And Now a Word from…: How to Connect with Industry Celebrities to Grow Your Brand

And Now a Word from…
By Kimberly Bordonaro

A periodic column featuring posts from Certified Reach Personal Brand Strategists.

How to Connect with Industry Celebrities to Grow Your Brand

Have you ever wondered how some people seem to network with influencers with such finesse – gaining exposure credibility, and priceless connections – even if they were unknown to begin with? Find out how you can do it, too!

Perhaps you feel like Billy Joel in his hit song “Uptown Girl”. You want to genuinely win over the ‘out-of-your-league super model’ of your industry, but how can do it without looking like a creep?

“But maybe someday when my ship comes in, she’ll understand what kind of guy I’ve been. And then I’ll win.”

My clients and colleagues often ask me how I connect with A-list industry leaders with such ease. Is there some covert trick they don’t know?

Now, I’m not a name dropper, but I’ll give you an idea of what this level of networking has done for me and my brand in the past few months alone. Since February, I’ve connected with six of my “celebrity crushes” through the power of social media, resulting in:

  • Great conversations with major players in my surrounding industries
  • A shout out on Twitter for my article “The Beastie Boys Guide to Brand Storytelling” that blew up my blog traffic in 1 hour and increased my newsletter opt-in list by 15%
  • A number of invitations to meet over coffee or lunch to get to know each other better
  • Resources and introduction offers to help me land a book deal I am currently working on
  • Agreements to appear as a guest expert on my monthly branding workshops

The truth is anyone can get their “Uptown Girl” by reaching out to the key people in your industry and using key do’s and don’ts to networking savvy.

The 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Connecting with Influencers:

  1. Do be strategic. Identify the people with whom you’d like to connect with and why.
  2. Don’t be manipulative. No-one likes an insincere person and will see right through your game.
  3. Do your research. Find out who they are on personal level (hobbies, interests, causes, etc.) by visiting their blog and following their social media accounts.
  4. Don’t wing it. Asking obvious questions is annoying and wastes everyone’s time.
  5. Do have confidence. Poise yourself as a peer to gain respect.
  6. Don’t be a blubbering idiot. Mention you are a fan but don’t go overboard or act foolish.
  7. Do be helpful. Find ways that you can help advance their goals, be a resource, or add value for them or their audience.
  8. Don’t be a leach. Asking for favors, exposure, or having preconceived expectations is a major turnoff.
  9. Do be persistent. Influencers are busy and don’t always respond immediately. It’s okay to respectfully follow-up.
  10. Don’t be a stalker. Use common sense: don’t be annoying or pushy, and know when to back off.

Kimberly Bordonaro is a personal branding consultant who teaches BrandspirationTM to creative entrepreneurs on how to define their brand and rock their success. She regularly blogs about branding with a lyrical twist.


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