Who are your influencers?

In my last blog post I talked about the influence project. This week I want to focus on finding your influencers.

How do you spread the message about your business? Do you try and do it yourself? Do you employ sales people to go out and do it on your behalf? These are valid tactics but I want to let you into a secret today – it’s far easier and more effective to spread the message about your company if you let others do it for you. Sounds obvious right but how do you do it? Here’s how:

1). Work out who your ‘sneezers’ are. Seth Godin came up with the concept of the sneezer in a book entitled ‘Unleashing The Idea Virus’ (aff link) a few years ago. The idea being that your sneezers will help you push out a message to far more people and far quicker than you could hope to do on your own. A sneezer is the type of person that loves to talk, they love to tell other people about other peoples business. I’m sure if you think hard enough about it you will work out a few of your sneezers right now. More often than not they are the people that attend every networking event and seem to know everyone. Their personalities just lend themselves to ‘sneezing’ 🙂

2). Give them the tools to pass your message on. If you’re hoping they will pass your message on in real life, the message better be good. You better have a fantastic new product or a purple cow (another great book by Seth, also an aff link). These days we have social media which allows us to push a message on quickly by sharing, retweeting or forwarding on a message – it can literally be at the click of a button.

3). Find these people online. I keep a list of my sneezers on my computer at all times. I started with a list of everyone that’s ever passed my name or my company name onto a contact as a recommendation. That’s the holy grail by the way (someone putting their neck on the line for you). Treat these people very carefully and concentrate on them when you need to get a message out there. Influencers online are usually quite easy to find. They are normally well liked, well followed people. If they run blogs then look for signs like numbers of rss subscribers, number of comments, number of times they get retweeted. If these people push your message on you’re going to get traction. Spend time building relationships with them, engage with them and help them wherever you can.

4). Hang out in places where influencers are. I’m a member of two or three online communities. These cost money but boy are they worth it. The quality of member I’ll meet here will be worth their weight in gold. There are two that I’d recommend joining today, one here in the UK and one in the states.

Entrepreneurs Circle – If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur then join up today. I believe at the time of writing you get two months free so what have you got to lose? This group has both online content, which is worth the joining fee alone and offline meetups where you can network with successful individuals.

Join Entrepreneurs Circle (aff link)

Third Tribe – Chris Brogan et al started Third Tribe with the vision of scaling their knowledge and bringing like minded online marketers together. There is an excellent forum and the podcasts (which you can download to your mp3 player) are second to none. If you want to mix with the best online marketing people in the world then this is the place to be.

Join Third Tribe Marketing (aff link)

I make no bones about the fact that I am an affiliate for both these groups. I never promote things I’m not a fan of or have not benefitted from myself. These two groups have had a profound effect on my business life so I heartly recommend you joining today if you can.

Now Your Thoughts

Do you know who your influencers are? Have you got processes in place to look after them and help them to help you?


  1. Robert Pickstone on 10th September 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Hi Al,

    There are some really good tips here. Influencers can be key to spreading a message. I have a list of local influencers (well, stored in my head) and the great thing is that most seem to be friendly and up for chatting.

    If I were to own my own business or have more of aim to all my nattering, then maybe I would focus a little bit more on industry influencers. As it is though I just enjoy chatting to anyone who seems friendly, shares similar interests or is reasonably local.

    In terms of the processes I have in place for influencers, I try to keep in touch with them the best I can and help whenever I can by sharing their work, commenting on their work or giving support/advice (obviously if I agree with what they’re doing). The thing is, I don’t really see them as influencers, I see them a friends or friendly people I speak to now and again, so giving in this way is actually quite enjoyable and not as ‘planned’ as it may appear from the outside looking in.

    If I ran my own business and was trying to connect with influencers, my experiences may be a little different so I will be interested to see how other people approach all of this.



    • Banksy on 10th September 2010 at 3:25 pm

      Really good point Rob and you’re right, ‘influencers’ probably doesn’t give it the right feel. It could be seen as a little cold I guess. Many of my sneezers or influencers are now friends too.

      • Robert Pickstone on 10th September 2010 at 3:51 pm

        Sneezers who are friends are more likely to sneeze louder and more often too 🙂

        • Banksy on 10th September 2010 at 4:39 pm

          Very good point 🙂

  2. Ann Holman on 10th September 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Great post Al. Influencers will increasingly become important in the future growth of any business especially as we create, develop and inspire business communities around us.

    Its worth noting that influencers come in many shapes and forms and add value to a business both financially and non financially!


    • Banksy on 10th September 2010 at 4:40 pm

      Thank you Ann – I know you do lots of great work in this area so if you want to link people to anything you’ve written here please feel free.

  3. Ann Holman on 10th September 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks Al!

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