Stop Overthinking Influencer Engagement (aka, human interaction)

One challenge organizations often encounter in implementing influencer marketing programs is taking those first few steps to engaging with influencers. There’s often this moment of fear that you might not be following best practices, offending someone, saying the wrong thing – we all know the feeling. What we sometimes forget is on the other side of every social media profile is a human being.

Inspired by a second reading of the all-time favorite, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, I’ve pulled some of his still relevant tips as they apply to building digital relationships with influencers. Maybe a way to feel less intimidated by reaching out to influencers is to remember what it is: interactions with humans.

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.

Show your interest

Simple offline engagements to show interest can be easily translated to the online world. Start more conversations for conversation-sake. Maybe initial conversations don’t directly benefit your marketing strategy, but they let the human on the other end know you’re interested in them. Some examples? Comment on influencers’ blog posts with meaningful feedback, Tweet at them to let them know you like their content, show them you are listening, that their content is important, and that you are interested.

Also, seek out and listen for those influencers and conversations that interest you/your brand to make it authentic. My mom, who is also my dating-counselor, always tells me the best way to meet someone is to participate in loads of activities that interest you. If my mom were a digital marketer, she’d say to join the conversations that make sense for your brand, with topics that authentically interest you. Consequently you’ll start attracting like-minded, authentic people who are interested in your subject. Maybe eventually they’ll date you – I mean, become an advocate for your message or brand!

People who can put themselves in the place of other people, who can understand the workings of their minds, need never worry about what the future has in store for them.

Empathy is everything

Empathy as a human trait is an admirable mix of listening and understanding put into action. In digital marketing empathy is listening to a combination of research and data to first understand your audience, then communicate with them directly how they want to be communicated with. Understanding influencers’ interests, problems, and needs is the best way to learn how to engage with them.

After you fully understand your influencers, you can strive to be a mutual source of utility to them. Whether you’re just beginning your influencer outreach, on your way to activating participation in co-marketing efforts, or tapping into mutually beneficial networking opportunities, remembering to present yourself as a utility to influencers will help you create the strongest relationships.

Winning friends begins with friendliness.

Be a pleasant person

No matter what, just be pleasant. Remember that all your followers and online audience know about your reputation is how you present yourself through interactions and word choice. It’s so important to come across as a pleasant person – whether as a brand or individual. The more pleasant you are, the more your audience, including your influencers, will enjoy your interactions. Not only will you attract more friends on social media, but by being pleasant or “nice” you’ll help to make the digital world a better place!

Lastly, know that the most important part of being likable is to listen. Talk less, listen more – it’s possible on social media, too.

If you want to know how to make people shun you and laugh at you behind your back and even despise you, here is the recipe: Never listen to anyone for long. Talk incessantly about yourself. If you have an idea while the other person is talking, don’t wait for him or her to finish: bust right in and interrupt in the middle of a sentence.