Just what is an influencer and why are they so important for your business? Well. People with the power to influence others through social or traditional media can be crucial for the success of your organization. They speak to your customers, your prospects and your partners. So, how can you channel your voice through influencers’ voices?

Identify your key influencers and work to build positive, lasting relationships with them.

My grandmother, whom I quote pretty regularly, always said, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” One of the best ways to woo your influencers is to do just that. Be nice. But wait – you must identify your influencers first. Who are they? What do they care about? Start by making a list of potential influencers and rank them. Check them out on social media and see what they are talking about. Like or share content they’ve posted that genuinely interests you. Participate in Twitter chats or join LinkedIn groups your influencers visit regularly. Check out articles they have written or attend events you know they will be attending. But whatever you do, don’t go overboard – no creeping or stalking!

“Introduce” yourself.

On the flip side, promote YOUR content through channels that target an audience that includes your influencers. See what is resonating with them and use that to develop and place future content. But make sure your content cuts through the “noise.” How? One way is to go with an educational approach. Promote your company’s message or product in a way that shows thought leadership or expertise in your area. Of course, one of the best things to focus on are your differentiators.

You have your influencers’ attention, but now you must keep it.

It’s no easy task to find and keep your influencers. Once you engage them, treat them with respect. (The “flies with honey” comment applies here, too.) Invite them to opt in for email newsletters, and then send them content likely to interest them. Be generous in offering help – whether they need to find a source for an article, an interview subject for a podcast or more participation for a poll. Most importantly, remember that influencing the influencers is not a one-and-done event. You have to be in it for the long haul.

Ready to rock your Twitter engagement with influencers?