourself more appealing.
How They Interact With Others: You can usually tell if someone is open to having conversations on social media. On Twitter, you can see if they reply when others reply to them. You can see if they respond to comments. You can even see if they start conversations.
Their Personality: And you want to get to know them. Learn the kinds of things they like. See what their sense of humor is like. You’ll see if you have common interests and character traits that can lead to a connection.
Observing is like a discovery phase with a new potential friend. You’re feeling each other out to see if you have anything in common.
Step 3: Share Their Content
Once you get a feel for the person, start sharing their content. You don’t want to overdo it, but share their content. Share the things you really find interesting and valuable.
The ultimate compliment to someone is sharing their content. It’s like saying to someone you meet that you like their shirt or that they have a nice smile. It’s a compliment and it can be a conversation starter.
In the online world it’s always about giving before expecting to receive.
Step 4: Make Contact
After going through the initial stages you can reach out. Comment on their posts. Reply to something interesting they said on Twitter or leave a comment on their LinkedIn update.
This gets you on their radar. Make sure that your message is valuable. You want the person to feel like you’re adding something valuable or at least interesting to the conversation.
You’ll have learned what the person finds interesting by observing them in the earlier step.
Step 5: Offer To Help
Now it’s still not time to ask for anything. Instead, see if you can offer to help in some way.
By observing you might notice that the person is working on some kind of content. Maybe it’s a really big blog post or ebook. Reach out and see if there is anything you can do to help out. It might be research that you can do or even some kind of formatting.
Offer to help in some way even if it’s something small. It could be a big help for them and it can lead to friendship.
On the playground in schools this happens all the time. It’s like the kid that falls off the monkey bars and has someone there to help them get off the ground and scrape the mulch off their knees. A friendship is usually started.
Step 6: Ask If They’ll Provide A Tidbit For Your Content
Now you can start asking for things, but start small and make it easy for the person to contribute.
Work on a great blog post on a great topic. Again, your observation will give you insight into the type of content the influencer likes to share. Create that type of content and aim to make it better than anything that person has shared before.
When you’re done, ask if they’ll provide some insight even if it’s just the answer to a question. Send them what you have so they can see how awesome it is. They’ll jump at the chance to contribute because it’s easy for them. You’ve done all the work and they get to look good by being associated with such great content.
And the good part for you is that the influencer will want to share the content with their followers because they’re involved. They’re invested in the success of your content.
Step 7: Ask If They Would Like To Co-Produce Content
By this point you’ll have a good relationship going. You an see if the influencer is interested in being more involved in the content you create. You can ask if they want to co-host a webinar. You can ask if they want to co-write an ebook or guide.
The more you’re both invested in the success of the content the more likely you and they will be in making the content successful. They’ll share it with everyone they know because they want it to be a success and you’ll ride the tide gaining new followers, traffic and interest in your brand.
As you can see, the process doesn’t happen overnight. No good relationship gets to the point of sharing instantly. You have to build respect and earn trust before you do something for the other person.
That’s how it works with online influencers. You have to get to know them. You have to learn what they like. You have to show interested in what they’re doing. Then you can give them something and offer to help.
From there you can get the influencer to share your content.
It doesn’t have to take months, but it can take a little time. And it will be well worth the effort. You’ll have a new colleague and your content will have an influencer that can help it go viral.