Reblogged from: BundlePost, courtesy of: Robert Caruso

A frequent question I get from my connections in the social graph is “How do I build a relationship with an influencer for my brand/product”. Though it is a common question, the answer isn’t as common.

Since I sincerely believe that social media marketing is a parallel universe to the real world, I always take a step back and consider what we do in real life. What are the steps we would take in our local offline environment to accomplish this? What adjustments can/should we make within the social sphere to help us achieve what we are wanting to do.

First, we need to understand that social media marketing is NOT about you. You have to have a mindset of giving, providing value to others and a willingness to help them succeed.

Secondly. you need to clearly define what you hope to accomplish by building the relationship with the influencer. Review your product? Have a phone call? Share your link? There are many different goals one could have for wanting to build a relationship with someone specific within social media. know what yours is.

Once you have aligned your thinking with the first and second points above, you can then follow these steps to best position yourself for a relationship:

1) Identify – Be sure that the person/brand you are targeting for the relationship makes sense. Identify the person(s) that are best suited for your brand, product or service.

2) Observe & Document – Do your research. Make sure you know what they do, their website and blog locations. Monitor their social posts and conversations and take note of who they are as a person and what drives their conversations. Pay specific attention to the human/personal topics that they engage around and document the information.

Don’t rush the observation step. Take time to understand the influencer. Rushing will usually result in missing the important subtle things that are most important! This can take a week or a month, depending on the person. Take your time…

3) Engage – Once you understand the topic drivers and personality of your influencer, begin to engage with them. Specifically comment on their posts, share their content and facilitate meaningful conversations with that person. If they have a blog, share their articles and comment on them. Look for ways you can assist them by furthering their reach, introducing them to prospects and retweet their relevant content.

*Important – A big mistake made at this stage is to do too much too quickly. Do NOT like/share bomb. (don’t like 5 posts on their wall in a row or RT their last 4 posts, etc.) This can come across as stalking or an obvious ploy. Use common sense and ramp up these activities over several weeks or months.

4) Build – Build a relationship with the influencer through more and more frequent conversations.

5) Ask/Answer – Ask open-ended questions about them, their articles and their business. The goal here is to continue to further the relationship building, but also foster a climate where the influencer begins asking YOU questions about what yo do. This is the point you know you have earned the right to talk about what you do and what you would like from them.

*Important – DO NOT ask for anything at any point before this stage. You must do the work prior to requesting a call, review of your service or sharing of your content. Also, be sure that you continue steps 3, 4 and 5 on an ongoing basis. Don’t make the influencer feel as though they had a horrible one night stand and were played.

I cannot stress enough that patience in the entire process is crucial. If you follow these techniques and take it slow, you will develop influencer relationships that will bring value to them and benefit your brand.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

The primary focus of the blogs contained here at A Scratchy Throat  are to help you boost your social reach in today’s online market. Every day, people use social networks to help them sell their music, get shows or sell merch. You can become one of these people with the right amount of research and determination.

 Negative people always know how to fail. They say YouTube doesn’t work because you can buy views; or that Facebook doesn’t give you a proper percentage of fan interaction; or that Twitter isn’t a proper platform to market your songs. They tell you that Reverbnation and Soundcloud are like ghost-towns (nobody goes there). That MySpace is dead. Negative people say that nobody buys music anymore; and that everyone downloads their music for free.

 Negative people tell you these things because they actually believe them. It’s your job to do your research and find out for yourself if what these negative people believe is true.

 Kendrick Lamar went platinum last year, and before you say it’s because he’s signed to a major label, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are independent artists and their single Thrift Shop just went 3x platinum.

It’s your choice to make the most out of every networking opportunity that comes your way. Don’t forget to look at your own expectations of social networks and decide HOW to approach promoting your music online.

AN ONLINE PRESENCE IS NECESSARY FOR YOUR SUCCESS IN TODAY’S MUSIC INDUSTRY.

So where do you start? What network do you use? Well, that depends on the kind of music you make and who you believe is your audience. Billions of people use social networks. Here’s a list of the more popular ones for our purposes:

Now before u choose the site with the most visitors, let’s look at the ages of the users of some of the various network sites:

Modified graphic from pingdom.com

We all know music doesn’t appeal to everyone in all age groups (although I’ve heard many of you say “everyone is my target market”). Even though there are 60 year old women who like 2 Chainz, his main target market is 18-34 men. Even though some 10 year olds may like to groove with Maze & Frankie Beverly, the band’s target audience is 35+ (they haven’t released new music since 1993). So evaluate your music and content. You don’t want to target people 45+ years old if you’re a hipster or gangster rapper; and you don’t want to target 0-17 year olds if you play traditional jazz. Choose your target audience appropriately, and use the network where you will have the biggest possible audience.

