Previously we talked about how you can submit your product to product review sites and ask bloggers to review your product, reaching out to influencers is very similar to that.

Contacting the big names in your industry can really make your brand take a few leaps forward, but you also need to know the right way to approach influencers.

Step 1: Identifying your industry influencers

Before reaching out to influencers you will need to think what defines the influencers that are relevant to your store? Who are the most influential personas in your industry?

So if for instance you’re in the fashion industry, you would probably define your influencers as fashion bloggers and stylists.

Once you defined your influencers, you can now go ahead and track them down.

Using a simple Google search you will be able to target the top blogs in your industry. Once you listed these blogs, create a list of the top authors in those blogs and add any additional information you can find in their author bio such as twitter account, email, Google+ account, Quora account etc.

Another way to find top influencers is using Klout.com. Klout is a social media analytics tool that calculates a user’s Klout Social influence based on 400(!) social signals as followers, likes, comments, retweets, +1s, connections and more. Based on these social signals a user is given an overall score called a Klout Score that ranks the user from 1 to 100 in their social influence.

To find influencers through Klout sign up for your own Klout account. Once you’ve signed up choose the Explore option to search for influencers in the topics that are relevant to you.

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For every expert here you will be able to see all the content they created and all their linked social accounts. Add these influencers with links to their social accounts to the list you created before.

Step 2: Engaging with your influencers

After we’ve identified our industry influencers, we want to start reaching out to them. The key here to not alienating your potential connections is to take it slow and build a relationship.

This step might require a bit ‘stalking’. You want to slowly build a relationship with the influencer, but this isn’t something that can be done in one day.

Start out by following your influencers on their various social accounts. Besides the accounts that are linked with their Klout account or links on their bio, you can also try searching for the influencer’s name on Quora, Linkedin and Google+ to find other channels you can connect with them through.

You can also use this method to search on Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr to find your influencers on these platforms by name, blog URL, username etc.

Next, follow your influencers & start engaging with them through the content they share. For example, you can comment on one of their blog posts, favorite & share a tweet, compliment a photo they added on Instagram etc.

Step 3: Starting a conversation

The last step in connecting with an influencer can be tricky and is the whole key to this working.

For this to happen, you need to wait for the perfect moment to spark up a conversation. Once you started a dialog with an influencer, only then will be a good time to ask to collaborate with them, if it’s by running on their blog a free giveaway, writing as a guest on their blog and/or linking back to their blog.

Engaging with influencers can be a demanding process, but considering the exposure your brand can get by this makes it worth the time and effort.

Read on to find out how to get your brand going with a viral video >>