When you’re growing your company and building a brand, one of the best ways to accelerate that growth is by connecting with the influencers in your industry – the Tony Hsiehs, Mark Zuckerbergs, Thomas Kellers and Martha Stewarts. One recommendation from them, and you could see a significant uptick in sales.
Here’s how to start building those connections to influencers:
1. Start small
If I was a fledgling clothing designer, cold-calling Anna Wintour, the Editor-in-Chief at Vogue, would be a total waste of time. Instead of going after the top influencers, start connecting with others who share your interests or expertise. Do this by joining the Facebook and LinkedIn groups, Twitter hashtags, and influential blogs that are relevant to you and your industry.
2. Actively participate
The more you chime in on the conversations, the more exposure you will get, from your name and company name to your ideas and expertise. Each connection you make will grow your network and move you up the networking ladder, so to speak, towards viral growth.
3. Get them talking about you
One of the best ways to get people talking about you is to share your wisdom. Help others, answer questions, and share your expertise freely. Be sure to ask for help and feedback as well in order to strengthen the connections you have.
4. Ask for introductions
One of the beautiful things about LinkedIn is the ability to look up your connections’ connections, allowing you to ask for a warm introduction to someone you can possibly do business with. As you build your network elsewhere, don’t be afraid to ask for warm introductions, including to influencers.
5. Add value
Once you get that sought-after introduction to Richard Branson, you have to go beyond a “Hey, I’m Monika! SO nice to meet you!” and offer something of value. Would you like to guest blog for them on your area of expertise, or maybe solve a problem you know they are having? Think about the best way to build a relationship, add that person to your network, and possibly do business with them.
If you are connected to an industry influencer, what other relationship-building tips can you recommend? (Going to college with someone doesn’t count!)
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