How do you become powerful on the Internet -- a world that rebels against rules, leaders and hierarchy? Seems impossible! And yet people are certainly becoming influential on the web every day.
- What’s your Klout score?
- How many Twitter followers do you have?
- Your article was shared how many times on LinkedIn?
These are questions that business leaders didn’t consider 10 years ago. The business landscape has changed and a new wave of social influencers is emerging on the Internet. Part of being an effective influencer is embracing the new avenues of influence.
Here’s some reasons your should be increasing your online influence:
1. Online Influence is Cost Effective
An influential user on social media is much more important for a brand than a paid ad, providing that the brand truly realizes how influencer marketing works and how to yield and enjoy its benefits. In today’s market, people are distrustful of paid marketing to a large degree. The public is somewhat jaded in terms of seeing anything that is a direct ad in terms of a money grab. You can change this by allowing people to trust you as you establish an online presence that is honest, compelling, and beneficial to the end-user.
Action: Consider which online channels your audience uses—do some soft research and ask them. Share your wisdom through a blog on your website. As you do so, establish your personal social channels through a blog, and push this content through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Quara, or whatever channel your research reveals is populated by those who can benefit from your wisdom.
2. Amplify Your Authority Through Existing Influencers
If you are an authority on a given subject matter and due diligence and identified the appropriate existing influencers, then these influencers will be able to help you attract more followers (and customers), who will share the same kind of interest for your product, service or cause. Online influencers tend to be looked to for opinions. Those they quote and endorse quickly see their influence expand.
You can benefit from this as you seek to increase your online influence. Having a recognized influencer promote you and your ideas amplifies your influence and increases your perceived authority. I recently had a friend who wrote an article on how businesses can use Cyberdust, a new social media app, that was picked up republished and tweeted by Shark Tank member and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. His phone started ringing off the hook with people wanting help with their Cyberdust and paid social marketing efforts all because he was able to use Cuban’s existing influence to gain credibility and influence others to convince others to take an action he wanted them to take.
Action: Begin to research the key online influencers in your field. Make a list of them and those online influencers so you quoted often. Note what content they are creating and where your authority might intersect their audience. Interact with them online with replies, comments, feedback and answers. As your body of wisdom and knowledge is perceived, they will in turn amplify your content and influence as they realize, “This person has good insight on a topic about which I also care.” Soon they will be touting you as an authority, as well.
3. Don’t confuse Audience With Influence
We tend to confuse audience with influence. Having a lot of Twitter followers or a “large” blog readership doesn’t inherently make a person influential in any way. It gives them an audience. True influence drives action, not just awareness. Many celebrities have huge audiences of curious fans, but they possess little actual influence. Ideally you want to have a large audience with vast influence. Initially strive to be truly influential to a select few and let your online audience grow with those who truly buy in to doing what you suggest.
Others have influence but only in certain arenas. Here is a case in point. A while back, Chris Brogan, a well-known business advice blogger did a video review of a leather jacket sent to him by Wilson. The folks at Wilson were surely ecstatic. They were receiving positive coverage on one of the largest business blogs in America, all by sending one jacket.
But did anyone buy a jacket as a result? Not really Chris’ review was positive, but Chris is not known as a jacket guy, fashion blogger, or a frequent reviewer of consumer products. The post generated 128 tweets and 17 comments (about 250% less than Chris gets on an average post). Chris has a large audience and they implicitly trust his advice on business but not necessarily fashion.
Action: As you seek to influence others online, have very specific call to actions so you can measure the degree of your digital influence. Use trackable click thru links and metric enabled actions to get a true measure of response. If a large percentage of people take the prescribed action, you will know your online influence is expanding in that arena. This can include donating to a cause, promoting the download of a service, or ultimately selling a product or service that you know truly benefits the end-user.
4. Deepen your Influence as Much as You Widen It
The truly influential know that a handful of the truly committed outperform a large crowd of the semi-committed. Rather than try to be all things to all people on multiple subjects online, specialize in one or two subject silos where you already possess strong real world influence. Be willing to go deeper than anyone else currently is online and you’ll build a core of online followers that become true advocates on your behalf.
My focus is influence. My entire professional life has been given towards helping others grow their influence, Rather than attempting to establish an online presence about financing a start-up, parenting lessons, etc. I talk about influence and have developed tools to help others measure and grow their influence. I can address these subjects and stay on point by speaking to how increased influence helps you better finance a startup or parent. Yes, running my own business and having been a parent, I do know more much about those topics, but I focus on what I do best—teaching influence—in my online offerings. I strive to go deeper into the study of influence than has been done before.
Action: Reflect on what topics and subjects others seek your advice and then act upon that advice? This is typically where you should begin to grow your online influence. Do people approach you and ask you about inter-personal conflict management in the office? Start there. Do you get asked how you generate sales leads? Begin there. It is much easier to expand your online influence where you already exhibit being an influencer in the real world.
You CAN do it!
By focusing on the recommended actions you CAN begin to take the real world influence you possess and grow it into online influence, as well. It will take time, effort and energy, but in today’s marketplace, having online influence is crucial to your success. Become a continual learner from some of the most influential online personas and you’ll begin to see greater movement in accomplishing that which you desire to happen, be it business product growth, personal or charitable cause advocacy, or the enlistment of services you provide.