Getting ‘Influencers’ to help you.

If you’ve been dabbling with social media for longer than a month you may well have noticed that there seem to be people within your network that seem to be more influential than others, you may find you look for their tweets or check their pages above other people’s.

These ‘influencers’ will often have large networks and if they share or retweet your message you know it will reach a much wider audience than you can otherwise.

But how can you get these people to help you and spread your message?

First off you need to select the people you want to help you carefully, there is no point them spreading your message to an audience that isn’t interested in it! If you are aiming for a local Market you need to talk to those that influence that Market.

Once you have identified the influencers you wish to help you then you have to attract their attention, you might do this by commenting positively on one of their posts or @replying to a tweet. Or you can get in touch directly through their Facebook inbox or by direct messaging them on twitter.

This can be rather daunting, particular for us British who are not used to asking for help – particularly if it seems that we are just asking and not giving! But most social media influencers know that giving a bit of help out to others builds their own reputation too so are quite happy to have the opportunity.

Remembering your manners is key, if you are asking a particular person to promote your message it is good to actually ask! And even better if you remember to say thank you, that way you will be building a relationship that both of you may continue to benefit from.

It also helps if you make it easy for them, if you want them to retweet something make sure it is short enough so they can just click retweet and don’t have to edit it so it fits into 140 characters again (generally keep it to under 120 to be on the safe side!)

I’m sure to most of you that sounds obvious, but unfortunately it seems there are those out there that don’t do this. Recently a twitter stream for a local event attracted my attention and that of a few other local influencers by sending out a tweet for their event with ‘RT @GemLThompson @ANOther’ etc.

Now it was an event I thought the majority of my audience may be interested in, particularly as I have another social media presence that is all about local events! So to begin with I was perfectly happy to send this out, then they did the same thing again, and again. Maybe I was having a bad day, or maybe it was because they still had not said please or thank you, but I suddenly thought ‘hang on a mo … What’s in this for me?’

I took a look at their stream and saw that they haven’t spent much time building their own audience (in fact they have only around 200 followers), or engaging with people, and this disregard of social media manners annoyed me even more. After all, I’ve spent time building and caring about my audience.

So I sent them a cheeky little D M saying ‘Happy to re-tweet your event but what’s in it for me? Any chance of a couple of free tickets ;)’ I must just say (tickets were only £20! Not World Cup tickets or anything of that nature, I’m not greedy!)

Their reply was ‘How about if you get 20 people there we’ll give you some free tickets? Appreciate all the tweeting but we need sales!’

I used to run a local magazine, so this made me think, after all no reputable paper or magazine can guarantee you sales, you place your advert and pay for it knowing this. PR is different, but generally you would expect to give the press tickets to an event if you wanted them to cover it! And you would definitely expect to pay a PR firm to get your information into the press if this was a major part of your marketing mix.

So what makes social media so different? Quite frankly not enough! Of course I don’t have printing or distribution costs but to get their message to a local audience of over 5000 you would think would be worth a please and thank you … And if not that then some kind of perk or benefit!

I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not suggesting that you need to offer goods or payment to influencers, Most of us will happily help for free. But please do remember we are people, and if you value our audience so much you’d like us to share your message, then let us know you value this and build a relationship with us based on mutual appreciation and support!

If you’re in need of more help take a look here and see what I offer!


About GemLThompson

Gemma Thompson is the author of the best-selling “The British Book of Social Media Marketing”. She is a full time social media consultant and loves helping businesses grow. When she’s not working she can often be found watching Dr Who with her teenage daughter or indulging in a spot of inept D.I.Y (but no, she still hasn’t managed to make her house bigger on the inside than it is on the outside!)
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