How to Engage Influential People

Updated: June 22, 2010

The concept, of course, is that you want to create (or have created for you) a positive buzz about your business. Word of mouth marketing is an extremely important method for accomplishing this. Social media allows you to leverage the power of your word of mouth marketing campaign in a very successful manner.

When it comes to social media communities, there are some people who have more influence than other people. Whichever industry you are a part of and whatever your area of expertise is, there are always going to be some people whose presence and reputations stand out from the rest.

How to identify influential people who can help your business

It is very possible that your most important influences are not your biggest customers, or people with whom you work or even your most loyal followers. The following are some qualities that you should look for when pursuing influential people:

  • Influential people who have large followings: Influential people with large followings and a large number of friends can spread the word about your offerings more easily and much more broadly than people who are only connected to a small number of people.
  • Influential people who are accessible to you: Your most effective influential people are those who are easy to reach. How can you expect them to spread the word about you if you are not able to speak with them first and discuss what you would like them to do?
  • Influential people with authority: You should pay very close attention to how popular your influential people are as industry experts and/or bloggers. Their popularity will have a lot to do with how well word of mouth will spread about you and your business.

Once you have identified the connections with whom you want to interact, there are a few, simple steps to actually connecting with them.

Connecting with influential people

  • Write a list: Your list should consist of the key connections in your industry or niche. A good way to find them and to build your list is by using a free tool, such as Twitter Search. Those tools will enable you to find influential people with large followings.
  • Use multiple channels to contact the influential people: There are many ways to get them to notice you and what you are offering, for example, share timely and relevant blog comments, or communicate via Twitter, Emails, and traditional mail (snail mail).
  • Engage them in the discussion: If you invite your influential people to engage with you on topics about which you are passionate and that you feel would be useful to others, a lot of them will probably be happy to do so. Everyone loves to know that their opinion is valued and to feel that what they say makes a difference to other people.

What to do once your influential people agree to engage with you:

  • Express gratitude: Once they have started to engage in discussions with you and your followers, it is important to thank them publically for their opinions and their input. This has a double benefit. 1. It makes the influential people feel valued by you, valued so much that you are willing to share what they say with your followers. 2. It gives you the opportunity to share your followers with your influential people and new relationships start to develop all around.
  • Share special information: When you are offering new and exciting promotions for your business, sneak peeks of your new offerings or new and exciting information that you feel will make a difference to other people, communicate clearly that you are only sharing those things with them because they are important to you. You will see that they will, in turn, communicate to the members of their communities how valuable your offerings and your expertise is. Before you know it, your information will go viral.
  • Ask them for their advice: People who consider themselves to be followers of yours will generally like nothing better than to help you to succeed in any way that they can. Ask them for their opinion and advice. The more input you ask for and the more important you make them feel, the more successful your business will be because of them. By the time you come out with the new product or service, you will already have a substantial fan base for your new offerings.
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