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I Found the Leaders in My Field, Now What?

5 Fast Wins from Influencer Engagement

Here at Little Bird, we sometimes take for granted that everyone understands the value of finding and engaging with the most influential experts in the world. But there’s magic in making things explicit: so here’s a few great reasons to find the leaders in your field and start your engagement with them right away.

Once you’ve identified the world’s most influential experts in your field of interest—what can you get out of that knowledge?

1. Develop relationships so they’ll spread the word about you

This is the one most people come to Little Bird for first, but it’s only the beginning.

You know that some people have built big audiences online and they could really move the needle for you by spreading the word about you, your business or your project.  In order to get them to do so, you’re going to have to win their respect by being interesting.  (Being generous, helpful and filled with integrity makes a big difference too.  Then hustle, nobody said this was easy, we just said we could make it a lot easier.)

The sooner you find out who those people are with all that influence and the more often you can make interesting on-topic conversation among them (check out the Hot News page on your Little Bird report to find things to talk about with experts that will make you smarter too), the more credibly you’ll be able to build relationships and later ask them to talk about you.

Imagine going up to the most popular person at a party and saying “Hi, I’d like to introduce myself and ask you to please tell everyone else at the party about me.”  You’ll be far more likely to get help spreading the word if you’ve invested time into building relationships with influential people and demonstrating that you’re interesting enough to spread the word about.

2. Learn from the best

Why is it important to spend time learning from the most influential experts in your field?  It might be easiest understood in the negative.  Think about those people who have gone before you, climbed to the top of your field, who continue to perform in ways that win ongoing accolades from other leaders—do you really want to be ignorant of the things they are doing? That doesn’t sound like a very good idea.

3. Find out what people at the top of your field are excited about

People at the top of their field get brought all kinds of interesting, valuable opportunities and information more often and more quickly than the rest of us.  They see it first, they do it first.  You can get in on that same action by hanging out with top influencers and seeing what they get excited about.  Most of them are very generous, you just have to know where to look.

Little Bird tip: Check out the Share & Engage “Hot News” tab on any report and bookmark that page to learn from the leaders in your field every day.

4. Know what top experts have said in the past about important subjects

Many top people online have been producing thoughtful writing and content for years, about all kinds of things.  Some of those things are going to come up again later, in your life and work.  If you ignore all the things top people in your field have written about those things in the past, you’re leaving a lot of knowledge and value on the table, un-utilized.

Little Bird tip: Check out the Search tab on any report to search inside the blog posts and web pages from the leaders in your field for any keyword or phrase.

5. Know who knows whom and who doesn’t

It’s good to know who top people know and who they don’t know.  That’s valuable information if you end up interacting with those people.

For example, if I’m going to have a conversation about Music Tech with Andrew Mager, Hacker Advocate at Spotify (above, photo Creative Commons by Tyler Howarth), it might come in handy to know the following things:

  • He’s known Schlomo Rabinowitz for a long time, probably longer than anyone else in the industry.  Schlomo Rabinowitz is a pretty cool cat.
  • He probably doesn’t know the very influential Glenn Peoples of Billboard Magazine, but maybe he ought to.  They’re not connected online at least.
  • He’s recently connected with Wesley Verhoeve of Family Records, who sometimes contributes to Billboard; in fact the two had a very interesting conversation about helping musicians get started with social media and what kinds of help are appropriate.

Imagine having that level of visibility into the connections of someone influential in your industry.  What could you do with that?  You can have a much more effective, meaningful conversation with that person.

Little Bird tip: Check out the Discover Connections page on any report to compare who knows who else and who doesn’t.

See?  Identifying the top leaders in your field is just the first step.  Once you know some influential people, you can start being interesting and helpful with people that can really return the favor, tenfold.

  • RobinGood

    Great advice Marshall, this is really what one needs to do to get serious, long-lasting results.

    Look forward to see the new improvements and features in the next version of LittleBird. It is a bit out of my budget, but I can’t say it’s not a useful tool.

    Keep it up!

    • Marshall Kirkpatrick

      Thanks Robin! You’re right I think – I may have framed this wrong calling it 5 quick wins.

      Thanks for your encouragement on the forthcoming features! You know I’ve been a long-time admirer of your work (like, since the very very beginning of my career) so I’d sure love to see you using the tech we’re building to make a lot more money than you’d pay for it. ;)

  • Tom George

    Hey Marshall, in my experience generally people are very unimportant. It’s only their self importance you must contend with. I read the article because it was curated by Robin Good. I understand what you are saying here, and it’s a nice idea, if only it were that simple. This only scratches the surface of the bigger picture. You need to know so much more then just who the major players are and how to suck up to them.

    • Marshall Kirkpatrick

      Tom, thanks for your thoughtful reply. I must confess I’m not real sure what your argument is here, but if what you’re saying is that identifying the top experts is only the beginning and that there’s a lot more you need to do in order to connect meaningfully with them – then I would agree. Those other things, though, include the types of engagements that we make possible with our tools in Little Bird: things like reading their content, discussing matters of interest with them in an informed manner, etc. Does that speak to your concerns? If not, perhaps you’d be willing to clarify. Thanks again for stopping by!

    • John

      Relationships are often built on commonality. Being able to surface the commonality before the initial conversation means you can provide value from conversation one. Being a hub makes you valuable to almost anyone you come in contact with. Is it the ONLY thing that matters? No. Does it matter a whole lot? Yes.

  • Bill @

    Awesome article Marshall, this was exactly the off-ramp for me on my first trial of LittleBird. I recommend giving longer trials / a restricted free plan – I didn’t have time to get to know LittleBird this week as I was pretty busy (and I guess many of those interested in finding influencers are going to be busy startup bees).

    What got me to (finally) buy a mention subscription is that I became dependent on the service and when we scaled we needed more than the free plan could offer.

    Thanks for a great service and blog post – on my last day of Little Bird so I’ll make time to test out the other features sometime today.