Influence is the ability to have an impact on other people’s thinking and decisions. The more influence someone has, the higher appeal that person has on their customers and audience. Whether you’re a business owner, a YouTuber, a podcaster, etc; building an influence plays a pivotal part in your growth strategy.
I have a deep interest in learning the ins and outs of internet marketing. In my research, social media has proven to be the most suitable place to build an influence. I will dive into my learnings and show you how you can get the most out of social media.
Tip #1 — Use Your Personal Account
When you think of the most highly followed accounts on social media, who do you think of? Do you think Amazon, Apple, or Mcdonalds, some of the biggest brands in the world? Or do you think of a person?
On Instagram, Christiano Ronaldo and Ariana Grande have the highest following. On Twitter, it’s Barack Obama, Justin Bieber, and Katty Perry. The pattern continues on other social media platforms. The highest followed accounts on any of the social media are people.
Social media was designed to give people a gateway to connect and interact with one another. And then, at some point, companies saw the opportunity and decided to get involved. But the premise hasn’t changed; people still use social media accounts to interact with other people.
Let’s think about Kylie Jenner, who has a billion-dollar cosmetic line. The reason people bought from her is because she built up her audience on her personal accounts. Kylie built a connection and trust with her audience, and then when she started a business, her audience joined her.
So what can we learn from Kylie? We can learn that the most important accounts to grow your influence are your personal accounts.
TK Coleman has a personal account and an account to promote his project called the Revolution Of 1 (podcast, youtube channel, and much more to help people revolutionize their lives). These accounts were created simultaneously, but TK’s personal page has over 10k more followers.
People trust, follow, and buy from people, so the best way to grow your influence is through personal accounts.
Tip #2 Be real
Be who you are, not who you wish you were. In a world where putting up a front and faking things is as easy as it’s ever been, be honest.
If you’re early in the process and don’t have expertise in a particular area, do not pontificate and act as you do.
When you’re on social media, you don’t have to be the teacher; it’s okay just to be a part of the community and contribute what you’re learning to the audience.
I have seen many people early in their careers or who have their own business use phrases like “my intuition says” or “my key takeaway was, instead of acting as an expert. It makes their content more relatable and real.
Being fully authentic seems to be the ultimate strategy. Here is an example of Lewis Howes expressing his truest self on Instagram. He doesn’t hold anything back because he knows that what he shares can be very relatable to his audience. Lewis Howes has one of the most successful self-help podcasts on the market and has built his audience through his social media platforms.
Tip #3 Don’t sell, Provide value
In my research, people follow accounts for a few reasons.
To be entertained, be educated, or be inspired, or because they like the way someone looks.
And they don’t want to be sold to; they want all of this for free. The best influencers with the highest follower engagement barely sell at all, they provide upfront value. They know that they are playing the long game. Once they build up trust with their audience, their audience naturally starts buying from them, listening to their podcast, or watching their videos.
Tip #4 Be Consistent
I have noticed that it’s not always the best content that gains the most influence. Sometimes it’s just about pospting consistently. The platform’s goal is to keep you on their platform for as long as possible, so the more you post and use their platform, the more they will share your content. Also, the more you post, the more your following will start to look out for your content, and the better connection you will make.
“Yes, but creating content every day is hard; how do I do that?”
Some examples I have seen:
- They figure out a way to build a structure to their content so they don’t have to come up with original content all the time.
- Motivation Monday. They pick a motivational quote and talk about it.
- Q+A Fridays. People ask the questions, and they answer them.
- Bring someone on weekly to interview them, put it on a live stream, and then cut that content up into micro-content. Microcontent is the process of taking small clips from the interview and posting them as pieces of content.
- Document. They document almost all aspects of their journey. They show the process to everything they are doing, even if it’s not related to their business or podcast.
- Facilitate & distribute content. They repost and share their thoughts on content the find interesting they find interesting.
Tip #5 Interact
One of the greatest marketers of his generation, Gary Vaynerchuck, is a huge proponent of the importance of building a real relationship with his audience.
The overarching theme that I have come across in my research is to worry less about the number of followers and worry more about the quality of followers. The likes, comments, and shares are what the goal should be, not the number of followers one has.
You need followers who will care about what you’re doing and will tell their friends about it.
But how do you get people actually to care about what you’re doing?
- Reply to all of your audience’s comments and DMS.
- Follow and interact with your audiences’ content.
Build a connection and form relationships with your followers because people buy from people they trust.
Tip #6 Go to Where Your Audience Already Is
My research has indicated that any demographic you can think of has migrated to an area of some platform. The best influencers are the ones that know where to find their target audience.
Examples you can try:
- Find other influencers that are producing similar content and go in and interact with people in their comments. Join the conversation, kind of like joining the discussion at a cocktail party, and add valuable insight.
- Search hashtags that are relatable to what you promote or sell.
- Join Facebook Groups and LinkedIn Groups that converse about similar content you’re promoting. If you become a valuable member of the community, followers will come.
- Use hashtags. People follow hashtags, so they will see your posts more often.
The hashtag or the Facebook group did all the prospecting for you, now you just have to provide value, make connections, and let them decide if what you offer will be valuable to them.
Tip #7 Context is King
As the great Gary Vaynerchuk likes to say, the mindset a 30-year-old professional is in when he is on LinkedIn is different from the mindset he is in when he is on Instagram.
The best content creators know their audience and their mindset is different on all the different platforms. For instance, LinkedIn has a much older and more professional demographic. Understanding subtle differences and repurposing content based on those differences has yielded great success for many influencers.
Here is a great article that breaks down the different demographics on each of the different platforms. Check it out. I also encourage you to do your research and test different types of content to see what works for your content.
Tip #8 Hook Them
The best influencers I have seen always clip the best part of their videos and put that clip at the beginning.
You have a minimal amount of time to grab someone’s attention when scrolling through your posts. So the first three seconds of a video or the first thing someone reads is critical.
This works well because it grabs the viewer’s attention and makes them want to watch the entire video.
If it’s not a video, make sure the first line someone reads is compelling. Just like a video, the best phrase should be placed at the beginning of the post.
Two Bonus Tips For Building Your Companies Influence
All of the tips that I have gone over are valuable when growing your company’s brand, but here are a few additional tips that I found work really well for some of the best brands.
Tip #9 Act human
The best brands treat their brand as if it was a person with a personality. People don’t buy from logos; they buy from people, so they try to be as human as possible. Slack does an excellent job at doing this. In the images below, you can see how slack isn’t trying to be professional; they try to have a genuine interaction with a customer. And because of this intelligent approach, they have amassed a following of over 450 thousand followers on Twitter.
Tip #10 Have Others Grow Your Brand For You
The best brands are on everyone else’s social media accounts. They create their own influence by having others grow their brand for them. They do affiliate programs, sponsor people to consistently talk about their brand, and encourage employees to be outspoken about their brand on social media. The more people talking about their brand, the bigger it grows.
A good example is 1st Phorm, they have created their own influencers to talk about their products continually.
That’s a Wrap
Social media has proven to be the easiest way to influence people’s thinking and decisions. If I how to build an influence in a few words, I would say “be human.” Listen, interact, be consistent, and join groups. These are the fundamental ways to develop and reinforce deeper, more meaningful relationships to build influence.