Every second, around 6,000 tweets are posted — that’s 350,000 per minute and 500 million per day. It’s no surprise that it’s difficult to get your voice heard over the din of social mediachatter. It’s hard enough as an individual sharing cat videos, but as a business, it can seem impossible. However, if you make the right connections, it becomes much easier.

By Kirsty McMahon, junior account manager.

Social media was designed to be a virtual network, expanding our horizons beyond those in our immediate geographical area. Many businesses fall into the trap of believing these forums are purely to look for new friends, but this is a missed opportunity to connect with influencers in your field.

Think of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook as massive business networking events. When you attend business breakfasts or trade shows, you know who you want to catch the attention of when you’re there. You want the most influential figure head of a trade body, the CEO of a client you’ve been trying to land or the lead speaker on a panel.

However, catching their eye and holding their attention is tricky. Let’s face it, you’ll probably manage two to five minutes of awkward small talk with a bit about yourself before they move on — and they are unlikely to remember you afterwards.

Scoping out influencers on social media gives you a direct line to them, without interruptions. Not only can you get a precise message to them, you can build rapport by sharing their messages on your feeds, align your messages with theirs and gain access to their audience.

When you tag them in a Tweet or they share your LinkedIn post, your voice reaches a much wider audience of people and potentially, a wider customer pool.

So, how do you spot an influencer?

First thing’s first, don’t make the mistake of believing an influencer is the person or business with the most followers. There are lots of ways to buy or grow your follower count that result in an audience that isn’t all that relevant. So, take the time to check if they are truly an influential voice by looking at how many people are following them versus how many people they are following.

This is particularly useful on Twitter, because if they are following thousands more people then they have followers it’s likely they’re using a system to grow followers, rather than actually following people that are relevant.

Instead of going for quantity, look at the quality of an account. Good places to start are rooting out editors of relevant trade publications or heads of trade associations. Then look at your competitors, is there someone they regularly tag in tweets?

If you’re looking to build your brand by creating interest in a certain theme or issue, I highly recommend using Klout to find out who else is tweeting about the topic. Simply log in with your Twitter handle and head to the search bar, type in your keywords and you’ll get a list of top influencers and most recent tweets on the issue.

Before you know it, you’ll be the influencer that people are trying to grab five minutes with at your next networking event.

Of course, making the time to engage with the right people can be tricky. So, why not give me a call on +44 (0)1785 225416 or email to see how we can help you.

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