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The *Working* Guide to Reaching out to Influencers Using Social Media

Reaching out to influencersI am back.

There are a lot of things going on in my professional and personal life: the main thing, I have resigned from editing SEJ to focus on my own personal projects. I am now a full-time solo entrepreneur!

In the middle of it, I have managed to have an unforgettable time in Paris, contribute to Search Marketing Standard and grow the team of MyBlogGuest.

I am full of inspiration and have plenty of plans – and I am back with my blogging here with my short (but hopefully actionable and useful) pieces of advice.

You may know that I do business from far away, I have no way to meet my business partners and contacts in the real world, but despite that I am fairly well-connected.

So here’s my recipe to building connections online: reaching out to niche influencers through social media.

Whether you are trying to pitch a guest post idea, get a review of your book or discuss a potential partnership, here’s the most efficient way to start a working relationship with your niche influencers:

1. Get Introduced: LinkedIn

LinkedIn has been the most efficient in terms of connecting to influencers. All you need to do is to ask your first-hand connection to introduce you:

Get introduced LinkedIn

This usually works because people feel obliged to respond when they are asked by a person who knows them well.

I haven’t tried Branchout for that yet, but they also offer a similar option:


If you target a blog or a company rather than a specific person (or if the specific influencer is not on LinkedIn at all but his company is), you can use Linkedin-based tool called My Web Career. It will show you how you are connected to any company:

  • Red Links = current position
  • Blue Links = previous positions
  • Link Thickness = time at company

Here are my own connections at, for example (how cool is that?)

My Web Career

Quick tip: even if your current contact may be no longer involved with the company in question, chances are he has left plenty of colleagues there (especially if he was there for quite some time). So use the above chart to find second-hand contacts in the business you are interested in.

2. Follow up: Twitter

Here’s the truth: Twitter is not the best tool for the first-time connection. There’s too much clutter to get a proper first introduction to the important and busy person.

Twitter is great for subtle reminders and follow-ups though. So, after you get properly introduced in the step above, don’t forget to follow the same person on Twitter (and probably add him to the corresponding list to quickly find later).

If you are not sure what is considered to be an acceptable follow-up on Twitter, be sure to read this post. Referring to the terminology in the linked post, I tend to use my “Inside Voice on Twitter” and I want to think I am up for “good uses of it”:

– Commenting on content posted by someone else

– Joining a conversation in progress by adding relevant information or commentary

– Introducing yourself  or striking up a conversation with someone you’d like to get to know

3. Avoid: Facebook

No matter what’s your attitude to Facebook (I for one use it quite actively), I haven’t found it an appropriate place to get a business introduction (especially with the influencers who usually have thousands of connections and thus have lost hope to ever sort their Facebook inbox out).

So if you are serious about the connection, don’t use Facebook to reach out (even if you are already friends there).

I may be wrong but Facebook has always been more about casual and friendly chatting rather than talking business. Trying to use your personal relationships to get some business benefit feels somewhat wrong, so I never do… (You may have a different experience, please share it in the comments!)

Keeping Sanity…

Now, this is the most important part of the whole post: never overdo. Yes, a reply may take quite long (not because that person you are trying to reach out to doesn’t respect you but because he is most likely to be too busy, have personal issues, etc).

The most reliable way to successfully get in touch with influencers is to become one. So use the time you are waiting wisely: grow your own network, get inspired and develop your ideas.

Good luck!

Good luck

Post photos shared by ralphbijker and Tomasz Stasiuk

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  1. 10 Responses to “The *Working* Guide to Reaching out to Influencers Using Social Media”

  2. Ann,

    I like the point of becoming an influencer.

    Here is my recipe for that:

    1 pick a few social media platforms and be very active (dominate). Don’t spread yourself too thin in other words.

    2 While being active find a way to provide value. there are many different ways to do this. i.e. go out of your way to help people with problems they might have. This in itself is so powerful because you can often make lifetime friends by performing random acts of kindness.

    3 Guest post on authoritative blogs regularly. And Ann you are a perfect example of this. You are well known as for guest blogging. I think Wikepedia should mention “Ann Smarty” When someone looks up guest blogging.

    4 Staying consistent. This is probably the most important part. If you do these things consistently over time it will build authority to ones name and then at that point it’s pretty simple to connect with other influencers because “birds of a feather flock together”.

    By Gerald Weber on Oct 13, 2011

  3. Ann
    Congrats on being a solo full time entrepreneur, im sure its more fun, thanks for sharring the tips, love the linked in one.

    By Wasim Ismail on Oct 13, 2011

  4. @Gerald, I know you are talking from experience, G! So that really works!

    @Wasim, thanks for he congrats! It feels so good to be indie!

    By Ann Smarty on Oct 13, 2011

  5. Hi Ann,

    Good to see you back, updating your blog. I totally agree with Facebook. Haven’t used it for business as well, just the usual friendly chats, and some games when I get bored. :)

    Again, welcome back!

    By Jun on Oct 13, 2011

  6. First of all, congratulations on going solo. I say right on. I am not big on building up other peoples businesses. Good for you.

    Interesting point about Facebook, Ann.

    It seems like “interaction overload” is what eventually happens to all social platforms if/when they become popular.

    Eventually, everything get all “stacked up” and any message you leave gets lost in the crowd.

    Personally, I am not a big social media guy…never have been as I have never had the success with it like I have had from organic search.


    By Mark on Oct 14, 2011

  7. Hi Ann, congratulations on your achievements! You are a source of encouragement for many or are trying to reach their goals.
    This is a great strategy and I’ve been connecting more on blogs than places like LinkedIn. I totally agree about not attempting to connect on Facebook. Google+ might also be a place to identify connections but not necessarily a place to reach out for business purposes just yet.

    Thanks Ann.

    By Ileane on Oct 14, 2011

  8. @Jun and Mark, thanks for the warm welcome back!

    @Ileane, you are amazing! Thanks for stopping by and reminding me of Google Plus. Yes, exactly, a great place to identify people to reach out to!

    By Ann Smarty on Oct 15, 2011

  9. Glad to see you back Ann :)
    I agree about connect on Facebook, I use Facebook only for chatting with my friends

    By Kruno @ SEO optimizacija on Oct 15, 2011

  10. I’d have to agree that we should avoid Facebook when it comes to business introductions.

    By Justin Dupre on Oct 20, 2011

  11. Solid tips here Ann.

    Using multiple networks to connect with influencers is an effective strategy. Thanks for sharing.

    By Ryan Biddulph on Oct 24, 2011

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