Last week we chatted about finding influencers who can help insert your mission, product, or service into relevant conversations online. Once you’ve found those target influencers — think 5-10 to start, not 50 — you’ve got to engage them in a way that captures their interest and solidifies their willingness to help you promote your brand. That’s where this checklist comes in.
A note on curating your list of target influencers: It’s great if your list has 200 individuals on it, but don’t try to go after them all at once. Your outreach will inevitably feel spammy and inorganic if you blast a big group with the same blanket approach. Fortunately, there are some good templates out there to help you get started. Just don’t use them word for word. Really powerful influencers with broad networks get lots of these messages every day. If yours isn’t customized and authentic, it’ll be easy to ignore.
Additionally, try segmenting your list by level of importance — in other words, tier your list into groups starting with “most likely to engage with my brand” or “most reach in the space” to “least likely to engage with my brand” and “fewest engaged followers.”
Ok, enough about that. Here’s the checklist.
Keep track of your target influencers and the conversations they’re having by organizing them into a list on Twitter. Doing so will allow you to easily view and track their conversations. Most social media monitoring tools offer a similar service.
By monitoring conversations from your lists, you can see what your influencers are talking about and what’s important to them. This should inform your style of outreach to ensure that it caters their specific sets of interests. Key messaging should be shaped by your intended audience — it’s the only fail-safe way to keep them engaged.
Influencers can sometimes be found simply by monitoring your Twitter mentions. When you notice users who are tweeting at your brand often, or retweeting your content frequently, you should consider them among your prime influencer targets. And as such, you should also be responding to their interactions with you.
Thanking individuals for retweeting you shows them that they are noticed and valued. If they critique or praise your work, it’s important to acknowledge and respond to those comments, too. Doing so establishes a dialogue that could eventually cultivate a long-lasting relationship between your brand and that individual.
Sometimes, a response could be as simple as a like or retweet to alert the user that you noticed their content, and appreciate it. Don’t underestimate the power of a small gesture.
3. Reach Out
In addition to being responsive to messages coming in, it’s important to be active in terms of outreach to influencers. If you run a car dealership, for instance, and an individual tweets a question asking about a particular vehicle, you may have stumbled upon the perfect opportunity to reach out.
This positions your brand as expert and creates an opportunity to invite someone to interact with your content further. Even if that person isn’t an influencer, having a positive interaction in the online space helps build your brand reputation and demonstrate good will to potential customers.
And, after all, 36% of consumers are likely to use social media to obtain information or support from a company, and that number continues to climb.
Pro Tip: Don’t hesitate to start conversations with big name influencers. You never know when they might retweet you, and if that happens, you can amass a lot of buzz for your organization.
4. Crowdsource…with Incentives
Another way to engage influencers is by running contests or giveaways, inviting users to share your content for some kind of reward. Alternatively, you could also inspire audiences to share original content, similar to Doc Martens’ “Share Your Style” contest, which encouraged users to post pictures of their Doc Martens shoes in order to be entered for a chance to win a new pair.
All of the above tactics are designed to help you engage new audiences online and create positive experiences between your brand and your target audience.
If you follow these steps, you’ll be well-prepared to target and keep your influencers engaged with your brand. Think of it this way: online engagement isn’t too different from traditional customer service. You want to be present for your customers in order for them to feel inclined to keep coming back to you.