I’m guilty of giving some bad, incomplete advice.
I talk a lot about how to engage with influencers and how to earn the attention and awarenes of folks who might help you amplify your messages to a larger audience. It’s a good tactic and I stand by it. If you’re trying to reach people, building connections with the folks who might influence them is smart. But, building connections means more than just normal levels of interaction. It means earning their interest – and because they’re influencers, that often takes a lot more effort to stand out from the noise.
A few marketers have complained to me (often over email) that they’ve followed the tactic of interacting with several influencers in their field, but never get replies and don’t find that it makes email outreach any more likely to succeed. The few times I’ve dug deeper and looked at those interactions, I’ve seen a number of replies to tweets or comments on blog posts, but never enough empathy and emotional intelligence applied to the issue.
On one end of the influencer interaction spectrum is “reply to X number of tweets and they’ll notice me and then my link request will work.”
On the other end is “engage in a conversation in a meaningful, interesting, unique, and useful way multiple times with lots of folks in your sphere, and don’t worry whether that gets you anywhere.”
I hate the first one. But, I like the second one, because I believe the interactions, the process, and the practice discovering what earns attention is valuable enough by itself. Any recognition or outreach benefit that accompanies this engagement is pure bonus. And, ironically, if you approach it that way, you’re actually more likely to get positive results.
It’s a lot like dating. Don’t assume. Be comfortable. Be interesting. Be authentic. Add value. Do something for someone else without the expectation of return. If you do it enough, eventually the right kinds of people will take an interest.
The test in influencer interaction, for me, is always answering the Click-My-Bio litmus question:
If I can’t come up with something that’s going to earn a click on my bio on that social network (or a search in Google if I outreach some other way), then I haven’t passed the bar, and I haven’t earned the reply.
p.s. Please don’t think I mean this to apply to anyone who’s trying to connect with me over social (I don’t really fit into the “influencer” category anyway since I’m a marketer myself). I try to reply as best I can to everyone, and while I don’t always meet that standard, I truly intend and want to (it’s just the hours in the day).