Some people are networking naturals; the rest of us need a little help. That's why getting to know someone in your market or industry who is well-known, connected, powerful or at the top of their game can offer advantages you couldn't otherwise create by yourself. If you want to get noticed, try these tips:
Ask for an interview that you can share on your blog, LinkedIn group, or at a regular gathering or conference call of a professional organization. While busy influencers may not have time to grab coffee with every person who asks, many would love an opportunity to share insights with a larger audience.
Create a buzz for them on social media. Use your connections to expand their circle of influence: mention influencers when you write, retweet their posts or comment on their YouTube videos, blogs or podcasts. If you prove yourself to be a vocal promoter or advocate who has great ideas and lots of passion, they could notice, which could mean an opportunity to deepen the relationship.
Do them a favor, offer ideas or solve a problem. Influencers often ask for comments and feedback from their employees, social media followers or blog readers. Look for ways to be helpful, or offer them business solutions you have found personally useful. Don't be shy about reaching out—even a great restaurant suggestion for hosting clients can make an impression.
Thank them for advice. This is the easiest, most genuine way to reach out. Set yourself apart by implementing a leader's advice, then writing a thank you note to let him or her know concrete examples about how it helped you accomplish something important.
Make sure you're a professional, too. Hone your skill set and personal brand so people want to seek you out. Focus on making your articles, presentations, social media or other public-facing efforts as value-driven as possible.
Don't forget that true networking should be an organic, relationship-building experience for all parties. If you keep that in mind, you will be much more memorable to influencers and increase your opportunities for contact with them.
Sources: Brazen Blog, Inc., The Art of Charm