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How to get noticed by the influencers in your industry

Jon Cooper, reporter for Britain’s most trusted small business resource, Smarta.com, gives some helpful pointers on how to get noticed by the leaders in your field

Every industry has its influencers and leaders. These people hold the keys to the audience you’re after. At networking events across the country, I’ve seen tons of people get their introduction to an industry leader spot on, but a lot more mess it up completely. Here’s how to make sure you leave the right impression when you need to!

Who are they?
Everyone wants to know Branson, but chances are he isn’t the influencer you should be looking for − yet. You need to know exactly who can connect you with the things and people you’re after. One example of that would be working out who has the biggest mailing list full of people interested in what you do, or who has the most influence on social media. You’ll usually be able to spot them, as they will have bags of personality and have lots of people engaging with them online and offline.
Where are they?
Once you know who you’re looking for, find out the networking events they’ll be at. Look at who’s spoken on panels at events in your industry, add them online and also see if they’re speaking at any future events you could attend.

Keep an eye on business events as far afield as you’re willing to travel, and then get yourself booked into the right ones. Events are a great way to make a lot of contacts in one go. It’s also proven that meeting people in person, even just once, means they might be willing to recommend you and your business if you’ve made a good impression.

Other than the standard networking events, stay clued-up on any big moments coming up in your influencer’s own businesses. From product launches to store openings, these are great chances to get some face time with the people who can change the future of your business.
Make it happen online
If the face-to-face first impression is available, take it every time. If not, then use social media. Depending on who you’re connecting with, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram can all be used to build a connection. Leaving comments or ‘liking’ posts can help get you noticed.

Try searching twitter for bloggers or journalists that write about your industry. Find existing articles about your competitors, and try to find out who wrote it and see if they’re on social media. Chances are if they’ve liked your competitors, they might like you too!
Give. Give. Give.
The most important thing to be thinking before and during your first interaction with an industry leader or influencer is, “what can I do for them?”. If you start a conversation with your cap in hand, begging for a leg-up, nothing good will come of it. Work out what you’re bringing to the relationship and what their benefit will be by having you in their network.
What you offer could be anything from access to a new audience, even if it’s small, to the chance for the leader to do something magnanimous and get celebrated for it. Be clear with what you’re giving, rather than what you’re taking, and lead with that.
Don’t wait for them
The people you’re after are probably very, very busy. Even if they said they would get back to you, don’t think you can’t make the first move. Chances are, dozens of entrepreneurs are looking to connect with the same influencer. You don’t just have to be the most memorable when you first meet, you have to be the most memorable in what comes next too.

Find out your influencer’s business address and send across your product or a voucher for a free service of yours, with a note about where you met and what you spoke about. If you don’t hear back, give it a little while and perhaps try again. If you’re always clear on what you can offer each other, and they like you and your product, you’ll get a response.

Articles are written by independent journalists and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of O2.



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