Free social media publishing and the natural orientation to search online for content has allowed anyone to have a voice. Those that are passionate, personable and practise what they preach become legitimate sources of influence on the web that we all love talking about.
The purpose of building social influence is to increase and expand personal brand awareness beyond what’s possible by physical word of mouth. Referrals and endorsements have always been the strongest source of new clients, because we naturally believe it is more credible to have someone share their recommendation, over hearing the person directly speak about how good they are.
For example: A business companion says “You should really book in a training class with Lee, it’s hands on and she really knows her stuff”, is far more likely to convert into a booking than a boosted post communicating “Book a training class with me, it’s hands on and I really know my stuff”. That’s just too eye-rolling, and does quite the opposite to building trust and authority where communication should be the focus, not advertising.
Building a social media and digital presence, in order to share your thoughts and ideas, means it attracts a following of more than just those you have directly been in contact with. For those that have personality and integrate this approach with other forms of marketing to reinforce their position, such as; writing, speaking and PR, have the potential to create a very strong influence. Sir Richard Branson, Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey all used their industry presence, their position, to create social influence with a purpose the public could connect with.
So how do you start the ripples that evolve into having such social influence?
In a nutshell it takes:
- patience at learning new skills,
- practise to master,
- purpose in what you are known for,
- passion to keep fuelling it and
- praise within your circle
Now let me expand on these points to building your social media influence further:
Learning anything new takes time. But I can’t stress how important it is to take the time to:
- Identify which social media platforms are best suited to you in building your position of influence.
- Monitor others. Look up your public heroes, mentors and competitors to see what they are doing and saying. Pay attention to what activity gets the most engagement.
- Skill yourself on how to use a few features so you leverage from the time you spend in social media smartly.
By taking the time to do these three things you will avoid:
- unknowingly poor social etiquette that could potentially damage your reputation before you even build one,
- come up with a daily content plan to keep you engaging and interesting, and
- build your following much more quickly because you are being unique.
With practise comes the formation of habits. Soon enough you start to naturally identify opportunities within your daily regime that could be shared on social media. Spending time regularly in social media, means you start to develop new skills, refine your content and expand further on developing trusting relationships. These all lead to a wider public awareness of your social presence.
Know what you want people to know you for. Unless you have a clear understanding, of the topic you plan to become an influence on, it won’t be clear to people. You’ll become the ‘social guy’ to follow if all you do is share funny youtube videos because they get attention.
Identify who you need to be associated with. Connecting with other influencers and like minded people, and then sharing their thoughts, will generally be reciprocated. Not all will, but it does help identify who truly has, or who is building influence, that you could start expanding your online network with. Basically, what goes around comes around. So share good content from others, comment on great topics of discussions, and create ‘shareable’ content yourself.
Having content shared is also the beginning of building natural credibility, because it is somebody else socially endorsing you to their following. That social activity exposes you to a much wider audience than your own. This is why it is important to take the time to observe and identify who is spending time building networking by sharing content and not just posting their own all the time.
At first, people consistently share content on social media, and for whatever reason, many start to lose momentum. In some cases they abort using social media altogether. This obviously undoes all the hard work already done to gain social influence. Instead it gives the impression that they don’t care, have nothing of interest to share or say, or worst still – shut shop and not in business anymore.
To maintain social influence you must be driven daily by having influence. It is the need to impart your own knowledge and thoughts based on what you read that fuels you to keep doing it daily. This doesn’t mean you can’t have people help you manage your social presence as your influence becomes greater, I’d be out of a job, and my agency wouldn’t exist, if that was the case! The key is to have a support team that has the same level of passion about what they do as much as you do about being an influence.
I get an enormous amount of self satisfaction and reward watching the successive progressive of my clients and their companies because we are helping them, from behind the scenes, impart their thoughts as a social influence.
This passion to enlighten, educate and help others is what created the desire to position myself as a social influence in the first place. So learn to be a passionate voice, not just passionate about your topic.
Being humbly comfortable with being praised and recognised is also important. To be a social influence you need to be trusted and loved by your following. They become just as passionate about you as the topics you write on. So treat them nice, listen to them, – give them time and respond to them. And most of all praise them back if they ever share their proud moments with you. Without praise you have no voice in others and therefore no real influence.
Building social media influence is not for everyone and it certainly is not the only way to build a strong brand presence digitally. But when executed properly the power of the people’s word is all that is needed to market your business. All you need to do is stay focused on what you are passionate about, and nurture your social relationships, that will have them talking about you in front of their friends, family and colleagues all at once.