How to inoffensively stalk on social media for business reasons

stalk on social media

Now before I begin, anybody who has landed here expecting to find out how to stalk on social media to torment their ex-partner, then click away now. This is not that kind of post.

I say this, because when I was doing research with this keyword, this was the main subject Google brought up. I thought this was terrible. The world has deteriorated so much there are now instructions how to be horrible to those who have dumped you!

However, I am talking about how to stalk on social media in a positive sense. How to woo someone of importance, such as an influencer, to help you. How to form a social relationship first rather than cold calling them out of the blue and then wondering why they reject you.

Most businesses make this rookie mistake

We live in a time-poor world full of real-time events, where everything has to happen yesterday. Most marketing departments can't be bothered to think in the long term, they want results now! So they buy in leads and write spray and pray emails or social media updates, in the hope that some of their shit will stick to someone's wall.

I wonder what marketing managers would think if the world was turned around. Would they respond favourably to a cold contact from a stranger addressed to them? Probably not. The first place it would go would be the delete folder.

What a waste of time and effort. Wouldn't it be better to write to a warm lead? Someone who already knew who you are and what you represented? A contact you had already engaged with on social media, rather than just collected as if they were a trophy?

Take a look at this infographic below. Twitter could be substituted by any social media platform:

How to inoffensively stalk on social media

And here's some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.

Choose who you are going to target

You may want a particular journalist to write a piece about your new brand. Or persuade an online editor to accept you as a guest blogger. Maybe convince an influencer your latest product is something they could mention to their audience.

And you've decided the best place to find these valuable people would be on social media. Of course, this is where everything's happening! So you go into the search bar on Twitter, for example, to find someone who's been recommended to you.

However, it's a good idea to do some extensive research first. Not only about the VIP, but about their audiences, how they match with your readers or followers, or whether they will have an affinity with your business or product.

Find out as much as possible about them

Looking at someone's social media account without them knowing is called 'creeping'. I confess this is something I do regularly, and I also know others do about me. LinkedIn even tells me (not helpfully) that X amount of people have visited my profile recently.

Putting that derogatory word aside, this is an important thing to do when you stalk on social media. It is necessary to acquaint yourself as much as possible about your intended victim (!). You need to be able to totally focus on what they do, what they've written, who they have conversations with, what their main topics are.

In Twitter there is the notification button which sends all their tweets to your phone. Activate this only for a short while, or you'll be driven mad, especially if they are prolific! But this is a great opportunity to analyse what they say, to whom and why. Also you can get a better idea of their style, their preferences and their personality.

Consider the best way to stalk on social media

The process of socially stalking online is not considered acceptable by most people. Therefore you need to have an extremely valid reason for doing so. I mean, would you like it if you realised someone was stalking you without your permission?

The idea is to learn how to stalk on social media without it being offensive, detectable and detrimental. This doesn't mean coming across as extremely ingratiating, smarmy and fawning, like many spammers are in their comments. Your demeanour, attitude and outlook should be neutral, ordinary and naturally friendly, maybe even slightly inquisitive?

There is an art in how to approach someone. Being over familiar is a turn-off, even frightening. Using their name certainly helps, but in the right context. Planting a question or statement on them which is irresistible, compelling or demands immediate attention is a much better way to break the ice.

Socially chat in a way that benefits them

When it comes to engaging with your target, the last thing you want to do is to go in with all guns blazing. Their reaction will probably be "Who the hell is this?" and you are most likely to be ignored (unless you amuse them, agree wholeheartedly with them, and offer something of value).

The best thing to do at first is to socially listen. Take your time to 'lurk and learn', sit in the shadows and watch (like a real stalker!) and assess the situation to fully understand what's going on before you make your approach.

When you do start talking with them, focus only on them. This means forgetting your reason for stalking them, this isn't important at the moment. What is crucial is to mention things which appeal to them, further the conversation they started, and chat about their ideas, desires, aspirations, topics, actions, latest remarks or whatever interests them.

Focus on getting them to know, like and trust you

All this social chatting does have a reason. It isn't just something pleasant to do (even though the idea is to make this so). This is all about forming a social media relationship with your chosen journalist, influencer, celebrity or whoever is important to you.

Talking about things totally unrelated to business (plus your reason for stalking them) is about making them feel comfortable with you. You are creating a friendship, much more than just a warm contact. You are learning about each other, getting to know, like and trust each other. Trust is a major factor here, along with empathy and understanding.

The word 'social' in social media is a clue which is often overlooked. There is nothing wrong with having a conversation about the most trivial of things, if you both enjoy it. Who knows where your mutual love of dogs could lead to?

Then you can make your approach

Once you have become best buddies online, now you can take action. You are in a much better position to fulfil your objectives, and present your true reason for stalking them. Because they really know you, your request will seem more like a favour rather than a proposition.

How long this will take will depend on both you and them. If you hit it off immediately, a few days of socialising may be all that's needed. But if your VIP needs more persuasion, be patient and consistently, but not overpoweringly, work on it. Considerate persistence will succeed in the end.

Make sure this all important conversation is held privately. You'll soon know if your efforts to stalk on social media will have been worth while. This may be a long-term strategy, but this will mean repeated calls for help are much more likely to be successful. You may even be referred or recommended to other suitable or relevant people who could help you further.

What method do you have to stalk on social media?

Do you already stalk VIPs online? What success have you had when you attempted to stalk on social media? Were your endeavours worth your while, or did you just end up with another good friend to socially chat with? There's always a silver lining to a cloud.

If you have any tips, tricks or leads to add to this post, please feel free to share these in the comments below. I'm sure I haven't mentioned everything here. We would love to hear about your experiences, or even what you think of this kind of social media marketing.

Alice Elliott
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