Influencer Marketing: Shine a Light That Reflects on Your Business

Recently a friend who is skilled with social media marketing asked me for some help with an event that his non-profit hosts.

While explaining this strategy to him I realized it does not have a name; now it does. It’s the title of this article.

If you know your industry or niche well, you know the major players.There are the influencers in every industry whose perspectives and recommendations others want to hear, and often regardless of the topic.

For example, years ago when I was pitching my book to an editor she explained that she could sell a book on any subject that George Clooney authored. Whereas an unknown like me has to really knock it out of the park.

She made her point. I understood completely.

The secret for bringing attention to your online community is borrowing the influence others, and it’s as easy as being helpful.

Here’s how to do this in 3 easy steps.

#1 – Make a List of Influencers and Reach Out

You recognize your community would love to hear from these influencers. You also know they are busy and have many requests for their time. This is why you have to do this right.

Like anyone else, these influencers appreciate having the spotlight shining on them. This gives them an opportunity to extend their influence into new communities such as yours. That’s the benefit to them, as well as the fact that this will only take a small amount of their time.

The benefit to you and your business is obvious. That’s why you are willing to do the work.

So, the first step is making a list of influencers whose expertise will be valuable to your community. Prioritize the list according to how likely you are to get a response.

Be sure they can all see that they are with a carefully selected group of their peers – other influencers whose names they will recognize. This is essential, because that familiarity alone will be evidence that your list is truly comprised of the “who’s who” of your industry.

The reason for the prioritization is once you get a handful to respond affirmatively, you can use that when you send a reminder. Nobody wants to be left out!

It can read something like this: “Dear Influencer: We’ve already heard from (those that have accepted) and are sending this friendly reminder before we compile our industry report.”

#2 – Do The Work: Compile a Powerful Report

What would your community ask these influencers if they could?

Consider a topic that everyone wants to learn more about. Go into this with plans to do it big. You want to create a report or an article that everyone will be proud to be associated with. This is vital if they are going to share it with their community.

In my arena, a typical report would be like this one where I was a contributor (see #16): 18 Social Media Marketing Tips from the Pros.

Understand this is an extensive report from one of the largest business blogs on the web. However, do note that every contributor gets a link back to their site. Also, very little of our content was edited. Your contributors have to feel confident you will make them look good, and that means preserving their voice.

That said, anyone can make a mistake so be sure you thoroughly check links, misspellings, and other minor inaccuracies.

#3 – Shine the Light on Your Contributors

What would you do if you were celebrity for a day? When you publish your article, by association with your contributors, this is that day. So, make the most of it.

Be prepared in advance to share your report on multiple channels. Recruit friends who wouldn’t mind getting some additional traffic to their site.

Most important is to give everyone that contributed a heads up when the article goes live. Be sure to include the URL in the email to them.

Important: Do not ask them to share with their community. When you do that you compromise how this works. The idea is to give value and let the larger community decide if your contribution merits sharing.

The bottom line is if you have done your job well, everyone will gladly share, and that will elevate your business to a higher level of influence and authority.

With a little luck, you’ll also make some new friends too!

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)  

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+.

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