Paying close attention to the chart above, you’ll notice that Tumblr has the most 18-24 year old users. If you’re a young rapper and want to engage people from 18-34, then it looks like your target audience uses mostly Tumblr, Blogger, & MySpace. But if you’re more of an R&B type artist and want to target ages 25-44, your audience is biggest on Twitter, Blogger & WordPress. Finally, if you cater to a more mature audience, like 35+, then Facebook, WordPress & LinkedIn hold bigger parts of your target market. Now these indicators don’t mean that you should shut down or not use ALL social networks. This is just an example of the research that you have to do to locate your potential audience.

If you dedicate the time, an internet search will show you which social networks have the most women, the most college graduates, or the most high school dropouts. I think that I’ve given you enough to get you started in locating the people you want to share your music with online. Now it’s up to you to get your profiles setup and to start engaging the people who have similar interests to you. Remember, DO NOT spam your links to people’s pages!!! That doesn’t work!! Get to know ’em first– you’ve narrowed down your prospects and are talking to your target market. Make sure that your aim is steady before you fire!

Tony Guidry is Senior Marketing Manager for A Scratchy Throat. A Scratchy Throat – the brainchild of industry mainstay Wendy Day – provides professional social media marketing specifically designed for today’s aspiring artists.

50 Ways to Generate Leads with Social Media

If part of your marketing plan involves generating leads, then social media should be part of that strategy. Social media can drive the type of web traffic from those that are actively seeking your information. They may even be ready to buy. Using social media monitoring, content creation, advertising, and networking, you will be a hero at your organization by bringing in leads like never before. Here are 50 ways to drive leads with social media, as part of our ebook, How to Generate Leads with Social Media.

Build a network of strong ties

In order to create leads, you need to have interaction, affection and time, which are all aided by social media. Here are some ways to create strong ties:

1. Follow prospects on Twitter
2. Friend new connections on Facebook
3. Conduct a Google Hangout with industry leaders
4. Host a webinar with registration
5. Answer questions on social channels
6. Use Help a Reporter Out to offer information
7. Share peer referrals
8. Reach out to prospects where they’re engaging
9. Expand pool of prospects
10. Share a Vine video

Influence connections for content sharing

Publishing and sharing content online is the single biggest lever to increase lead generation. Here are some content ideas:

11. Write ebooks and gate them with forms
12. Crowdsource content and credit your community
13. Find a Tweet that promotes your content and share it
14. Reshare existing content to breath new life into it and encourage clicks
15. Make your content visual for Pinterest pins
16. Blog about helpful information (not product)
17. Optimize site and blog for mobile viewers
18. Share relevant content with prospects
19. Make a compelling presentation on Slideshare
20. Ensure all your content links together to create as much inbound linking as possible

Utilizing Social Media Monitoring

Listening at the point of need can help you discover opportunities to help by offering information or expertise — without sales pressure — at the perfect time. This results in lead generation. Here’s how to monitor for lead opportunities.

21. Monitor for buying indication terms within your product category
22. Monitor for recommendation requests within your product category
23. Monitor for discussions of your product category
24. Monitor target prospect personas to confirm accuracy
25. Monitor questions and conversations about your product category
26. Discover topics for remarkable content
27. Discover competitive insights
28. Monitor for key phrases customers are using when seeking help
29. Spot and answer direct questions from prospects
30. Monitor industry trends

Use Social Ads to Generate Leads

Paid advertising on social media, such as sponsored Tweets on Twitter or promoted content on Facebook can help you generate leads. Here are 10 examples of how to do it.

31. Use a Facebook ad to drive traffic to your website
32. Use a promoted Tweet to drive traffic to your website
33. Link back to dedicated landing pages for conversion
34. Sponsor a form on another Facebook Page
35. Create an ad on LinkedIn linking to a lead generation form
36. Promote a strong call to action
37. Promote offers
38. Make ads visually appealing for Pinterest pins
39. Advertise on relevant forums
40. Organize ad distribution by target personas

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search can be a huge driver to your website and utilizing key phrases in your content, social channels and throughout your website can boost your SEO. That will enable prospects to easily find your site, hence aiding in lead capture. Here’s 10 ways to do it

41. Include key phrases in your Tweets
42. Link to your blog from Facebook
43. Ask followers to link to your website
44. Use keywords on your LinkedIn company page
45. Include keywords in your blog post headlines and body
46. Tag and name your images
47. Categorize and tag your blog with key phrases
48. Share ebooks using key phrases
49. Upload videos to YouTube (2nd largest search…