A 10-Point Plan for Connecting with Online Influencers (Without Turning into a Suck-Up)

A 10-Point Plan for Connecting with Online Influencers (Without Turning into a Suck-Up)

Reader Comments (59)

  1. #10 is my favorite. It reminds me that life is rarely what we imagined it to be. We need to get out of our heads and over the reality that it’s not supposed to be any different.

    As I kid I idolized a singer. Fast forward 20 years later when this singer was shooting a video locally. I had a connection that got me on the set. I rehearsed a speech in my head that was teleprompter-worthy of any political address for that “special moment” when we met. Sure, I tried to be a good egg, but the bottom line I was uninteresting, trite and quite frankly, an ass for thinking we would have a connection outside a typical musician and a roving fan.

    Needless to say, Michael McDonald and me did not bond over his music, my effusive ramblings, or the short, cute miniskirt I wore for the occasion.

    Totally squeed all over my shoes but learned the invaluable lessons that people connect with like-minded people and nobody owes you a thing–no matter your illusions of how the relationship should be.

    • Laughing, been there, done that. These things happen. With a little luck, they make a good story. 🙂

      And you never know. Sometimes the click happens.

  2. I would like to add that small gestures to help an “influencer” also goes a long way. (Of course we shouldn’t do anything expecting anything in return!)
    A few weeks ago, I wrote a post title’d “Great Blogging Tips I Learned From Smart Passive Income By Pat”
    My goal was to purely, share my experience on how I read Pat’s blog and put his advice into action.
    Imagine my surprise when Pat himself made a visit made added the first comment! I was blown away. Ever since that day we’ve been communicating on email and I still wonder how it all happened!

    Actual influence is composed of the ability to influence opinions, outcomes, and actions.

  3. “But if you pick fights 90% of the time, you’ll become known as someone who only knocks down. You need to be known as someone who can build.”

    It’s always better to be nice, no matter what anyone else does. Getting into squabbles and confrontations once in a while is bound to happen, but you don’t want to earn a reputation for being a troublemaker. There are enough cranky people out there, no need to join them. Love the Road House quote by the way.

    • It’s great to be reminded of #6. We shouldn’t be confined in our own virtual world. Get out and take the opportunity to meet fellow bloggers.

      In line w/ #6 is even starting to meet online through skype. I make podcasts and interview other people. This is my simple way of connecting with them. Then through the podcasts I’m hoping to build something worth talking which is #1 and #3 to be interesting. Like when you said “No matter how crowded your topic, there’s always room for someone who can think and speak intelligently about it.” And that’s my guests in the podcasts.

  4. I love number 6: Do some serious deals in meatspace. Actually, I have never heard it referred to as that – but it is an interesting concept. We have to be sure we are meeting with people in the offline world too as that is where the real rubber meets the road. And offline contacts can become online connections too which is cool. I loved your story about Seth Godin and the crumpets too. Your style is something I am always learning from. Love it.

  5. Great post. I love #10 as well. It typically never works out the way we imagined, but it could be better than we ever expected. Serving others without asking for anything in return is what sets people apart, in my opinion.

  6. Number 9 and number 10 are very true, yet almost never talked about. No one likes a hero worshiper. The path always leads somewhere good, even if it’s not where you originally intended to go!

  7. I knew two sentences in that this had to be Sonia:
    While you can, in fact, make money in your underwear, there are limits to how antisocial you get to be.

    Brilliant. Way to craft a line that pulls me in Sonia. Got to tend to patients just now, but I’ll be back to fully digest this.

  8. Ha! I tell my nephew to “be a good egg” all the time…guess I should heed my own advice,huh? Thanks Sonia!

  9. Hey Sonia,

    I find it fascinating that we have to be reminded to be good. What? And tact … why, what’s that?? But, then I look around and realize that just because we’re putting ourselves out there in the blogging world and being exceptionally visible doesn’t mean we’re any different (better) than in “real” life.

    We see examples of everything you’re saying everyday, all around us. People are people, it’s just that now all our foibles are exuberantly exposed in the living color of the web. And I suppose we need these seemingly obvious kicks in the virtual asses because some of your points – just – ain’t – that – obvious to many!

    Thanks, Sonia. Whew, I feel better now. 😉 (oh gosh – i was whining! hahahaha)


  10. Hi Sonia,
    Incredibly useful as always!

    #6 and #9 resonated with me the most.

