STORY

Christo­pher Mur­phy ex­plores the role that in­flu­encers can play in su­per­charg­ing your launch

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Christo­pher Mur­phy ex­plores the role that in­flu­encers can play be­fore you launch

In the sixth ar­ti­cle in my on­go­ing se­ries ex­plor­ing the de­sign of busi­ness, I’ll ex­plore the role that in­flu­encers – well-con­nected thought lead­ers – can play in shar­ing your story and en­sur­ing your launch goes smoothly.

With an au­di­ence es­tab­lished, the fi­nal piece of the jig­saw be­fore launch is to es­tab­lish a list of key in­flu­encers to con­tact to en­sure word-of-mouth mo­men­tum. By con­nect­ing with others who have a greater reach than you, you can su­per­charge your launch, en­sur­ing your un­veil­ing is suc­cess­ful.

With­out get­ting too lost in the­ory, an un­der­stand­ing of ‘dif­fu­sion of in­no­va­tions’ – or how ideas spread – is help­ful at this point. Everett Rogers, a com­mu­ni­ca­tion stud­ies pro­fes­sor, pop­u­larised the the­ory ex­plain­ing how, why and at what rate new ideas spread in his 1962 book, Dif­fu­sion Of In­no­va­tions.

It’s well worth fa­mil­iaris­ing your­self with Rogers’ ideas; they’ll im­prove your un­der­stand­ing of how mar­ket­ing works and how new ideas take hold. Rogers iden­ti­fies five cat­e­gories of in­di­vid­u­als: in­no­va­tors, early adopters, early ma­jor­ity, late ma­jor­ity and lag­gards. Think of the launch of any new prod­uct – the iPhone, for ex­am­ple – and you’ll see these in­di­vid­u­als in play: the in­no­va­tors drive up­take by the early adopters, and so on.

Your fo­cus, at this stage, is to con­nect with the in­no­va­tors and early adopters, who will raise aware­ness and drive up­take among the early and late ma­jor­ity. You can for­get the lag­gards, though, they’re never shift­ing. Forg­ing con­nec­tions with key opin­ion-for­m­ers will help con­nect your fledg­ling brand with a big­ger au­di­ence.

Six De­grees of Sep­a­ra­tion

The trick is find­ing the right peo­ple to con­nect with. You need to use your six de­grees of sep­a­ra­tion to es­tab­lish a list of key in­flu­encers who can help you share your story when you launch.

Good news! The op­por­tu­ni­ties to con­nect with in­no­va­tors and early adopters has never been eas­ier. Tools like Twit­ter – free to use and in­cred­i­bly pow­er­ful – en­able you to es­tab­lish and nur­ture re­la­tion­ships with key in­flu­encers in ways that would have been in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult be­fore. In the here and now, ev­ery­one is con­nected.

Be­fore you launch, iden­tify the ap­pro­pri­ate in­di­vid­u­als to ap­proach. Ask your­self: who has reach? Who has in­flu­ence? Who might be in­ter­ested in your story? This is all about fo­cused re­search. What­ever your niche, there will be key in­di­vid­u­als that you need to con­nect with.

Cre­ate a short­list of mag­a­zines and web­sites that are rel­e­vant to your new prod­uct or ser­vice and iden­tify the key in­flu­encers – edi­tors or writ­ers, for ex­am­ple – to con­nect with. With your list in hand, spend some time cul­ti­vat­ing re­la­tion­ships.

This isn’t about car­pet-bomb­ing in­flu­encers with generic emails – a tac­tic that never works, be­cause it’s ob­vi­ously im­per­sonal. Rather it’s about es­tab­lish­ing re­la­tion­ships based on shared in­ter­ests.

Be hu­man and share your story with others. You might not win ev­ery­one over, but those that you do will act as cham­pi­ons for your brand when you, af­ter all the hard work you’ve put in, launch your new busi­ness to the world.

Get con­nected Twit­ter is an ideal tool for nur­tur­ing re­la­tion­ships with in­flu­encers

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