Sharing your stuff… the concept is nice. But how many times does your audience need to see your book promotion or the 15% off Christmas coupon before they buy or get irritated with you?
Isn’t it better when other people share your stuff? How do you not only get other people but the RIGHT people to share and post your content, offer or program?
This 3rd and final installment in the “3 Best Ways to Get People to Share Your Stuff” concludes with the most challenging, yet most effective way to get people to share your content. Before we share my super-dee-duper secret methods, and whiz-bang tactics, it is important to define who is an influencer. Please don’t use the term “Thought Leader” or you may see my publish the vomit emoticon…
influencer noun / ɪnfluənsər/ us. › MARKETING a person or group that has the ability to influence the behavior or opinions of others: The influencer is the individual whose effect on the purchase decision is in some way significant or authoritative.
Nowhere does this definition say the person has to have 100,000 Twitter followers or be a regular commentator for CNN. An influencer has followers… followers who take action.
A fake influencer may have 100,000 Twitter “followers” with only 17 who read the posts or maybe they are a Best Selling author without anyone sharing their content or purchasing other products.
A true influencer is able to get their followers to make a purchase decision based on trust.
Trust, therefore not only creates, but reinforces influence. The more a person is trusted, the more rapidly their community will take the desired action.
The strange thing about influence and the trust it creates is it can come from the media, a trusted friend or even a celebrity. When Katie Couric reports a story, we rarely go and check her sources. She’s “trusted” because she is on Television.
When a friend tells us to go see the new Star Wars movie, we’ll go see it without hesitation if we have similar tastes. If it’s a chick flick… not so much. However, if Rotten Tomato’s, a popular movie review site likes the chick flick, it either has great acting, brilliant humor or maybe a well placed car chase.
Celebrity endorsements work because a person is “known”. When Brad Pitt endorses a woman’s perfume, I don’t think it is because he secretly wears nylons and lipstick. Rather, his image next to Chanel #5 signifies a woman who wears it may attract a man like Brad.
…or something like that.
The point is, as a celebrity, we instantly recognize and LIKE the person and therefore, the brand. You may not trust Brad with your retirement account (forget calling him Charles Schwab), but if you liked him as Achilles in the movie Troy, you may feel sexier wearing this perfume, even if you are not built like Angelina Jolie.
Like an ad, trust is often subliminal. Our defense mechanisms of “This is an Advertisement…LOOK AWAY!” may not kick in because the brain is interrupted with, “Geez… he is handsome. I know that face.”
Ok… so you don’t have an extra $3.2 million dollars to hire Brad to endorse your product, no problem. There is a better way:
- Identify influencers. If you are in technology, look up high ranking bloggers and reporters in the technology space. Find out who reports on tech at the Huffington Post or TechCrunch. If you are a New Age person, make a list of the “A” listers in your niche like Deepak Chopra or popular mentors in that area. Make a list of the top 100 people who write, comment, blog or otherwise are well known & respected.
- Give first. You can’t expect an “A” lister to care about your stuff, let alone know you even exist without bringing something to the party. In order to connect with an influencer, you need to act like one first. Go to the top 20 on your list and subscribe to their email list. Repost their content on Facebook. Intelligently comment on their blog posts. Go to their Linkedin profile and write them a thorough endorsement. Don’t just ‘click’ a link. Write a story. Let them know you are a super fan.
- Give it time. Now, before you rush to reciprocation, be patient. Just because you crafted a hypnotic comment on their blog does not qualify you to ask for anything in return. Comments are nice. Leads are special. If you can authentically give your influencer new business, you will stand out. Ask them how to do that. When I connect with people on Linkedin, I always lead with, “What connection, lead or resource will best help you this week?” I am offering my network to them without expecting anything in return. Gary Vaynerchuk expressed this well in his article in Inc. magazine.
- No expectations. When you truly don’t expect anything in return, your gift will be authentic. It will actually create the right reciprocity to the right people at the right time (right?). I was involved in a networking club years ago where the banker of the group gave leads every week. He “Gave until it hurt” as the saying goes. He never expected anything back and it was for THAT reason, people actually looked for ways to reciprocate. As Steven Covey mentioned in 7 Habits for Highly Effective People, the emotional bank account must first have deposits, before withdraws can be had.
- Filter & refine. After you invest most of your time in the process of giving, you’ll start to see some people give back. Don’t concern yourself with their sphere of influence. Small players who recognize your gift become big ones. Reciprocate. Even if they are small fish in a big pond, people like this are the right types…. the influence they have will be the exact type you want on your team. You will either cultivate or connect with powerful influencers who can explode your reach, your exposure and… your influence.
This 5-step process works for media, bloggers and even your Facebook friends. Don’t dismiss someone because they are a consumer (some folks with huge followings LIVE on social media). Many people without businesses have large followings and can be classified as a strategic and very valuable influencer.
Likewise, do not fear reaching out to local, regional and national media. You may not be on Katie Couric’s Facebook friend’s list, but your local or regional reporters and editors will respect your leads, resources and expertise for an article they may be working on. A few good articles about you in the regional media may percolate up into the national spotlight. For tips on doing this, check out AuthorityFusion.
In order to influence the influencers, give without expecting anything in return.
Give selflessly. You’ll gain exposure, leads and sales. From this concentrated effort, you’ll have something even more valuable and powerful.
Also published on Medium.