    #6 because doing deals in ‘meatspace’ can be really intimidating, especially if you’ve only spent time communicating with that person via text (email, twitter, etc.). Would you consider Skype meatspace? Probably not.
    I feel like meeting someone in meatspace that I’ve developed a relationship with online would be a lot like having a dream where your mind has placed a really familiar object in a place that it’s not supposed to be…like your car on a boat, or your mom in a space suite. (Unless of course your mom is an astronaut).

    #9 reminds me of something Pamela Slim says in her book, and I think also on her blog. It’s about not becoming ‘fan boy’ or ‘fan girl’. It’s tempting to just lay on the flattery as thick as we can to prove that we really do admire this person, but usually that person doesn’t admire self-depreciation. Especially when you’re saying that you are a nobody or that they are the God or Goddess of ‘online marketing’ or ‘women in business’ or ‘making money in underwear.’

    Again, seriously awesome post!


  11. #3 is key. At the beginning I would get a lot of people just complimenting me and to be honest I didn’t mind it. But later I figured I needed to start conversations, so I made my posts more opinionated and at the end always called for the comments. Conversation is what we all want, at least I think so 🙂

  12. #10. Dr.Seuss says it best, “Oh The Places You’ll Go”. I’m still get a kick when more than 50 people visit my blog in one day. and you’re very right, it sure as heck doesn’t work they way you think it should but the journey from no visitors to 2,000 in two months has been interesting.

  13. #11 should be “lend a hand”

    I’ve mentored and advised people who have turned around and to help me later.

    Don’t just network “up”. Network “down”

    • Yes! I’ve been reaching out to a LOT of a-list folks over the last year or so (even more lately with the whole Prosperity’s Kitchen project) and I can tell you that this is KEY. If (when) I someday become one of those people who others seek out for help, I hereby swear on a stack of Seth Godin books to always respond — even if it’s just a polite, no, thank you. I am continually amazed and impressed (and surprised) by who says yes and who says no (and — more importantly, who blows me off).

  14. Hi Sonia,

    Great list! #10 rings big bells for me. I went to a lecture in New York once with legendary songwriter, Jimmy Webb (wrote songs your parents rocked out to in the 60’s: Up, Up and Away, MacArthur Park, Witchita Lineman, etc).

    So I contacted him online afterward and just boldly asked if he would be interested in mentoring me as a songwriter (after mentioning at least a few qualifying credentials). He reminded me he had six grown children he never has time for and couldn’t do it on a regular basis but might answer a question from time to time. So I asked him who I should listen to in the classical realm if I was woefully deficient in this area.

    To my surprise, he wrote back with a list of composers and specific albums. Then it was radio silence. The list was a huge help but I felt somehow dejected. I had to ask myself if I truly wanted to be mentored by him or if it was just cool to say to my musician friends.

    The lesson: really know why you want to connect with an influencer in the first place and don’t waste one extra minute of their time if they do grant you an audience. They got to that place working their ass off. Try to offer them something of real value, which begins with respect.

    #1 is still the best advice. Or as Emerson put it:

    “Do your work and I will know you.”

    Thanks for this.

  15. Funny, the meatspace one resonated with me too. I’ve said for a long time that when it comes to social media and building relationships, event planners have an unfair advantage that they should be taking advantage of (though many still don’t seem to quite get it). They have the opportunity to connect people before (virutally), during (in meatspace) and after (possibly both). I hope more event planners will realize what a powerful position they are in.

  16. Being interesting has been my toughest step to conquer. I sell real estate in the greater Oregon area and yes I do blog, but what it seems like it isn’t as interesting as other subjects. I even did some research on other Realtors websites and all of them are very boring. Any advice?

  17. Sonia, we met last year – albeit briefly – at the problogger conference in Melbourne. (How time flies). I barely said two words to you (along the lines of ‘would you like something to drink? Duh!). I was completetly starstruck. I get your point trying not to go ga ga. Only it was that easy.

    Thanks for a great post. More than 70% of the stuff in my swipe file comes from Copyblogger. I adore some of your older stuff. (Should I have said this or is it too creepy?)


  18. Good morning, Sonia.
    re: #9 and 10 – were you having a mosey about in my mind when you wrote those, I wonder?

    I have had – no, let’s make that ‘still have’ – the crumpets fantasy and to a certain extent have actually got to eat them with my hero on a reasonably regular basis. Not in real life, you understand, but privately online (email). I’m not sure what – if anything – my hero gets out of it, but for me it is extremely valuable. I ask for nothing (at least no knowingly!), but do try to give – if only a little entertainment away from the business of either my hero’s work or my own. But it also gives me an opportunity to practice being nice and interesting… least I hope that’s what I’m being!

