Episode 105: How to Prospect Your Industry Influencers’ Followers
The LinkedIn Whisperer herself, Brynne Tillman, welcomes Talent Retention Sherpa Steven Farber to an engaging discussion about leveraging influencers on LinkedIn. Tune in as they teach listeners how to find those industry influencers that are attracting your ideal prospects and how to start authentic conversations with their respective followers.
Listen as Steven talks about the significance of polls when used the right way and why he thinks it’s a fantastic conversation starter. You’ll also discover how you can utilize polls to find influencers that people on your network are following.
Learn how he uses hashtags to uncover posts that he can engage on and that he can eventually use to engage with potential buyers. There are quite a number of valuable insights packed into this episode, so make sure you don’t skip this one!
Brynne Tillman 00:00
I am very excited today. Welcome everyone to Making Sales Social Live! We’re doing this a little differently today. Although our topic today, which I’m really excited about, is around leveraging influencers to start conversations, we decided today, that we’re not going to just do theoretical. We’re going to actually work with my good friend, Steven Farber. Steven, welcome to Making Sales Social Live! I’m thrilled to have you as our guest today.
Steven Farber 00:29
Hey, thrilled to be here. Very, very happy. Thank you so much for having me on, Brynne.
Bob Woods 00:35
Welcome to Making Sales Social Live! As we share LinkedIn and social selling training strategies and tips that will have an immediate impact on your business. Join Brynne Tillman, and me, Bob Woods every week, Making Sales Social Live!
Brynne Tillman 00:51
You know we’re talking about how to leverage an influencer. On LinkedIn they’re called creators. How do we prospect people that enjoy the content of those creators? And we’re going to walk through a couple of scenarios on how to leverage that influencer to start conversations with their audience. But first, I’m going to ask you, share a little bit about what you do and who you attract.
Steven Farber 01:18
Sure! Thanks, Brynne. Again, my name is Steven Farber, I am a talent retention sherpa at Take Flight Learning and Hero Culture. And I do talent development, you know, I get into organizations, we lead trainings that we want to leave impactful, just lasting positive activities that really bring the culture together so that your employees want to stay, they’re engaged, and you get to know them a little better. So that’s kind of a little bit about what we do and we do a lot with birds, if you haven’t been able to tell already.
Brynne Tillman 01:46
Yeah, I love this. And actually, most, we have lots of people here live but a lot of people are listening to us on podcasts, in replays. So talk a little bit about birds and how that helps employee engagement?
Steven Farber 02:01
Well Brynne, I’m sure you’re familiar with the DISC model and a lot of people here probably are as well. And DISC has been a great thing for a long time, I mean, hundreds of years. And since 1928 when it was kind of categorized by Marston, a lot of people have been using it for success. But the problem comes when you try to remember any kind of DISC training and you’re paying a lot of money to try to bring people on board to do that. It’s hard to remember, you know, what am I? am I a dominant D with a low I? It just, it’s not simple. So what we’ve done, or rather, what Merrick Rosenberg did with his book, is we’ve attached birds to it. So when you think of an eagle, you know, Brynne, what do you think of?
Brynne Tillman 02:41
Steven Farber 02:46
Right. Direct, assertive versus if I bring something up like a dove, it might be more soft, more supportive, right? So what we’ve done is we’ve applied birds to personalities, and they make it so much more sticky for people to remember. And we teach those personalities, we help people to see who they are and then most importantly, how do you flex to meet the other birds, where they’re at in your organization. And we find just a lot of great things come from that.
Brynne Tillman 03:10
So I love that. Are you reaching out? I’m sure you’re reaching out to all kinds of different people inside of an organization. But maybe it’s HR, maybe it’s who else are you reaching out to? Or is that your market?
Steven Farber 03:23
Well, a lot of times, it depends, you know, HR is probably the place that I’m in the most because they are the… I say front lines, they wear so many hats, but they’re the ones who deal with all the incoming and outgoing employees and they often are in charge of coming up with the talent development programs.
You see CEOs have some some say in that or rather some, if they have time to spend in that area, then there’s talent development managers as well. But a lot of times, it’s HR. And those are the people that I try to reach out to create relationships with and really see, you know, where they’re at in their development and if if what we do makes it is a good fit, that’s great.
Brynne Tillman 04:01
Yeah, let’s talk about where to find them, right. So what influencers on LinkedIn are attracting those people?
Steven Farber 04:09
So there’s quite a few. And I’ve actually tried, I’m really just trying to see who else is out there. Number one person that comes to my mind, just because he pops up everywhere, is Adam Grant and he’s an organizational psychologist and he always has a lot of great things to say about employee culture and that’s a big part of what we do and where it fits.
Brynne Tillman 04:27
Great. So let’s use Adam Grant as the example. I love that. So Adam Grant is posting lots of content. It looks like he’s a New York Times bestseller. So that’s great, right? And when he posts content, he’s getting an awful lot of engagement. The other thing that I’m noticing is he has, oh my gosh, almost five million followers. So we look at Adam Grant and we see he’s got almost five million followers now. He probably has 10, 20, maybe even 30,000 connections and until we are a first-degree connection of Adam Grant, we can’t see his connections but there are almost 5 million other people that we can find.
