Guest post by Mary Kleim
Promoting a brand or a product is a multimillion industry, utilizing significant percentages of company's resources. Recent developments, particularly the Internet and social media, have tipped the balance in favor of people instead of organizations. Enterprising individuals can become a force to reckon with by being opinion leaders in social media.
A look at some recent studies
News agencies, in particular, are feeling the change. They were slow to embrace the Internet revolution, and it wasn't until their print circulation and ad revenues started to seriously decline, did they decide to go online with the news.
Even then, news companies continued with print because many people (56%) still prefer to read the news from actual newspapers. However, the same study shows that print ad revenues are still falling, while digital ad revenues are rising. This may be due to the fact that social media is fast becoming a major source of news for the new generation of readers.
A 2015 study of college students revealed that participants have issues of trust with online news, and are strongly influenced by recommendations from social media opinion leaders. Another study investigated the behavior of self-appointed opinion leaders or "prosumers" on political issues, and found that these highly engaged individuals are likely to use persuasion to convert others to their way of thinking.
Taking these two studies together, it would be safe to say that prosumers, influencers or opinion leaders, are likely to make an effort to persuade others around to their point of view, and succeed. It would therefore be an advantage to brand or product marketing efforts to work with opinion leaders in social media.
How to build relationship with influencers or opinion leaders
Presuming you already know who the influencers or opinion leaders are in your market niche, you need to make them notice and get to know you and your product or brand. Use the following tips to build a relationship with them.
1. Follow them
Share, like, pin, or retweet the posts you like and post comments or questions. His or her followers as well as your own see every point of contact on social media. Do this often enough, and your influencers will start to recognize your handle.
You will also develop an association with the inlfuencer in the minds of followers. It is not impossible that they will follow you back if they find you interesting.
2. Participate in online and offline meetups
Take every opportunity offered to establish contact through conferences, webinars, and forums. Volunteer for events whenever possible. Face-to-face meetups are particularly important, because in an increasingly virtual world, physical connections are quite rare. You are more likely to form strong connections with someone you have actually met.
3. Create opportunities for meetups
You can go a step further and host your own conference or forums where you can invite influencers to participate. You can also arrange for online interviews. Influencers enjoy sharing their opinions, so this is a great way for you to bring your relationship to a deeper level.
4. Be sure to thank them
Whenever you have a chance to pick an influencer's brain, or get his or her opinion on anything, never forget to thank them.
Post your thanks immediately after a reply, or email a letter of gratitude for their participation in an event. You can even send them a small gift with a handwritten note of thanks as a token of appreciation. They will remember it, and remember you.About the author: Mary Kleim is a content marketing specialist. She started as a freelance writer for an academic publisher company, but following her passion in online marketing she moved to the copywriting area. In the future, she plans to create professional digital advertising agency, and sure she will be able to make her dream come true. At this time her main project is AssignmentMasters Service.