The influential lifestyle blogger Tim Ferriss once challenged a class at Princeton to get in touch with high-profile celebrities and CEOs and get their answers to questions they have always wanted to ask. I think that's an interesting class experiment and relevant when trying to build a brand or a company. Its important to be comfortable reaching out to influencers and thought leaders in your industry for help. That help can be in many forms from an introduction to potential customer to sharing your content through social media.Yet reaching influencers is not always easy, as they are, by definition, popular and always in demand. Here are 10 ways to reach influencers on social media. 

Related: 5 Reasons to Continuously Nurture Your Network

1. Choose the right influencers

Don't select someone based solely on fame or how many followers they have. Find people who have a real connection with your business or niche. 

2. Connect with many influencers

Don't confine yourself to the most famous people in your field. You can get lots of value by connecting with people with significant but not earth-shattering followings. The more people you reach out to, the better your chances of making real connections.

3. Approach them with mutually beneficial joint ventures 

Don't simply ask influencers to help you promote your brand. Make sure you're offering them something tangible in return, such as exposure to a new audience. 

4. Share their content

In addition to sharing tweets and Facebook posts, write a blog post centered around something the influencer posted. 

5. Comment on their posts

Replying to their blog, Twitter or Facebook posts helps you build a relationship with the person. Say something specific about their post, preferably something that invites a reply.

6.Review their books

Many influencers are also authors. If you've enjoyed one of their books, publish a review on Amazon or GoodReads and send them the link via social media. This shows them that you're paying attention to their work and that you're able to add value.

7. Ask them questions

An intelligent question is a great way to start a dialogue with someone. You can do this on their blog or on one of their social media pages.

8. Make videos

This takes some effort, but videos are a great branding tool in many ways. This works well for influencers who make their own videos. Make a short video in which you mention the influencer. You used to be able to post "response" videos but YouTube discontinued that feature. However, you can still post a video on the same topic and then send the link to the influencer.

9. Interview them

Ask an influencer to do an interview via Skype, Google Hangouts or using another platform. If the person's time is very limited, you could simply email the questions and publish the answers.

10. Connect with them at events

Attend live events where key influencers are speaking. Better yet, create your own event and invite them to appear. The next best thing is to do this online, such as with a webinar or virtual conference. 

The most important thing is to be patient and don't expect to build your network overnight.  

Published on: Jun 9, 2016