All marketing is about inviting or creating change of some sort of change. Therefore from a business perspective influence is key.
Advertisers have traditionally spent hundreds of billions of dollars in ad revenue, trying to change what people believe in the hope of getting them to switch or to act differently.
However, while in the past loyalty was bought and exposure paid for, things have changed. Thanks to our digital connectedness, those with big budgets no longer control the purse strings. There are other factors at play.
Think back to the last time you made a purchase. In your decision-making, did you consider recommendations from those in your world whose opinions you valued? You’re not alone.
This buying behaviour has lead to a marketing trend that’s growing and yielding brands brand big success when activated correctly – it’s called Influence Marketing.
Influencer Marketing is seeking out the people who have the love and loyalty of your prospects and working with them to influence that audience. Ideally they would do it for free, but the reality is you pay to play.
While assigning influence to celebrities and sports stars isn’t new, it’s recognising that now the masses have it too, that is.
Sure, you’re not Kylie Jenner. And you don’t need to be.
In fact you don’t have to be outgoing, well connected or have a large social media following (although it helps!). To have influence power you just need the love and loyalty of a tribe.
Why would YOU want to have influence? Well having influence can be a form of currency. Let me explain…
The obvious one is that businesses will pay you to endorse their business. Secondly, and what’s probably more relevant to you, is that people of influence also have increased value and can charge more for their services.
It occurred to me recently that I’m one myself. This shows up in my life in the following ways:
Opportunities – invitations to speak, invites to events and requests to be interviewed on podcasts.
Savings – discounted holidays, travel and business services, plus free movie tickets and music.
Stuff – I have cool stuff sent to me all the time to try out.
Money – affiliates payments, sponsorships from brands, sponsorship on my blog.
Brand authority – premium brand positioning.
So yeah, it’s worth amping up YOUR influence. The question is how?
Here are 7 little known things you can do to become an influencer:
1. Build trust
This first one is obvious. In order to have love and loyalty from people, first you must have their trust. Here’s an example of that in action.
My student’s are often new business owners and in a place where they need a variety of business services. I end up referring a lot of services.
From the consumer’s perspective (in this example, my students), will only do what they believe is best for them. My students trust me and therefore make purchase decisions based on my recommendations.
In order to build trust – be authentic, deliver quality and value and provide reciprocal loyalty.
However there’s another element that’s crucial to building trust and that is…
2. Be consistent
Influence like trust takes time to develop. You can’t show up one day and expect to get it overnight. It’s going to take time.
You need to emotionally invest in your customers/tribe over time for them to care about you.
In the book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, Gary Vaynerchuk’s explains how you have to constantly give value to others before asking them to buy your products and services.
Longevity and history goes a long way. To become and influencer it’s going to take time. You gotta be in it for the long haul.
3. Create buzz
It’s good to be talked about and to create a bit of buzz. You want your name to be bandied about because people talk about you when you have influence.
Word of mouth is important for marketing your own brand too. Customers are your marketers.
When I started my business word of mouth played a significant factor in getting my business of the ground. I always thought it was interesting that even though my audience was global, often my clients ended up being local and in the same suburb!
Not just that, there are influencers in your client base and when those people say good things about you, things begin to really compound.
Creating buzz comes from a combination of the 5 points outlined in this post.
To be considered an influencer people need to see you as a resource. A way to do that is to share high-value influencer content with your audience.
Consider your audience and share content that they’ll find useful. Post original articles, plus posts from other trusted sources.
If you really want to rock this strategy, there are two other growth hacks you can do:
A) Create a life-changing piece of content
Seth Godin tell us to be remarkable. If what you create is not exceptional, no one is going to care, and no one is going to share.
A life-changing piece of content is a piece of content that strikes a chord. It’s generally a long, over 1,000 words. It will take you time, research and effort to write but is thoroughly worth it.
These are the types of posts that get shared and go viral. (Learn more about using a content marketing funnel in my program 6FF.)
B) Contribute to well trafficked publications
One of the best ways to gain influencer status is to contribute your unique content (for free) to other blogs and publications.
Guest posting increases your visibility, bolsters your credibility and can increase traffic to your own blog.
Another place to consider getting published and grow your thought leadership is on, is Medium. Medium is a new-ish platform come publisher that allows people to self publish their best ideas and stories. Here’s an article on how to use medium. Worth checking out.
4. Associate with Influencers
Earlier I mentioned that you didn’t need to be well connected to be an influencer. But I also said that it helps!
While you don’t need to be well connected, being associated with an influencer can boost your own influence.
Even interviewing another influencer can boost your own influencer power.
(Grab the recording of my Q&A with Marie Forleo here.)
5. Facebook ads
One of my students asked an interesting question at the beginning of a program once. She asked, “I was wondering why when I do Facebook marketing, even if I don’t get conversions, people seem to reach out to me and I end up selling out my programs”.
This isn’t surprising. Facebook ads can help boost your visibility and in turn your authority. They just do – especially if you’re in launch mode which generally means there’s a lot of ads about you and what you offer in a concentrated period of time.
6. Get a solid shop front
Building influencer is also about looking the part.
Make no mistake, for many people perception is reality. (I guess this is a good thing because you really can be anyone and anything you want to be online.)
I like to think of a shop front as what your brand looks like to those looking in.
For example this blog, copingwithjane is my shopfront. It does not generate an income for me per say, however it has opened some serious doors for me.
Your shop front might not be your website, it might be something else. It might be your Facebook group, physical shop, book or something else. The point is that it’s some kind of physical representation what people would see if they looked at your business and it needs to be good.
So there you have it, shortcuts to become an influencer in your niche (that you’ve probably never thought of)
These days, being believed is worth far more than being noticed. I believe that having influence is a combination of trust, value and looking the part.
Having influence can be lucrative. When you become an influencer you’ll earn more money, have more fun and attract more opportunities and ultimately have more impact. It’s something I hope you’ll think about building.