There are immortals among us.
You know who they are. They are the ones that seem to appear everywhere.
Their articles show up in your stream. Then, they show up in your friend’s stream.
When you leave a comment on a post by someone else, their name is listed three comments ago.
When you read an article written by another influencer, they are quoted in the text.
Somehow, they are everywhere.
Jay Baer is such an example. In a recent interview hosted by Wade Harman, Wade asked Jay Baer about his current marketing campaign. In his question, Wade Harman made the offhand remark, “You seem to be everywhere right now.”
Yet, Jay wasn’t everywhere, and he corrected Wade’s impression. To paraphrase Jay’s response: “I’m not really everywhere right now. I’m just everywhere you are.”
For Jay Baer, this was part of a retargeting campaign with his Google ads. For us, it is a poignant reminder: You don’t need to be everywhere. You just need to be where your audience is.
So how do we do that?
We get strategic, and we capitalize on the three tiers of social engagement.
Tier One: Establish The Foundation
Everything begins at the ground floor.
Connecting with your intended audience is fundamentally a grass roots movement. You have to know who your audience is, what they need, and where they hang out.
Then you go where they hang out, start meeting their needs, and get to know who they are.
If you are active on Google Plus, there are two tools that make this pursuit a little bit easier. The first is communities. Becoming active in relevant communities is like the dog groomer that hangs out at dog shows: you start building relationships with the right people. Adding value to a community demonstrates your expertise and makes you an asset to the people that participate there.
The second is a tool called Circloscope. Circloscope helps to identify people based on what communities they participate in, what influencers they follow, and what content they engage with. You can then filter them based on their behavior. Want to find people that tend to reshare content similar to yours? Great. You want people that engage in the comments? No problem. You want active people with a following of a particular size? You can do that too. Circloscope helps you to quickly find and filter your ideal audience, then add them to your circles so that you can begin connecting with what they are doing.
Of course, this is just the foundation. If you want to be everywhere, you need to take it to the next level.
Tier Two: How To Build Credibility
There is a lot of talk about influencer outreach, but simply reaching out to influencers without engaging your audience is an imbalanced strategy.
It is not ‘connect with your audience on a grassroots level’ or ‘reach out to influencers and get in front of their audience.’ It is both.
Go back to the dog groomer analogy for just a moment. If you are launching a dog grooming business, you want to go to the dog shows, the dog parks, and anywhere else that dog owners tend to gather. This is how you build relationships at a foundational level.
But then, you also want to go to the vet clinics and build relationships with their veterinarians. You want to go to the pet stores and the dog breeders. You want to get to know the judges at the dog shows. Why? Because when people want to find a good groomer, these are the people they ask for advice. These are the influencers.
Finding the influencers in your niche is important for establishing credibility, but you also have to know how to approach them. You need to make sure that your content adds value to what they are seeking to accomplish. You need to find creative ways to stand out from the crowd.
This elevates your ability to build an audience, but it still doesn’t get you everywhere. To do that, we need to go one step further.
Tier Three: The Secret That Gets Your Everywhere
The first two tiers are not really that radical. There are innumerable articles about how to engage your audience or reach out to influencers. What gets you everywhere is not that you do these things, it is how and where you do them.
It is understanding the power of the network.
Networking is critical in any field, and every field will have influential networks already in play.
Those influencers that are networked together often share each other’s material, support each other’s efforts, and are visible in front of each other’s audiences. This results in a very powerful principle: strong networks share an overlapping audience.
If you wish to develop an audience, you can try to be everywhere that anybody relevant to you might show up. Or, you can narrow your focus, identify one particular audience, and find the overlap. Watch what happens when you target the overlap specifically rather than an ideal audience generally:
- If you are consistently engaging with networked influencers, their overlapping audience begins to see your comments and interaction showing up on the same articles they are reading. Your visibility grows quickly.
- If you build relationships with networked influencers that share your content, their overlapping audience sees your content shared across multiple influential channels rather than just one. Your credibility grows quickly.
- If you sustain those relationships with networked influencers, other networked influencers begin to see your presence more. This dramatically increases your ability for influencer outreach. Your brand authority grows quickly.
- Many influencers also run communities. If you focus on participating in those networked communities, you begin the grassroots connections with that overlapping audience. Your relationships grow quickly.
When you narrow your strategy to a specific audience and focus on showing up where that audience is, your perceived presence explodes.
Your article shows up in their stream. Then, it shows up in their friend’s stream.
When they leave a comment on a post by someone else, your name was listed three comments ago.
When they read an article written by another influencer, you are quoted in the text.
Suddenly, you are everywhere.
But you know the truth. You are just everywhere they are.
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