Talent Acquisition

How to Engage with Thought Leaders on Social

Recently I was asked: “How do you engage with social influencers or thought leaders and actually spark conversation and engagement?”

Well, as a Recruiter I often use social media to engage with candidates and clients.

So, to no surprise I often use social media to engage with influencers via Facebook, Twitter LinkedIn or Instagram.


Well, let’s first start with…

What is a social media thought leader?

Anyone who you feel has succeeded at building an audience and credibility within your industry on various social media platforms.

Why connect with social media thought leaders?

A common reason as to why I reach out – partly curiosity. Usually a thought leader’s curiosity creates more opportunities for themselves and their organization – most influencers then share that curiosity with their followers.

Influencers also often talk about about the value of doing what they love.

So, when it comes to reaching out to thought leaders, this couldn’t ring more true to what I’m interested in learning about too – doing what I love – sourcing & recruiting!

How to connect with social media thought leaders?

Creating new connections is important – when reaching [especially for the first time] – if you do nothing but plug your own stuff [i.e. I need advice on OR tell me how you implemented that], influencers will instantly be turned off and un-fan/unfollow or ignore you.

Think about it like this, in most cases, you can’t get to know someone in a few days. While there are a few exceptions to this, most relationships take time to develop, thus engagement can take some time as well.

So, if efforts to engage fall short – don’t sweat it!

Many of us [including influencers] are deprived of time.

Here are some tips on how to engage with social media thought leaders

1) Find your influencer

Determine the people who are influential to you and your industry.

Tip 1 : I follow influencers that actively post valuable information, resources, tips and have also taken part in speaking events and/or conferences.

Tip 2: I usually plug myself into Facebook groups and discussions – easy to start an engaging conversation with influencers.

At the same time you can also engage with influencers on social media by sharing an article and providing an opinion or thought on something they have recently posted.

2) Share, Like & Repeat

We now know the foundation to building an effective influencer relationship starts with engagement – just pick the appropriate channel that meshes with your brand, image, role or purpose.

Tip: This includes sharing tweets and/or blog posts. Keep in mind influencers may write articles on various websites -it’s important to mention their handle and/or name when sharing content.

3) What to write?

The most important tip above any other is to make sure that if you do decide to reach out directly to your choice of influencer – take time to read about their work and their latest posts on social media – demonstrate a common interest.

Note: every person I reach out to – I reach out to a bit differently – there is no step-by-step manual on this; however, here a few tips I can provide to help with the initial conversation.

Ensure when writing your message – make the outreach genuine AND don’t forget to introduce who you are (if they don’t know you).

Here is an example of a social influencer I reached out to one month ago:

“Hi _____, My name is Angela – I’m a Recruiter [specializing in Technology] with Recruiting Social. I had to drop you a quick note here after reading your Facebook post on your challenges and successes throughout your career in IT recruitment. It’s nice to see someone who is at your level discuss the obstacles but also the fun perks in working in the IT industry. I appreciate the tips you provided on how to manage time! Hopefully we will be able to cross paths soon!”

The influencer’s response:

“Hey Angela – I appreciate your message. I wouldn’t have the opportunities I do without the obstacles I’ve faced. Glad you found the tips helpful! Let me know if I can be of any help in your recruitment journey as well!”

One thing that is definite, online networks will continue to help us connect in more effective ways, collaborating with and inspiring each other.

4) Connect with intent.

Many would assume that the first place you’d connect with influencers would be on LinkedIn – true – BUT even though LinkedIn is a professional social network make sure you put some context into why you’d like to connect.

Tip: avoid the “looking to expand my professional network” message.

5) If all goes well?

If you catch your intended influencer’s attention, great!

Just remember – recommendation = appreciation.

One of the most amazing ways to support your influencer for their time, advice and mentorship, is to provide a recommendation – whether that be in the form of a letter, email or a recommendation on LinkedIn.

You’ll discover what techniques work best for you, these are merely tips and examples to use in your social-savvy approach with influencers.

By Angela Bortolussi

Angela Bortolussi is Recruiting Manager [Specializing in Technology I Product] for the Vancouver and Los Angeles Recruiting Social’s office.