    What I get out of it too, is that on the bottom line our heroes (well, mine at least) are actually just like us. Sometimes we tend to forget they too have their insecurities; fears for the future (even if maybe they don’t go about broadcasting them!); doubts about what they have done, where they have been and so on. I can’t begin to imagine what sort of pressure our heroes come under when they begin to realise that we have cast them in that role.

    Did you realise Marya was struckdumb just being at the same coffee pot as you? Doubt it – you come across as the sort of person who wouldn’t even think you could be someone’s heroine. My best guess is that for most of these people we put on pedestals, their reaction would be something along the lines of ‘Wha’!!! Me? No way!’

    I am so lucky and know it’s a privileged position to be in having crumpets a few times a week with my hero. My hero is so easy-going and fun to chat with, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would ‘squee all over my shoes’ if ever I met my hero in the ‘meat or meet’ world.

    Thank you for being so honest about your hero-worship – makes me and I’ll bet many more, feel less foolish about the fantasies we have. But what’s really good, is that it shows you and we are in many ways ‘just the same’. Being a big kid at heart is no bad thing (let’s face it, there’s more than a hint of a teenage crush in our fantasies!) and there’s a time and place for all of us to see ourselves chomping on crumpets.

    Kind regards,

    BTW – hero used deliberately to protect the innocent…
    oh, just thought…. what does ‘squee’ mean? Sounds rather rude……

  19. Very awesome and true points Sonia! Really charming and funny but with a lot of teachings and educative giving the knowledge of what the really truth about online connectors to capture the mind of your audience! I think it would sometime be more better if you need successful plans to establish personal relationships with dozens of these online influencers and turn many of them into friends and business partners. We must be some sort of networking animals. Anyone cant Plug Into the Secret World of “Online Influencers if the focus is positive and not giving up! Great post and thanks for sharing!

  20. Hello Sonia! certainly interacting the people through social media is a big challenge you could face negative aspect through this but its you who controls the situation and react positively to that and for me that’s the tricky point where you build your repo in-front to the online community.

    Thanks for sharing valuable points though :-).

  21. The big tip i got out of this is resisting moaning on the social media .haha

    I tend to be rather free and open and honest and ready to pour out my entire thoughts on a page

    Got to watch it and resist it strongly

    Thanks for an insightful post


  22. What a great list and I know many of these I’ve failed up on more than once.

    I think another good one to add is “Be Mature.” It’s important to recognize that we all come from different generations with different rules for etiquette. Maturity however is something that everyone can see and respect.

  23. Sonia,
    I’m happy that I came across your site this afternoon in my quest to educate myself. I’m green, like two weeks out of the box green. I think I’m pretty good communicating with people in real life, but through social media is a whole other ball game. I went into this knowing how I want people to talk to me so I figure if I’m that way with my audience then I’ll be ok. It’s nice to see that you had some pointers on here like #5, something I’m already doing. It’s a little different talking to complete strangers than your friends on social media but I am meeting some really nice people who are on the same journey as me. Thanks so much and I will be signing up for your updates. Good stuff! ~ Michelle

  24. I was going to ask if Google +1’s are important, and then noticed the FB vs. Google split above. (10 more for Google at the time of posting). So I won’t because I guess they are.

    Great post, particularly like number 10. Though it’s hard not to dream big isn’t it?

  25. This post is great. I have had a blog on my site for over 2 years now but I never took the time to truly think about what my “something worth talking about” was. I added it to my website because I know it was a “good” thing to do from an SEO perspective. But my interest in writing waned as I felt like I was writing for my mother and a google computer. I’m taking the time to rethink what it is that I can write about, truly what I’m passonate about before relaunching and your article has been extremely helpful in clarifying things. Thanks!

  26. Very useful post. You can grab attention by being a bad egg but don’t gain any influence. Interesting view. Always have a plan, and if the plan don’t work, adjust and correct. There is no perfect plan in this world, but a plan that is flexible is perfect.

  27. Creating a powerful content resource is vital. But sometimes you need to actively seek influential users in your niche and connect with them. To be honest I only realised the true power of connections a few months ago when one of my posts was shared by a highly influential user on Twitter resulting in tons of traffic to my website almost overnight.

  28. I guess the don’t whine, don’t squee and don’t gossip advice can be summed up as “treat other people online as well as you’d expect to treat them in the real world”.

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