Social media is all about being social….it’s even in the name. 

I’ve spoken previously about the importance of engaging with your audience. It’s the best way to discover what is on their minds, how you can fix problems and what you can do to make your product even better. Furthermore nothing convinces potential followers to not press the vaunted ‘Follow’ button than a twitter account filled with nothing but announcements and links to your Facebook page. Twitter is a unique service that is all about conversations. But who else should you talk to? Who is worth your time, resources and money? 

Influencers. 

Who, or what, are influencers? They’re pretty much the rockstars of your product. Few will be lucky enough to work for a major brand doing their social media (the McDonalds, Apples and Microsofts of the day). Many of us will end up doing the community management for small brands and startups that will look up to other brands and individuals (I’m not knocking any of you…that’s just the way life is) and as such there will be people who command a great deal of respect within your industry.  

A good Community Manager knows how important it is to communicate with influencers. It’s not just about bragging rights (well some of it is) but it’s also about being able to talk to them about ideas, projects, campaigns and whatever else you can bring up in conversation. Many of them spend their entire adult lives immersed in the industry and have years worth of valuable insights to share. They’ve most likely been where you (or the company you work for) are today and have navigated past any obstacles. Their knowledge can be invaluable. 

But how do you get these influencers to notice you? They’re often inundated with tweets and messages from everyone else in your position and so you need to set yourself apart from the crowd. Farhana Rahman, former global social media for KITT Digital and author of the blog Social Media Coolness, said in the recently published ‘100 Conversations for Career Success‘ that it was important to set yourself out from the crowd by being normal. By treating the influencer as just an average person (and not a rockstar) you are more likely to engage with them. ‘Be that one person who doesn’t appear to be a leecher, or a preacher, or creeper. I usually make the first move by commenting on their bio in an engaging way, and including their name to make it more personal’. Rahman advises to keep the tone conversational despite the fact that you may consider their follow a major win. 

So get out there, find out who your industry mentors are and engage with them!