You undoubtedly hear the term, “influencer” from different people in business. You have probably surmised that not only are influencers important for your business but you might have also concluded that being an influencer yourself is something that will help you to bring your business to the next level.
Why influencers are so critical to your business
Well, the truth is that there are many different reasons why influencers are important for you professionally. Influencers bring credibility (beyond the credibility that you have established yourself for your business) that only they can bring. With credibility comes trust and a position at the top of the food chain as subject matter expert. Okay, you are probably convinced that influencers are important for your business. However, now it is time for you to understand why you should also become an influencer and how you go about making that happen.
At this point, you are probably wondering exactly you go about becoming an influencer. Well, there are some definitive steps that you can follow to get there. However, it is important for you to realize at this juncture that it will not happen overnight. It will take some time and effort for you to become the influencer that you want to be.
- Embrace the concept of influencer: An influencer is a person who carries a great deal of credibility with him or her. That person has a very positive impact on the niche and, subsequently, your brand. Influencers also come with followers (an entourage, of sorts). Followers can come in various forms, such as people who consistently read blogs that the influencer has shared or people who interact regularly with that influencer. At the same time, influencers can come in various shapes and sizes. The one thing that all influencers have in common is that they all have the ability to influence other people. In other words, they are very powerful people and they should not be dismissed as anything short of that. Influencers have presence and their word carries weight. You can consider them authority figures. They are the gold standard on which you should base your business approach. The truth is that you are not the only person who recognizes the value of influencers. Other people understand and embrace their value as well.
- Concentrate on your niche: As you start to take steps to become an influencer, the first thing that you need to do is to determine exactly where you want your influence to live. That decision will be based on exactly where your passions lie. If you choose to be an influencer in an area that doesn’t really touch you deeply, you will not be able to pull it off. If you haven’t been able to convince yourself of your commitment and passion, exactly how do you expect other people to be convinced of your commitment and passion. It is really that simple. However, it is really important that you are closely associated with your niche so that other people can associate you with that niche as well. In fact, that is an important part of your branding. You want to steer clear of speaking about other things. You want to be associated with your niche only. Otherwise, your influencer status will be diluted and you will not be perceived an expert of anything.
- Give other people the benefit of your knowledge: The truth is that it is one thing to be knowledgeable (even to go so far as to be an expert in your niche) but it is another thing entirely (and much more of a gift) to be able to teach someone else what you know so that the other person can grow professionally because of it. Whether or not you can achieve that is a true test of your influencer status. In this context (with all of the online interactions that you have for your business), the best (and probably the only) way to do that is by sharing content (in whichever form(s) you choose to share. A good way to accomplish that is by posting blogs, videos, newsletters, etc.Another great way to share your knowledge is through online discussions that are relevant and compelling to other people. Remember to pay close attention to your social media profiles at all time. You don’t want them to be static. You want to update your status on the various social media profiles and keep people in your social circles close to you so that you can grow your relationships with them.
- Offer your opinion to other people: Everyone loves to know that their opinions and their feelings matter. As an infuencer, that is even more important for you and for your business. There is no such thing as a silent influencer. It is a contradiction in terms. The more you engage people, the more they will get to know who you are and what you know. Both of those are essential to your continued success. It is not as though you are going to be twisting anyone’s arm when it comes to getting them to engage with you. They will be willing participants, as long as the interactions interest them. You just have to make sure that it is always the case. As an influencer, you will be able to achieve that easily. Even if you are not an influencer yet but are on your way to becoming one, that approach will serve you well.
- Network until you drop: Networking has always been and will always be an important part of the business process. The two possible ways that you can network are in person and online. Of course, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. You can also network in both ways. Only you can determine which approach works best for your particular business. At the heart of networking success are the relationships themselves. The truth is that not everyone can (or will) take the time to attend networking events so you need to be flexible enough to make it work with the other person. If you network consistently with people, they will get to know you and the will start to trust you, find you credible, and you will be top of mind whenever they need what you happen to be offering.
- Recognize the importance of engagement: Engaging your target audience is so important for you. Without engagement, you will be stopped in your tracks. However, you have the power to prevent that from happening. With everything that you have to offer, whether you are an influencer already or you are on your way to becoming an influencer, other people will want to be around you and to bask in the glory of all that you have to offer.
Influencers are extremely important in the professional world and it will be well worth the time and effort that you have to put into it to become an influencer yourself. People will respect what you have to say and they will turn to you for the answers that they don’t feel they are qualified to come up with themselves. Make sure that you make your influencer interactions an integral part of your social media marketing strategy. It should be one of the building blocks of your business’ foundation. You will hold a position of esteem in your social communities and your business will benefit from all of your hard work. In a world where it is more challenging than ever to grab other people’s attention, your influencer status will attract those people and keep them with you.
Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies. Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. He also reduced company travel and travel costs by introducing and implementing various collaboration technologies.