Stand Out: How to Research Influencers and Companies to Build Connections and Your Career
Being a small business owner or a job seeker requires some light digital stalking. You’ll need to research influencers–potential employers, partners, competitors, popular brands– that cover your topic.
For job seekers, before you start your job search, it’s good to know the companies you’d like to work for. It’s about connecting with insiders to access the hidden jobs.
For business owners, it’s about connecting with influencers to hopefully form partnerships, whether that’s business or promotional.
In general, it’s all about networking– connecting with the right people and building relationships.
How do you find and network with influential brands in your industry?
Search for [brand topic/industry] companies. This method works differently for certain topics. Career companies will show blog posts about the best places to work whereas design companies bring up Google Maps of the companies near you. Both are useful. You’ll have a starting point.
Do an Industry Search
Once you have one company, see what industry they’re in. One way is to look at their website and social media pages and see how the business describes themselves. Visit your library. They’ll have databases like Hoover with industry information about companies. Once you know the industry, then you can go back to Google and search for influencers in that industry.
Go to Twitter and search for a brand topic like career. Click People and you’ll see all the accounts that talk about career. You can also do a People search for “#career.” The results will be similar. Do the same thing for other networks like Facebook and Instagram. Check all accounts. Influencers are the ones with thousands of followers and high engagement. Follow them and interact with their content. Don’t just like a post. Leave a comment. You want to show that you care about their content.
Do a google search for “Popular [brand topic] blogs. In our case, it would be popular career blogs. Let’s say you’re a designer looking for a cover design job. Research popular designer or cover design blogs. Doing this research achieves two things. You’ll find more brands to follow. You’ll also find content to share on social media. One way to get a brand’s attention and show you know what you’re talking about is to post industry content.
Spend Time on LinkedIn
Since LinkedIn is a whole different animal, it deserves its own section.
“Speak with contacts in your professional network who can share their insights and experiences working for the company. The knowledge you gather will help you speak in an informed and enthusiastic way about the opening. Find out more about the company’s key players. Look them up on LinkedIn, and see if you have any connections in common. It’s all part of networking — an indispensable but often overlooked company research and job interview preparation tool.”
Be active in Groups. It’s a good way to drive views to your profile and connect with insiders. Search for your topic such a photography and select Companies. You’ll get a list of businesses.
This site organizes popular brand posts and influential brands by topic. Some content is behind a paywall but you still get some useful data. Use their Influencer search to find brands to connect with.
Search for Topics on YouTube
Many brands are using YouTube to reach their audience. They’re often posting useful videos on their channels, getting thousands of views. Certain topics do better on Youtube than others. You’ll find career channels but they probably haven’t been updated for a year or so. Things like photography and writing are big topics on YouTube. Search for brands on YouTube that are talking about your topic. Comment on their videos, ask questions, visit their website.
These videos also give you interesting content to share on social media to establish your brand and show potential companies and influencers your worth.
Setup Google Alerts
By this point in your search, you have a list of terms industry professional use. Set up Google Alerts for these terms to 1) keep up with news in your industry and 2) find more companies you might be interested in.
In addition, once you have some company/brand names, set up Google Alerts for them as well to keep up with any news. If they win an award, consider going on social media and congratulating them. For job seekers, adding a news item during your interview shows the company how passionate you are about them.
Follow these tips and and eventually, you could become the influencer.