Have you ever heard the expression that sometimes one plus one equals three? It’s bad math but a great concept that can help you grow your business or personal brand fast.
When you combine your efforts with someone else in your niche – not a competitor but someone with a similar audience as yours – you can see that bad math boost your bottom line. The idea is to pool your resources and promote each other so you both win.
The key is finding the right people to connect with and how to form a strategic partnership.
In this post, we’ll discuss exactly how to find the right influencers for a mutually beneficial relationship and exactly how to connect with them for the best results.
Ready? Let’s get to it!
First, nail down exactly the type of influencer it’s best for you to connect with at this stage in your business. This is all about exchanging value. Look for people or businesses where the relationship can be mutually beneficial.
That means that you can provide a similar level of value for them as they can for you. As we’ll discuss later, you should strive to provide that value first. If you can’t do that, there’s no point in trying to connect in the first place.
Many of you are probably familiar with a buyer persona, a fictional representation of your perfect prospect or customer. These are used to help you with your marketing message.
Take the idea and apply it here. Create an influencer persona to help guide you through this process.
For instance, let’s say you’re writing a book about helping entrepreneurs survive their first year in business. Your influencer persona might be something like this: John Q. Bidness – a social media marketing coach with an online course who has 10K followers and tweets 5-10 times per day with solid engagement.
Also, you may have several influencer personas. Just make sure you know who you’re looking for and why before you start. It will speed up your search immensely and make sure you’re only building relationships with exactly the right people.
Now that you know who you’re looking for, how do you find them on Twitter? Fortunately, Twitter search makes it easy.
Think about the hashtags that are commonly used in your niche. If you’re not sure, head over to hashtagify.me and do a quick search of a keyword to find some hashtags.
Now, search those hashtags in the Twitter search bar right on the platform. Twitter defaults to show you the “Top” tab in the search results – the tweets that have gotten the most engagement recently.
Or, if you want to find tweets that have a minimum amount of engagement, you use this search hack. Search a hashtag or keyword and add min_faves: or min_retweets: with a number after the colon to only get results with a minimum of that number of favorites or retweets.
That’s an excellent way to find accounts that get a lot of engagement. Be especially mindful of people that get a ton of engagement despite a relatively small number of followers – those are great micro-influencers to connect with.
Twitter Chats are an awesome place to connect with people in your industry, including influencers. In fact, I met my mentor, Mike Kawula, in a Twitter chat two years ago and we’ve been working together ever since!
If you’re not familiar, Chats are typically an hour-long conversation that people follow by all using a common hashtag and most happen once a week at the same time.
They usually have a host and a guest and follow a Q and A format around a specific topic. The guests give their answers to the questions as well as the attendees and then people discuss.
The fact that these are live conversations makes it very easy to form a bond quickly on Twitter. And if you consistently attend a Chat, you’ll start to see familiar faces each week and the connections grow.
Most people attend Chats to learn but keep an eye out for the people consistently giving great answers to the questions. Since most people who attend chats tend to be very active on Twitter, you can find some great micro-influencers at chats that have an engaged audience.
You will also form a bond with the person running the chat. Chances are, they would be a great person to collaborate with if you can.
Finally, there are some great Twitter tools you can use to find influencers.
You can use the RightRelevance.com website to search for influencers. Just enter a keyword and select the influencer tab at the top of the search results.
And once you find one good influencer, you can use a free tool at twitonomy.com to follow their trail and find more. For instance, Sam Hurley is an awesome influencer in the marketing and social media space. When we search him on Twitonomy, it shows us who he retweets, mentions and replies to the most.
These are great candidates for other influencers to connect with. And you can do the same thing with each of them in Twitonomy to keep finding more influencers. Put in the time, and I guarantee you’ll find people that fit your influencer persona to connect with using this method.
Another benefit of Twitonomy is you can see the hashtags those influencers use the most. Take that info and apply it to the techniques in the Twitter search section above.
Okay, now that you have a nice fat list of influencers to connect with, all that’s left is to go out and do it. Easier said than done, right? Not to worry – by following the steps below I promise you’ll build a relationship with at least some of the influencers you target.
Obviously, the first step is to follow those accounts. But you can’t stop there. These people are followed by a lot of accounts every day.
You need to find a way to stand out from the crowd and the best way to do that is by engaging with and talking to them. Crazy idea on SOCIALmedia, right? (You’d be surprised how many people don’t take the time to have conversations on Twitter and are stuck in broadcast-only mode.)
Add all the influencers you find to a private Twitter list and then monitor it with a column on TweetDeck. If you’re not familiar with TweetDeck, it’s a free tool owned by Twitter that lets you monitor and manage Twitter accounts.
You can read a full breakdown of how to use it here: How to Use TweetDeck to Manage and Grow Your Business on Twitter
Adding the Twitter list to TweetDeck creates a stream of just those accounts’ tweets and retweets. Monitor this and jump in with replies and retweets with comments to start building relationships.
Leave insightful comments or replies and ask questions to start conversations. When you see they are promoting a new post or offer, tweet that out for them. Also, be sure to tag them in the tweet so they see you’ve shared.
After a while, you will form some bonds with these influencers and then you can take the relationship to the next level.
Now that you’ve established a relationship on Twitter, it’s time to take things to the next level. As mentioned before, this is where it’s crucial that the influencers you’ve connected are in a place that you can provide value for them.
If you followed all the tips above and somehow managed to form a relationship with someone who has a business ten (or a hundred) times bigger than yours, this part is going to be hard, if not impossible.
You can promote them to your audience, but if it’s microscopic compared to theirs, they won’t care much and likely will never offer to reciprocate.
That said if you can provide real value, propose to help them without asking for anything in return. Keep an eye out for tweets where the influencer is promoting something new. It could be a recently published blog post, a new online course they’re offering, a book they’ve just released, a product launch, etc.
If it’s a blog post with valuable info for your audience, write up a quick email promoting that and send it to your list. It will give the influencer a nice boost of traffic and provide value to your audience. (Notice, I’m all about providing value all over the place – you can never go wrong with that!)
Or if they launched a new course or product, buy it and review it on your site. And, of course, reach out to the influencer and let them know about it.
Later, when appropriate, you can ask if they might consider helping you when you have something to promote. But a lot of times you won’t even have to. The psychological principle of reciprocity is powerful and often people will look for ways to “pay you back” once you’ve done something for them without any expectation of anything in return.
But, again, always make sure you’re providing value first and suggesting exactly what you want to do for them. Even asking if there’s anything they need can be a nuisance and those inquiries will almost always go unanswered.
Influencers are busy people and contacted all the time. If you are creating work for them (even if it’s just telling you what you can do for them). That’s the last thing they want. Make it easy for them to accept your help and to enjoy much better results.
As you’ve seen, connecting with influencers on Twitter isn’t as hard as it seems. Will you form a relationship with everyone you try to connect with? No.
But even if you’re getting one out of five or ten, those can be extremely valuable. They’ll help you reach a bigger audience way faster than you could on your own.
It’s a powerful strategy and one I would spend at least a few minutes on each day. The ROI can be tremendous when you find the right people to connect and collaborate with.
Now, over to you. Have you had any big wins connecting with influencers? Any questions about what we went over in the post? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!