How to Authentically Build Relationships with Industry Influencers
I’m often asked how I started my businesses as a wedding planner and success coach. Today I wanted to share with you the technique I use to build relationships with key people in my industry and secure my ideal clients, wrapping up the post with an actionable challenge for you to start today! Let’s talk about the phrase “build it and they will come” -- still used but no longer true. If you read this blog or watch my Facebook live streams, you’ll know that I am a strong believer in creating your own opportunities and that people buy from people (which is why you’ll often find me going live on social media). So that being said, let me introduce you to one proven way to create your own opportunities - Influencer Marketing.
So what is influencer marketing and who are influencers?!
“An influencer is somebody that has an authority and a level of influence within a certain niche” - Zoe Linda
Influencer marketing is the most popular form of marketing today due to social media, websites/blogs and the formation of ‘personal brands’ that aren’t just ‘celebrities’. It’s where brands and entrepreneurs work with influencers in their industry in order to reach a new audience, build brand awareness, establish a new relationship, increase SEO, have more content to share and build trust. Perhaps they pay the influencer to share a photo, write a blog post or create a video featuring their product. Showcasing it to their audience will introduce the brand/product to new potential customers. Or maybe they collaborate on a joint-venture webinar or the influencer is invited onto a podcast, knowing the influencer will likely share it with their followers.
It’s important to note that influencer marketing must be beneficial to the influencer and perhaps even more importantly, to their audience... it’s not all about you, your brand, your product or your service! Don’t expect something for free - especially if you’re not giving and being of value first. This is where my technique (and your challenge) comes in. Offering to help an influencer is a must-try. It’s a little different to the definition of influencer marketing, but much more real... with many of the tried and tested elements of a successful influencer marketing strategy!
You don’t know who may need your help and doesn’t know what you do - you never know where the sale/introduction/opportunity will come from. When I started my wedding planning business, I offered to help a really well-known wedding planner on shoots as an extra pair of hands. A few months later, this wedding planner had two weddings on the same day, so she referred the client (and another after that) my way… landing me my first two weddings! Maybe for you, you could offer to guest-post on their blog or volunteer to host their Twitter chat. It can be anything that you can confidently do and will benefit the influencer (by freeing up their time, energy and in some instances - money).
So how do you offer help to influencers?
By contacting them via email or social media! Here are my top tips for reaching out to influencers:
- Be personable - demonstrate you know about the influencer. Do your research and don’t simply copy/paste with only a name change. Pro tip: get their name correct - it’s a simple yet common mistake!
- Keep it short and sweet, check your spelling and grammar, and keep your tone friendly but not like you’re already best friends
- Make sure you’ve got your website and/or social media links in your email signature so they can do some research on you
- Remember it’s about them and their audience, but it’s not a pitch! It’s a sincere “is there anything I can help you with”?
- If they don’t have anything for you to help out with at the moment, stay visible by continuing to interact with them on social media and in blog comments - you’ll be remembered as the person who offered to help out without expecting anything in return
- Focus on the quality of the relationship and influencer reach, over quantity of influencers you reach out to. While some people may have thousands of followers, it’s important to look at how engaged their audience are
- Don’t expect anything -- if something comes of it then great! Be patient!
Ladies, here’s how you can try it starting TODAY! >> Every week, send a handwritten card/letter to say “thank you” to someone who has inspired you, given you advice or even just a friend who deserves it. If you can’t send it by snail-mail, send an email instead! Also send an email to one person in your industry, asking if you can help them out in any way. This can be an influencer, a blogger, a peer, or someone you aspire to or the work they do -- anyone you want to build a relationship with.
The key thing to remember is to do it with respect and authenticity. Doing this is a great way to network, help to boost your confidence, and you may give you advice/opportunities because you did it genuinely. Facebook groups are also great for offering to help others, but keep thinking about the people you want to build real relationships with before doing so.
If you are looking for more challenges to help your business move forward, discover GSD Society today!