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There’s lots of buzz on the Internet about finding and engaging with industry influencers. We see lists of influencers, are encouraged to connect with them, and even strive to become an influencer ourselves.

It’s often stressed online, that if you want your company blog to get noticed and talked about, you have to know influencers and get them to mention you and share your content.

Not only do you want to engage with them, but you must have something that makes it worth their while to engage with you. this means you have to bring something of value to the relationship.

Let’s answer some common questions first:

Who is a social media influencer?

This is an individual who has the ability to influence others online in Social Media. They are able to influence the thoughts of others by their knowledge and social reach, as seen in their large followings, quality content, and popularity in the world of Social Media.

How do I engage with an influencer?

This is the step that will take time and patience. It’s not easy to get noticed by an influencer and you don’t want to appear to be spamming, stalking, or manipulative. Once you have found the influencers that make a difference in your industry, start to follow them. When you read their content or tweets, take the opportunity to respond to what they wrote or questions they asked. But make sure you’re adding value, not just writing something for the sake of commenting. It will take time and work on your part to establish a relationship.

Quality is another key factor and is especially important if you want them to promote or advocate your brand. Once you have that relationship and trust built, you can ask for their participation. Remember, as in all relationships, it should be give and take. Work to make the benefit a two-way proposition.

Where do I find influencers?

There are several ways to find influencers in your industry. You can do an online search for lists of influencers, search with industry keywords on Twitter, join groups on LinkedIn and forums, and follow influencers’ blogs.

Forbes has two lists which they update each year: The Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers, 2013 and The Top 20 Women Social Media Influencers. has a list of the best Social Media Influencers around the world.

There are advantages for both individuals and businesses in connecting with influencers. As an individual, a successful connection can serve to grow and strengthen your own social reach and influence. As a business, you can reap the benefits of having an advocate who will promote your products or services.

Engaging with Social Media influencers can increase your reach and create advocates for your business.

What have you done to find influencers in your industry? Did you meet with success or find a method that was particularly useful?