When you're starting a small business, it's absolutely crucial that you focus on creating a book of quality contacts. Building relationships with industry influencers that already have a large network can help you to make connections and present you with a number of growth opportunities. However, this is often easier said than done.
How do you go about identifying and building online relationships with influential people in your industry?
Here's an easy 5-step game plan for finding and engaging online influencers in your industry:
Step 1: Know the right platforms to use.
With so many different social media platforms to choose from, the hangouts for influencers that you want to connect with can vary depending on your industry. As a rule of thumb, Twitter and LinkedIn seem to be good places to start for most industries.
Twitter is an incredibly powerful social media platform to use to connect and build relationships with influencers as it essentially allows you to communicate in real-time. The content on Twitter also moves very quickly.
So, when you see an influencer Tweet something relevant, a good tip is to use the information from the tweet to help drive a conversation with the influencer while the topic is still fresh.
Of course, you won't build a good relationship with the influencer from just from one tweet. These things take time. Patience and consistency is key.
Step 2: Know who to connect with.
Your goal is to identify influencers that you share common ground with, right?
To best do this, jot down some words that best describe your brand. These are now keywords that you can type into your Twitter search bar to find people that are also tied to your keywords.
Step 3: Maintain relationships.
Think finding and following industry influencers online is enough? Think again.
Once you make these connections, you goal should be to make them want to follow you, too. Here are some great ways for earning a following:
This means conversing with the influencer in some other way besides social media. This could be sending the person an email, making a phone call, or inviting him or her for coffee.
If choosing the email route, consider creating a video message to help your email stand out.
Step 5: Establish a connection goal.
Having a goal for the number of influencer connections that you want to make each day, week, or month can help to hold you accountable to growing your online presence. Even if you aren't able to hit 10 connections each day (or whichever number you specified), simply having a goal in place can help you to make tremendous progress with connecting with influencers online.
In today's world, online networking is absolutely essential when you're starting a small business. Use this simple 5 step process to help you make more meaningful connections with influencers and engage them, too.