In today’s social media online world, it’s all about who you are, who you talk to, how you say it, and where you are seen. In other words, much of the world today is about influence. While it’s important to know how to talk to social media influencers, it’s even better if you are one. How would you go about starting to accomplish such a daunting and important task? Here are some basic (but vital) steps to get you there.
Becoming a Social Media Influencer
Arguably, it’s much more powerful to be the influencer than to get the attention of an influencer, but it goes both ways. The more of a social media influencer you become, the more you’ll be connected to other important industry people and experts that can help strengthen your brand, your reputation, and your financial success.
In his Mashable article “25 tips to help you become an online influencer,” John Rampton helps break it down into bite-sized tips, generalized below in this round up.
Produce insightful industry content: If you are going to be an expert influencer, you need to bring the information to the table. Instead of rehashing the same few topics, you’ll need to hit the books and the online community to make sure you have the latest and greatest information and analysis into all avenues of your industry.
Know your audience: If you aren’t sure what your people want, open your eyes. Check out your social media comments, reader emails, and other discussions to pinpoint what they need from you. Then give it to them.
Avoid company and product focus: You aren’t selling your company when you are an influencer. Nearly 80-90% of your content should be industry-related content your audience will benefit from, not a continuous sales pitch that people will opt out of.
Be true: Simply, be honest. If you aren’t honest, people will spot it a million miles away and it will be extremely hard to explain your personality change if you need to backtrack on something publically.
Cultivate a quality audience: It’s not always about your follower number. Instead, look to the bigger picture. Do your followers engage with your posts? Do they share them? Do they support you and your new ventures? Those are the things that matter most.
Express yourself: While it’s never fun to express an unpopular opinion, your audience looks to you for your reactions and thoughts on specific topics. Speak up in a clear and well-spoken way.
Listen up: In order to be an influencer, you need to have your pulse on the conversations happening in your space, whether it’s about your industry or your company or about your demographic. Rely on tools like Social Mention to keep your eyes and ears sharp in the social media arena.
Network online: It’s not just about you. Being an influencer is also about building connections and supporting other people’s work through active commentary and participation, as well as link sharing.
And, offline, too: While so much networking happens online, it’s also important to seek out in-person events like conferences and meet ups that can really solidify important industry connections. And, come to these events prepared to share relevant and useful information to better stand out.
Become a guest writer: If there is a top resource in your community that you and your audience relies on, try to get accepted for a published contribution piece. It’s a powerful way to reach new people and further establish yourself as an expert.
Practice: Consider this. In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell says you need 10,000 hours of practice to achieve profound success in any area. Keep that in mind when you feel like you’ve already put in enough time!
Become a news reporter: Your audience relies on you to know industry-specific news right when it happens, so be sure to subscribe to all the right news alerts and blogs so you can be first on the scene.
Understand your niche: The smaller your niche is, the greater the chances for you to stand out and become an influencer. Find the sweet spot.
Read: Become a true scholar in your space and read every relevant thing you can get your hands on. Knowledge and perspective is a powerful thing.
Optimize your content: If you want to grow your influence, aim to rank well for industry-related keywords you want to be associated with.
Make connections with fellow influencers: Since reputation and image are big components when you are an influencer, ensure your network is at the same caliber.
Consider value before monetizing: Before you start putting dollars and cents on your influence, prove your worth first. Start with solid content that people need and seek out before you start promoting your brand or products.
Have a promotional plan: Once you have the content, you need to get it out there. Think about how your content should be distributed and put the action and measurable goal posts in place.
Promote other content: Again, you are never going to be the sole curator of good content, so embrace the act of sharing insights from others! If you love a resource that you didn’t create, chances are that your audience will too!
Write a book: Or write an eBook. Whether you publish a paper book or an online book, they are both excellent ways to prove your expertise in a big way.
Define your alerts: Set up Google Alerts for all the things you need and should know first! That way you can get to your people before anyone else.
Offer webinars and seminars: If you can, hold free live events with your people, please embrace it. It’s also a good way to build up your email and networking lists.
Distribute surveys: If you have a question on your mind, find the answers. Reach out to your people on a regular basis with some important questions. Analyze the results and put out your own original data. Since no one else will have access to this information, your insights can be incredibly useful and shareable.
Empower other people: It’s not always about solving people’s problems or talking about what you know best. Instead, find ways to inspire your readers to find their own path for knowledge and success.
And, Don’t Forget How to Talk to Other Influencers
Whether or not you are an influencer, you still need to bear in mind some general etiquette rules when talking to an established influencer. First, make sure you find the right ones for your brand and industry. Then, follow them in a present and visible way, leaving smart and relevant comments to their work. Finally, if you are ready to ask an influencer to work with you, you need to clearly define why. What’s in it for them? What’s the benefit to them to work with you or publically endorse you? If you have that, pitch your proposal in a helpful and confident way that is not overbearing, including metrics to continue to measure how this relationship is working.
Got any tips that you think should be added to this list? Let’s continue with #26 here!
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