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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Being the Best Connected Business


In this connected economy, your marketing message is traveling through complex and interconnected networks of relationships.

This is why marketing today is more than a process of earning the attention of people and engaging them with your business. It also requires that you do the same with their friends and influencers, and then theirs too – and so on, and on, and on.

While this may seem to be a daunting task, leveraging digital and real-life networks to ensure the future success of your business can be distilled down to two basic practices:

  1. Communicate Well
  2. Play Well

#1 Communicate Well

The goal of any form of marketing is creating a message that is so compelling, so engaging, so interesting and informative that it takes on a life of its own – it just travels well.

Think about that on a personal level. What does it take to earn your attention?

You will most likely discover that basic human qualities that engage people at an emotional level are always attractive, and therefore, should ideally be part of your marketing communications. Here are a few to consider:

Is Your Business Interesting?

The first step in avoiding commoditization is standing out from the crowd. Of course, it is well known that one of the surest ways to be interesting is to be interested – in your customers. Consumers will always find those businesses that are reaching out to be more interesting. It’s human nature.

Is Your Business Helpful?

When a business does take the time to learn about their customers, the next logical step is taking action on being of service. This can come in many forms, with the use of content marketing to provide solutions being highly valuable in a world where over 50% of all consumers go to the web for help.

Is Your Business Friendly?

Businesses such as Southwest Airlines, Zappos, and even Google have used friendliness to their advantage. When all other things are equal, and sometimes even when they are not, people will overwhelmingly choose the friendlier business.

You most likely know what it means for a message to “go viral.” This is when interesting, helpful, and friendly online content is so engaging that is has to be shared.  It just cannot be stopped – unless, something gets in its way.

#2 – Play Well

Actually, everything does eventually come to rest due to the influence of friction, mainly because it requires work to overcome it. This is a natural phenomenon associated with time, and one sure way to minimize it is to minimize the work – by making it play.

Some businesses inject their own friction that prevents well-intentioned communications from traveling as well as they otherwise could. Here are a few to work on to ensure your business is not getting in its own way.

Does Your Business Keep Things Simple?

Business that focus on being the best at what matters most recognize that simplicity is a desirable quality.

Simplicity is a hallmark of great companies that have taken the time to respect the time of their buyers.

How many deals have you walked away from (or nearly so) because the selling process was unnecessarily complicated.

Is it Safe to Work with Your Business?

It is indeed true in a risk-averse economy that consumers want to feel safe. Testimonials, guarantees, and the validation of online social communities all serve to give buyers confidence.  It is arguable that this is one of the most powerful reasons for investing in social media marketing.

Is Your Business Easy to Work With?

Being easy to work with pretty well sums everything about being the best connected business. The best connected businesses are working to simplify, have a little fun, and develop assurances that encourage the further development of their networks.

While there isn’t a magical formula for easily being a best connected business, the good news is this is not overly complicated either.

Communications that focus on making emotional connections increase the likelihood of engaging buyers with your business process. After that, being as frictionless as possible in working with buyers not only makes them customers, but also engages their friends and influencers.

That makes your business the best connected for future growth.

What is your business doing to be the best connected? Please share.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – Released April 15, 2013 (Wiley)

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