Even if relatively young, the term ‘social media influence’ has transformed into one of the main marketing concepts defining internet users’ ability to affect people’s opinion in a variety of social communities.
In social networking terms, influence is measured by the popularity of the product/idea being shared in the community, starting with LinkedIn connections and ending up with Twitter followers. Connections, nevertheless, take the time to make and depend on the confidence established between the influencer and his connections.
The first and most important rule is to nurture followers, mostly by sharing matters you’ve genuinely specialized in. As people in your niche will already be familiar with you, you won’t need a special strategy or a social media professional to extend your influence.
Even in such cases, you must remain dedicated and focused on the effects you want to achieve, instead of using social networks to skim trends, and spy on competitors.
Once you’ve made yourself publicly accessible in a social community, every single move you make may turn out to be the foundation of your considerable influence, and successful marketing campaign. For the purpose, you will have to use every single tool you have available.
1. Start from scratch
Another thing you must understand is that you can’t become a social influencer overnight. Instead, look at it as you look at a growing plant: the plant needs care, constant fertilizing and watering, and so do social accounts. We collected some of the most successful practices to help you become more influential on social media, applicable both for businesses and individuals.
Before applying any of them, make sure you’ve prepared the ground for a high-quality strategy: learn as much as you can about the preferred niche and make experiments to depict the pros and cons of your plan. Make sure you’ve developed unique ideas instead of remodeling others’ opinions, as being a copycat is the worst thing you can do to help your influencer status.
Next, understand how social media works. The thing that is really specific about social networks is a constant flux of updated information, algorithm modifications, trendy features, and many other facets you must follow in order to adjust to any social media alteration.
Remain focused on your goal, namely to become the authority of the channel you manage or the industry you work at. Follow what is happening in your niche, ideally on all relevant platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest). With a good understanding of how social influence works, you won’t even have to design a special strategy for gaining positive points. (For example, you might want to have a look at how to optimize a Facebook fan page).
Don’t forget to follow related information coming from other outlets; in particular stats, studies, and opinions published by people you believe are trustworthy. Obviously, you’re not expected to follow each post where a relevant topic is mentioned, but a smart course of action would be to activate alerts that would remind you to check news whenever something important is published.
2. Interact with your followers
If you want your audience to like you and to respect what you’re doing, don’t simply add them and wait for the miracle to happen. Instead, work on retention, and engage them so that they would have a reason to stay. Make sure you know who your target visitors are, start random conversations, and make sure they will recommend you to other users as well.
For the purpose, pay most attention to those you believe could be interested in your offer, as for instance industry peers you are aware of. At the same time, start a blog where people can comment on your post, and give them the chance to access you whenever they want to share their opinions (find blogging inspiration here!).
3. Organize events and entertaining contests, and post fresh content
Luckily, communication is a nature-incented process, or empathy if you prefer so. They will be interested in participating in your activities, be those good or bad, and the least you can do to make that happen is to encourage their intervention.
Create events you believe may be interesting for them, encourage them to comment, and make sure they know how much you love what you’re doing.
4. Build connections with hashtags
Hashtags are almost as powerful as keywords when it comes to reaching social audiences, so make sure you’ve used them to your advantage. Instead of looking on related sites as your competitors, try to curate their posts, and relate to them by sharing their content.
Be careful what you post, and how often you post it – too many posts can easily overwhelm your users, especially when you have nothing that fresh and creative to say.
5. Measure your social media influence
How would you distinguish good social media activities without a decent picture of their performance? The best way to gain such insights is to use social media measurement tools, including websites such as Kred and Klout. Both sites are intuitive and user-friendly (instructions are available on their sites), and will give you a pretty accurate idea of the practices that need to be fostered or excluded.
6. Track other influencers
Get to know your competitors, and appreciate their work. Sounds counterintuitive, but praising other people’s work may end up being useful for you. What is best, it only takes to mention the name of a high influencer, or compliment his posts, and some of the sheens will ‘rub off your shoulder’. On Twitter, this can be done by putting @ in front of their name, while Facebook and Google+ use both @ and +.
7. Preserve important relationships
As much as you want it, you’re not the only one working in your niche, and there are many influential people that you need to cooperate with. Build connections and make sure they last, even if simply sharing other influencers’ content. There are many tools such as Ahrefs Content Explorer which can help you depict the ‘hot topics’ in your niche, and reveal who is already working on them.
8. Go offline and consider other channels
It’s true – social media is the most powerful mean of communication nowadays, but it is not the only one. You should consider alternative channels such as Google Hangout chats, podcasts, YouTube explanatory videos, and other channels that will help you enlarge your audience.
At the same time, make sure you’re in line with the latest news and popular trends, and that you’ve implemented every relevant change your users expect from you. If that’s not the case yet, turn to WordPress’s free-of-charge services, and create your professional blog.
Attach a calendar and schedule posts at least few times per week, so that readers would know you’re active, and foremost interested in the topics you write about.
Unique and well-written content is the key to success, but you should also consider partnering with other writers, interviewing them, and promoting their content on your site. Remember that LinkedIn also has a content creating platform, where you can post larger stories, and optimize them with keywords on spot. Once you’re absolutely sure your content is worth of attention, move towards social media influencing.
9. Choose a memorable avatar
Avatar is, in fact, the small graphic attached to your account, which people easily remember and recognize. In most cases, it is a minimized version of your logo or an image with brand-associated color which manages to tell your story using as little real estate as possible.
Therefore, pick something that will create a great impression even among users who don’t know who you are and what you are doing.
Finally, keep in mind that users are captivated by headlines way more than by the content itself, so keep yours short, concise, and compelling.