Are you an influencer?
Regardless of if you’re on the battlefield or in the boardroom, if you’re on social media you need to have an influence led end-game.
Don’t mistake influence with spin – they are two distinctly different strategies, and to influence you don’t have to spin at all. What you do need to have is a concerted strategy and the ability to play the social media long game to build trust, your online social proof and your audience. To achieve that, cultivating influence occurs via strategic engagement and careful brand or individual framing is required.
Here are my top 7 tips for growing your online influence:
- Be social. Social media isn’t a broadcast channel it’s an engagement platform. That means if you’re present (or even arguably absent) you need to be social – interact with your social entourage, seek out new engagement opportunities and share good content.
- Share your knowledge. Freely sharing your knowledge and expertise will be a relatively new concept to anyone over the age of 40. Forget about the turf wars and empire building office politics of the past – they have not currency in today’s information cycle. If you want to build audience trust and credibility, you need to share – willingly, freely and without agenda.
- Be authentic. Everyone is unique – it’s what makes the world the amazing place it is! Don’t leave your personality at the door when you jump online – it’s what will differentiate you from the ‘brand’ – remember people don’t do business with brands, they do business with people. Be the articulate voice behind the online face and interact with people as if you were simply carrying on a conversation naturally.
- Be helpful. Successful social media influencers know that the key to building an online empire is to make yourself an indispensable source of information, entertainment and advice. This is where points 1-3 come into alignment in a tactical sense. Solve people’s problems – be forthcoming with recommendations and advice.
- Be engaging. If you think that your ‘audience’ expects a certain persona or engagement style from you – throw that rule book out the window. The only person placing those limitations on your online presence is you (or your boss) – you can’t be actively and influential on social media without a personality. That’s not social – it’s broadcast media using social as a news outlet. How do you be engaging? Cover points 1-4 and add a few (clean) laughs, some behind the scenes photos and perhaps a video or two of you riffing on your area of influence. It doesn’t matter if your production quality isn’t high – it’s the authentic production of organic content that people love because it’s relatable and it communicates in a non-text based way that has much broader reach.
- Tell your story. There are so many ways you can tell your story. You can blog it, you can photograph it, video it, podcast it … find the medium that works for you and set a regular posting cycle. Not only will this give you great content to share, but it will also build your confidence and humanise you online. Remember, people can read short-form blogs anywhere on the go, they can listen to a podcast in the gym, on the train or even at work; or scroll through your pictures on a break – but they need to give their full and undivided attention to video.
- Be generous with your social media manners. How do you feel when someone sends you a thank you note? It makes you feel pretty special doesn’t it! Think of social media tweets, posts or comments as modern day thank you notes. Everyone loves receiving them and if you can include a personal touch to your message, you’re sure to have put a smile on someone’s face.
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