Brenda Peterson
Brenda Peterson
How to Build a Successful Social Media Outreach Strategy
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Social media outreach is a relatively new concept. In the past, marketers used to rely on strategies which were quite far from being targeted. The logic was very simple: create a product and try to get in front of as many eyes as possible by means of TV advertisements, billboards, newspaper ads, etc. The more people are aware of your product, the more chances you get to sell it. In this sense, those marketing tactics took quantitative approach instead of qualitative. What is more, to be able to promote your brand, you inevitably had to pay for the exposure.

Indeed, these marketing strategies are still widely practised worldwide, but the focus has drastically shifted toward the more effective and targeted online solutions. Content marketing and social media marketing are steadily replacing good old ads as they allow brands to reach their audience more efficiently. Furthermore, according to the recent research, social media marketing turned out to be way cheaper than any other form of advertising available today. It can arguably expose your brand to over 1,000 people for less than $3!

Despite their cost-effectiveness, social media and content marketing strategies require a lot more investments of time and efforts as they imply extensive work related to content creation and relationship-building. The latter will be our primary focus in this post as it is exactly what social media outreach is.

What is Social Media Outreach?

Around 42% of the global population (3.196 billion people) are active social media users. With the numbers like that, it’s not surprising that social media marketing is gaining momentum quite rapidly, becoming one of the paramount concerns for 93% of marketers around the globe.

Social media outreach is the cornerstone of any SMM campaign. If you want more people to see your message in social media, you need an extensive network of connections that would share your content with more people and raise awareness about your brand.

This is exactly what social media outreach is: building the relationships with right people on social networks (influencers, publishers, etc.) and making use of the connections you’ve made to give your social media content more exposure.

Thus, the success of your social media marketing efforts depends on the two main factors: the value of your content and the number of contacts you can leverage to share it. But how to make more connections and convince people to promote your content?
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How to do social media outreach?

Successful social media outreach strategies consist of several subsequent steps. Creating good content is not enough to make the power of social media work for you. People won’t just come because you posted something.

That’s why it is so important to take care of your outreach strategy in advance, find people who can help you promote your brand, and steadily earn their trust; so when the right time comes, you can ask them for a favor. And if your content catches the right wave, you can expect people to share it willingly. However, the required level of credibility doesn’t come overnight, you will have to work hard to earn it.

You can always hire a professional community outreach manager who will take care about everything for you, but if want to save money and deal with it on your own, the following tips will surely come in handy.

  1. Get your outreach plan in order

Start your outreach campaign with due preparations. Consider answering the following questions before you launch into action:

  • What do you want to achieve and how?
    Your further social media outreach tactics will be determined by your objectives. Think whether you just want to promote a specific piece of content and get your message out, drive more traffic to your blog, or increase the awareness about your brand in general.
    Read more about social media goals you might want to achieve here.
    Depending on your goals, you can decide what kind of content will be the most suitable for your audience (articles, infographics, videos, etc.).
  • What social platforms are the most popular among your target audience and potential partners?
    It is very important to figure out which social networks you should focus on at the outset. Otherwise, your efforts will be too scattered to bring any tangible results, and a lot of time will be lost in vain. For example, if you promote professional marketing courses or blog, it will be wise to concentrate on LinkedIn instead of, say, Instagram.
    Research your audience, study their interests and demographics to set your priorities up front.
    Also, find out which social media monitoring tools can help you engage the right audience by checking out our previous post.
  • What habits do your potential audience and partners have on social media?
    Knowing when your potential prospects are active, what content they tend to share more frequently, which social groups they prefer to enter, and other related aspects of their behavior on social networks will allow you to approach your audience more effectively.
    It is also a good idea to research the most common keywords and hashtags used by your prospects to search for information.
  1. Make your social profiles appealing

Every time you will send people invitations or catch their attention with your posts, they will check your profile to know who you are, what you do, and whether it is worth following you. That’s why it is so important to make an impeccable first impression:

  • Add a professional photo or logo;
  • Write a complete bio;
  • Explain what you do briefly yet descriptively;
  • Mention that you are open for networking and cooperation;
  • Add a link to your website or blog;
  • Don’t be afraid to show a bit of your personality to make your profile look more friendly and inviting.
  1. Build your contact list

hand with iphone

Make sure you’re contacting the right people and don’t waste your time trying to get in touch with just everyone:

  • Search for people who work in the same industry as yours; study their profiles thoroughly: if descriptions of their jobs or interests match your niche or topic, send them a friendly invitation and add to your connections list.
  • Try to reach influencers: it is usually not easy to get these people involved with your business, but it is definitely worth trying; influencers are established authorities in their niches and have access to huge networks of contacts you might be interested in to promote your content.
    For more info on influencer marketing, please follow the link.
  • Become a member of social groups relevant to your topic; there you will find many people who might want to take a closer look at your content and even share it. Groups are perfect for making yourself known and starting long-lasting relationships.

You can either search for the right contacts manually or use dedicated software like Buzzsumo, Buzzstream, Sprout Social, etc.

  1. Start engaging before you ask for anything

Social media outreach is a long lasting process of building trustful relationships and you can’t approach it simply as a means of content distribution. Showing up in front of a person and immediately asking for something is just rude, both in real life and on social networks, so the best way to achieve your goals is nurturing the relationships before you can finally ask for a favor.

To get on people’s radar and earn their trust, stay in sight and be responsive. You can engage them by sending invitations and private messages where you introduce yourself and offer partnership, keeping the polite and friendly tone. Emphasise the benefits of the cooperation and try not to come off as needy. To break the ice, offer your help first, share their content on your page, make a retweet, etc.

And don’t forget to be active, leave insightful comments, reply the comments, and answer questions. This will help you to gain credibility and grow your reputation in order to make your social media outreach more productive at the end of the day.

  1. Ask to share your content when the right time comes

As soon as you feel that the contact with your prospect is established and asking for a favor doesn’t seem awkward anymore, you can afford yourself a little bit of pitching.

You can send a private message to the person asking to get acquainted with your latest article, for instance, and share it with others. No need to be overly obtrusive even if you have already provided any assistance on your part. Try not to get frustrated over occasional rejections and don’t rush to burn the bridges. You might be rejected for the first time, but the connection you maintain can pan out later on – you never know.

social media keybord

Keep your requests private. Asking for something in public is not ethical and puts you at risk of losing face if rejected.

While asking for help, be diplomatic but don’t beat around the bush. Get to the point as soon as you can and specify how your offer can be of value for the person you’re engaging. Try to present it as a collaborative effort rather than your personal plea.

Yet it is worth keeping in mind that bombarding your prospects with requests isn’t a good strategy. Ask them to help only when you feel it is worth taking the opportunity. Spamming should be avoided at all costs.

  1. Maintain your connections all the time

Social media outreach is all about accumulating and preserving contacts that can help your business grow. It isn’t wise to treat your connections as means of accomplishing short-term goals.

Keep in touch with people you’ve worked with and don’t miss good opportunities to help them out on your own part. Being attentive and nice to people usually pays off.


Social media outreach takes time and labor but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Nowadays, most companies use social media to market their products and services, and if you want to survive the competition and reach out to a broader audience, you have to do the same, and do it effectively.

Whether you want to promote your goods or spread the word about your Ning network, social media outreach should be one of your primary concerns, and hopefully, the tips suggested above will help you succeed.

Brenda Peterson

Brenda is Technical Specialist at Ning