LinkedIn is one of the most under-used tools when it comes to connecting with influencers. However, it is also one of the most direct methods of connecting with people, meaning it pays to invest time into your profile as a business tool.
Connecting with influencers can - as Pro Resource points out - increase brand exposure due to the association with them. This, in turn, can lead to higher levels of engagement from customers and prospects, whether it is due to an endorsement or a unique comment in an article you're producing.
However, in order to benefit from this connection, you need to first make contact with influencers, which is where LinkedIn comes in.
Update your profile
For starters, you need to have a professional profile that is as complete as possible. While ensuring your profile is as informative as possible is largely a part of your inbound strategy, it is just as important for outbound queries.
If you contact an influencer, they are likely to check out your profile to get a better idea of whether it would benefit them to be associated with you and your company. This not only means ensuring you have as many sections filled in as possible, but also that you should make sure you share relevant content on a regular basis.
Don't aim too high
While it would be great to work with an influencer that is known all over the world, they are likely to get a huge number of requests from businesses and so there is a slim chance of them responding to yours. Instead, look at influencers who are industry specific and assess the likelihood that they will connect with you.
Consider why it would be good to connect with them, what the benefits would be for them as well as your business and what the chances are that they will accept your invitation. This isn't always easy to do and you may get some refusals along the way, but if you can thoroughly explain the mutual advantages associated with the connection - as suggested by Entrepreneur - it is a good place to start.
Create a connection
When you have an influencer in mind that you would like to connect with, it could also pay to share content they’ve written or that they’ve been quoted in. Not only do people like having their content shared, it also creates an active link to an influencer, especially if you tag them in your post.
On top of this, Ben Abrahams writing for LinkedIn Tips suggests commenting on influencers' posts with insightful and relevant comments. What you say should be concise and intelligent in order to create a good impression. Commenting on a regular basis can mean that the person you wish to contact starts to recognize your name.
You can also endorse your chosen influencer for one or more skills, and write a recommendation that covers how they have benefitted your business. All of this will help you to forge that initial connection.
Get an introduction
Rather than simply sending a message to an influencer once you have taken these steps, Entrepreneur also suggests getting an introduction. This is a good way to pique an influencer's interest, as it shows that another person thinks your connection will be worthwhile.
To do this, look at existing connections the influencer has and find one who is closest to them. Send a message that is concise but informative, requesting an introduction but also explaining why this would be good for the influencer as well as yourself. It is also a good idea to explain why it is beneficial to be a connector, as well as sharing your willingness to do the same in future.
This method can be a lot more effective than simply messaging the influencer directly, however, this is still an option if you cannot get an introduction. If you do fail to be introduced, it is a good idea to assess why this might be.