So one of the things I recommend, and we’ll talk about a couple of ways to engage with Adam Grant and Adam Grant’s people, what we do is when we go into LinkedIn search, right, we click on the Search bar, and we hit Enter and then we go to All Filters, one of the filters is followers of a creator. We don’t have to be connected to them to use this.
So if we leverage that, we put in, let’s say that, you know, the Adam Grant, and then we use some of our other filters. Maybe we want a certain industry, maybe we want to look at our first-degree connections that follow Adam Grant. Maybe you do that and you get 80. Now a way that you engage and say, “Hey, Jane, I noticed you’re a follower of Adam Grant, so am I. I recently came across a podcast he was on. Here were some of my takeaways. If you’re interested, let me know, I’d be happy to send over the link to the podcast.” And we can reach out to all 80 of our first-degree connections that already follow Adam Grant. Great way to start a conversation. What do you think of that?
Steven Farber 06:11
I think that that’s actually really great. So that process, again, would be, you know, finding a post and then seeing who engaged on it, can you kind of go over that for me again?
Brynne Tillman 06:20
Well, that will be a second process. That’s actually number two. So this is, the first one here is really about just finding all your followers that you are already connected to that follow Adam Grant and then send them something that you’ve really enjoyed, something that has really had an impact and just start a conversation with your first-degree connections.
We can also now search our second-degree connections. Who in our network are we connected to through a shared connection that likes Adam Grant. So it’s another way that we can engage, “I see that we’re connected to quite a few people, and you’re a fan of Adam Grant. I have recently came across a podcast that’s amazing with some of these takeaways, let’s connect and let me know if you’d be interested, I would be happy to send you a link.” Great way to use that follower as someone to engage with.
So number three, which is what you mentioned, is let’s go find Adam’s content. So if we go to Adam Grant’s profile and look at his activity and click on posts, we can now see the posts. Engage with Adam, engage with the people commenting because those are probably your potential, your prospects, and then say, “Hey, I see we both are engaging on Adam Grant’s content, if you’re open, let’s connect. I have a podcast he was on that is one of my favorites, I’d be happy to share with you here were some of the takeaways. Let me know.” And now we continue to build this great rapport with people around what you have in common.
Steven Farber 07:53
One thing on that, Brynne, is I’ve had a lot of success, I didn’t realize I was doing that, but there’s another, I often comment on the Forbes Human Resource Council posts. And you know, there was a couple people who had who had made a comment or engaged and I actually reached out them and I said, “Hey, I really liked what you said here. I would love to carry on this conversation, you know, feel free to check out my profile. If that makes sense, let’s connect.” And some of those people are my friends to this day. So it’s a very effective, very neat way to connect.
Brynne Tillman 08:20
Yeah. So you know, it’s really a wonderful way to engage when we are we have someone in common, we have a topic in common. And I encourage, and you said there are quite a few, right? So I encourage everyone to go search out who are the influencers in your world that are attracting your buyers.
Search for first-degree, who am I already connected to that knows that influencer, or not knows, that knows of or is is following that influencer, your second-degrees who are one away, and then go and engage on their content as well. And honestly, I find this to be some of the easiest ways to engage. Steven, tell me a couple other things that you’re doing with LinkedIn that’s working for you today.
Steven Farber 09:11
Yeah, you know, I’m always a big fan of polls, because I think they are just a fantastic conversation starter. They have been nerfed a little bit but that’s kind of a good thing because people were just making polls, like, “What’s your favorite color?” and they were getting thousands of votes but it’s kind of like what you and people like Richard van der Blom say, what’s the point of doing that? (Brynne: Right.) So, you know, I find that creating polls, not any kind of bait and switch, but really just asking the important questions.
Like for instance, with what I do for personalities, you know, my latest poll was, “Hey, when it comes to conflict, how do you deal with it?” because we all have different ways of dealing with it and you have some people voting certain ways and some people others and, you know, I genuinely ask them, “Hey, I would love to get your point of view on this.” and of course, we jump on a phone call, where it goes from there I never know. Sometimes it’s business, sometimes it’s referral partners but it’s always good and we have something in common to talk about immediately. That’s huge.
Brynne Tillman 10:08
I would love to bridge that now. Let’s say you have a huge group of people that like, I’m going to go back to Adam Grant, because it’s the topic right of the influencer. If you put out, where do you consume Adam Grant’s content? Is it podcasts? Isn’t LinkedIn, is it right? And now we go out to all these Adam Grant people first and seconds and ask for them to vote. By the way, you’ll probably get on Adam Grant’s radar, if you’re doing something like that. Just saying, but you know, this is now an opportunity, maybe where’s the number one place you consume his content, and then you reach out. “As an Adam Grant follower, I’d love to know where, please share and in addition, sharing content, comments, any links to any of this content that you love?” I’m just trying to think, how do we take that and really leverage polls and followers of influencers?
