5 best practices for reaching influencers and building brand: Rules of engagement from a global perspective
We decided it’s no different than dating. Not speed dating, although it does include some of the same elements like responding in real time and managing short attention spans. But the real, old-fashioned, “getting to know you,” courting kind of dating.
Who is the “we” and what is the “it” I’m talking about? The “we” included a roundtable of like-minds who joined me at one of the IABC 2011 World Conference early morning sessions: Amanda Brittain of Vancity; Dawneen MacKenzie of Livingston International; Steve Hogle of Edmonton Arena District; Beth Boswell of Fleishman-Hillard; Kathleen Vincent of BC Housing; Christopher Swan of Avery Dennison; Susi Maclean of Glass Tower Ltd.; and Erika Ruiz Ramos of Boehringer Ingelheim. The “it” had everything to do with best practices on how to build brand by engaging influencers.
As we talked, I realized that we all came from different parts of the world and yet we all shared the same communication challenges. We were together at the IABC conference to find solutions to better our businesses. Susi was from Glass Tower in New Zealand and found herself struggling to keep her website and her office up and running while dealing with the recent Christchurch earthquakes. She shared how, with so many communication vehicles knocked out by the natural disaster, people were turning to Twitter as the channel to correspond with the outside world. And while Beth Boswell of Fleishman-Hillard is based in their Shanghai offices, and Christopher Swan of Avery Dennison is based in Pasadena, California, worlds away from one another, they both shared similar thoughts about content creation/curation and what really was needed in social media to secure and sustain engagement with those who have the most influence online.
Collectively, we came up with our communal Top 5 that we decided to call “How To Get To Engagement” in honor of the relationship building and dating similarities we came to realize:
- Create! It’s a fact that the majority of online audiences aren’t producing or even sharing content; rather, we are a world of consumers digesting that content as quickly as it can be posted. And influencers as well as their audiences need content that is relevant and resonates, that’s unique and associative with what they care about. We have to give them something of value. (Tip! Learn more about how to draw audiences in with your content by reading “Create. Presto! You’re a Publisher” the third chapter in our free eBook, “Mastering Audience Engagement.”
- Know where our favorite fish swim: Again, it comes back to listening to who is saying what, where those conversations are taking place, and how those social media environments and their participants match up with you and what you have to offer. Just as when dating, hanging out in a dance club versus a bookstore connects you with two different crowds; you just need to figure out which crowds are right for you and start connecting. Influencer ranking is key and something aided by smart social media tools like those offered by our own Sysomos.
- Forget the one-night stand: Yes, true, we all agreed that building brand by engaging influencers required commitment and an ongoing relationship. Connecting just once might get us a quick nod but to really make a difference, sustainability is key.
- Know why you’re in the game and what you want as a result of playing: It all comes down to making sure you set goals and metrics so that you’re not wasting your time pursuing the wrong networks, audiences and conversations that really aren’t a fit for you. Setting goals and metrics at the start of your engagement efforts gives you something tangible to shoot for and lets you know how you’re doing.
- Actually get in the game! Participate. Be active. Be real. Be credible. Get to know the influencers, not just online but in face-to-face arenas like conferences and after-hours hangouts. And let them get to know you, that you’re worthy, by giving them something of value and even letting those who already know you – like your advocates and evangelists – speak on your behalf (btw, your mother speaking on your behalf may not qualify here or on the dating scene)…
- 6 great reasons to download our eBook, Mastering Audience Engagement
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