#viralchat is a Twitter chat hosted by Post Planner on Thursday at 9 pm ET. Last night’s topic was working with influencers. Here are the questions and my expanded answers.
Q1: Why are influencers important to a business wanting to grow a Twitter presence?
A1: Let’s first define an influencer – if you have influence it means that you can create an effect, you can change people’s minds or get them to take an action of some kind. An influencer has an audience. They’re taste-makers and opinion leaders. They are trusted by their followers. By identifying and connecting with the right influencers, a business can gain credibility and get exposure to an audience they want to reach. This is an integral part of Digital PR.
Q2: How can a business build their influencer list on Twitter?
A2: Do a Twitter bio search on FollowerWonk.com using a keyword for your industry or topic. My favorite tool for building a list of influencer contacts is Sendible. Here is a short video on how to learn more about influencers and build your list. Use this link to get a 30-day free trial and a 10% discount.
Q3: What is the first step to connect with an influencer on Twitter?
A3: Once you have identified who you want to connect with, read their content. Tweet a link to a good article or blog post they’ve published. Retweet something your followers would find interesting and useful. Reply to something they post, if you have a comment that’s appropriate and adds value to the conversation. You can use Sendible to set up a monitoring feed of all content from the influencers you want to connect with.
Q4: How much impact does a Twitter influencer’s follower count have on your business?
A4: Not much. It;s what they do that counts. Pay more attention to how engaged their followers are. 1000 loyal and engaged followers are more valuable than 10,000 followers who don’t take any action. A case in point: A fund raiser for Children’s Hospital in LA tapped into Twitter influencers. The idea was to get their followers to donate $10. One non-profit’s small group of followers were by far the highest donors, while some big celebs who participated got very few of their followers to donate.
Q5: Is there an effective way to introduce yourself to an influencer and and cut through the noise?
A5: My mother told me “You have two ears and one mouth, so please use them in that proportion!” Listen first. Then get on their radar. You do that by linking to their content, RTing their posts and complimenting them. Read their blog and post comments. Ask them a question, so they have the opportunity to show more of their expertise.
Q6: How can a business get an influencer to follow them on Twitter?
A6: They will follow you IF they feel you have something of value to offer them. Be human and be supportive. Remember, they are publishing to their audience. What can you create that they won’t find elsewhere? Watch this video on how to create content that’s 10x better than the rest.
Q7: What kind of content should businesses share to build relationships with influencers?
A7: Excellent quality, useful, valuable content. Every business has a story to tell. Every business has experts. You have product knowledge and how-to knowledge. You can answer questions your customers ask. The Will it Blend content is a great example.
Q8: How can you effectively (without spamming) get an influencer’s attention on Twitter?
A8: See A3.
Q9: What mistakes are businesses making when connecting with influencers on Twitter?
A9: The biggest mistake is treating Twitter like a one-way broadcast medium. Think of Twitter as a giant cocktail party that is already in full swing. If you barge in uninvited, jump on a table and use a megaphone to blast out your message, don’t be surprised if no-one listens. In fact, you’ll be shunned and soon find yourself alone, out on the sidewalk. Social media is called that for a reason – it’s social. It’s about conversations. If you have not yet read The Cluetrain Manifesto, do so.
Q10: How can you discover and share content that establishes thought-leadership on Twitter?
A10: To be a thought leader you have to have some interesting, new and cutting edge ideas in your industry and publish with a unique voice. Simply finding and sharing other people’s content won’t make you a thought-leader.
- Use Sendible’s new content curation feature to find great content for your niche.
- Do some analysis of that content and add your insights to show your thought-leadership.
- Do original research.
- Write original, in-depth articles.
- Create original infographics that give a unique perspective on a topic.
- Watch the video in A6 again.