Steven Farber 11:01
I have an idea and this is something that I was thinking of, and I might actually do this today or tomorrow but what about creating a poll and listing a couple people like, “Hey, these are some of my favorite influencers? Are they yours? And if not, who do you follow?” (Brynne: I love that.) Yeah. That way you could actually get the information like, who do I need to be following? Maybe I’m not following anybody, I need to.
Brynne Tillman 11:25
That’s brilliant! And then based on who they follow, you can share that content with them. Find content for each of those influencers. And go, I noticed you follow this, this is my favorite podcast from this person. Let me know if you’d like, and you can start conversations. I love that. Here we go. So how do we find those influencers for the various industries we support?
For example, our clients are architects and interior designers. We do architectural photography, what search and how do I find influencers? So a few things I would do is look at, start with who are your clients engaging with? I’d also go to Amazon and look up authors around the topic. Google top blogs in architects, top blogs for interior designers, top podcasts, Google could be your friend here. And then you could go find those authors on LinkedIn.
Now, it’s not always… if they could be incredible on Medium and Facebook and have no presence on LinkedIn. So it could be a little work and you may find two or three out of 10 that really have a presence on LinkedIn. And then, that, who is liking and engaging on their content? Is that your targeted audience? Anything you want to add to that?
Steven Farber 12:44
Just one thing I would say if you know what those hashtags are, like, for me, employee engagement is a big one. So I’ll search employee engagement hashtag and just the sentence in LinkedIn search, I’ll search by the last posts for the last week and make sure it’s not just first connections, I want to include second, and then I’ll see which ones are really, really doing good. And I’ve actually been featured in LinkedIn News just for searching that stuff. And then commenting and I got picked up there and that was really good for me. So that’s, that has been huge for me and very effective. Yeah.
Brynne Tillman 13:19
Great, great tip! So Joe says, “Polls are fine, but many have had them just to get to connect with those that responded, or others finding this is not the best way to give the poll and build trust, take polls for a reason and not to just cast a net to get people.”
So one of the things we say, Joe, is make sure that your poll is relevant to your target audience, not just a discovery question, not just for you to learn about them. But one of the things that LinkedIn does really well is you can’t see how people voted until you vote. So it’s an amazing opportunity. Quite honestly, when you get this in front of someone, if they want to see what their peers are saying, what they’re voting on, they will vote.
We teach LinkedIn for social selling, our whole goal is to start conversations with people, not pitch them, but start conversations. So you know, when we reach out, and then we share, “Hey, we’ll be happy to share the results with you or share insights around this topic.” It’s not a bait and switch. We’re very honest about what we’re going to do and what they can expect. And if they choose not for us to follow up, they don’t have to vote. That’s sort of the way that I look at that.
Steven Farber 14:42
You know, just to kind of as much as I hate this phrase, to piggyback on what you said there, one thing that I do is once we ask permission for them to vote on the poll, if they voted, I always reach back out and say, “Hey, I saw that you voted this way. If you’re open to it, I have some some content that I created that I would love to share with you.” And if they don’t say anything to that I usually don’t try and push for any kind of meaning but if they do that, by that point, we have so much to talk about that the conversation is natural. And of course, from there, there’s no bait and switch. It’s just let’s just talk.
Brynne Tillman 15:15
Yeah, I love that. And I have to say, Steven, we have wonderful members, obviously, I mean, you are so engaged. But one of the things I love is that you really implement and you’re seeing results from it. And it just warms my heart to see how well-versed you are and how great you’re using LinkedIn. (Steven: Aww, thank you.)
I am totally thrilled. So we have a couple of other things coming in here. So regarding polls, just say if you’d like to know what your peers are saying, please vote not really. So it’s close but it’s it’s “Hey, Steven, as a personality professional, I’d love your one-click vote on a poll that we just published on X. Once the poll closes, I’m happy to share the insights that we gleaned and how your peers, where you fall among your peers…” or something to the regard. So I’m leaving it open that he knows when he votes, I’m going to be following up with him. So you know, that’s really the verbiage that I use.
Hi Sheryl. (Reading a comment) “Brynne, as you know, I send out gift packages.” You do but what I would say, Sheryl, in your content, I would talk about how personal gift packages create loyalty, create, you know, sending a personal gift package to your top salesperson and what that will do, right? Versus just tchotchkes with your logo on it. What’s the difference? Right? I would educate around that, right. So also trying to get new companies, I get lots of likes, but not business.
So it’s your, it’s our job as business development professionals to convert the like, into new business. So it depends on the content. If you’re sharing really good educational content on how personal gift baskets can really help grow your referrals from your clients or whatever that looks like, whatever it is that you’re doing and they engage, the key is to have additional resources to send them beyond that.
And that’s how you start the conversation where you become the subject matter expert. Had a wonderful time. Usually, we were about 22 minutes in and that’s awesome, we usually stop around 20 but we could talk all day, but we’ll have to do this again. We hope that you know we today talking about how to leverage followers of creators of influencers can help you start conversations with your targeted audience.
Steven, thanks so much for being here. I appreciate your insights.
Steven Farber 18:01
My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Brynne Tillman 18:02
And so for everyone else when you are out and about, don’t forget to make your sales social.
Bob Woods 18:09
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