Connect with Industry Leaders in your niche

How to Connect with Industry Leaders in Your Niche (Hint: Start with Instagram)

Whether you look up to, honor and/or try to emulate the industry leaders in your niche, it wouldn’t hurt to connect with a few of them, right?

Facebook organic reach is down… The Twitter stream moves too fast… But Instagram?

Ah, Instagram is like no other social media network. It’s a close-knit community, the perfect place to really connect with those you know best and those most supportive of your business.

And Instagram is the best place to connect with industry leaders. Remember, I’ve stated before that I believe every entrepreneur needs to be on Instagram.

Engagement is higher on Instagram. It feels more real. And those big shots? The industry experts you look up to and want to one day join? They’re simply more attainable on Instagram.

garyvee follows Rob Russo, Bold Brand FastGary Vaynerchuk Just Followed Me on Instagram (Here’s How It Happened)

Take Gary Vaynerchuk, for example, who recently followed me on Instagram. I commented on one of his photos. He commenting back… You know, engaging with me. (Hat tip to my buddy, Ryan Bilello for giving me a shoutout on one of Gary’s Instagram photos that led to Gary following me.)

Here’s how it happened.

  1. Ryan Bilello @mentioned me and gave my kudos on one of Gary’s Instagram photos.
  2. I said a humble thanks in the comments to Ryan, with an @mention to both Ryan and Gary.
  3. Gary followed me!
  4. I commented on another @garyvee photo a couple of days later.
  5. Gary commented back and said I was awesome. (He even took the time to immediately followup when he noticed autocorrect had a way with his original comment.)

Here’s a closer look at why @garyvee may have followed me.

First of all, someone else (a friend, client) — in this case one of my big supporters, Ryan — had lovely things to say about me. I didn’t go in and spam Gary’s comments with all that I could offer and try to share my expertise.

I didn’t have to say one thing, actually, because Ryan did it for me (completely unsolicited). Talking about yourself is overrated. It’s best when others rave about you instead.

Second, I immediately got the notification that Ryan mentioned me so I promptly commented, too. I thanked Ryan for the kind words and continued the conversation. Again, not selling myself or pitching anything.

Gary followed me! Full transparency: I don’t know if he took a quick look at my profile or if Ryan’s comment alone worked, but the stars aligned.

Next, I commented and liked some of Gary’s other photos. Again, the goal was to engage, add value, continue the conversation.

ProTip: I included an emoji (or two or three) in every comment. Something bright or bold that stands out. This is a tip I picked up from Anthony of Crush Social (follow @crushsocial on Instagram now and tell him I sent you). I know my comments with emojis stood out in all the chatter that refreshed fast.

Use (at least) 1 EMOJI in every comment to STAND OUT.Click To Tweet

All this to say, connecting with industry influencers is, in my opinion, best done on Instagram. I think you have to work a lot harder to create a sincere connection on any other social channel.

Remember, the outcome won’t always happen immediately. I was pleasantly surprised when Gary quickly followed me. But sometimes it’s a process.

Identify your top 5-10 influencers and begin to engage with them often. But not too often. You’ll have to find the balance between never remembered and stalker. (Don’t be a stalker.) Just keep it consistent over time.

The key, like always, is to add value and build that know, like and trust factor.

Your Turn: What tips do you have on how to connect with industry leaders?

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