It’s easy to start building a following on social media, all you need to do is create accounts on several different channels and start sharing content, but a social media following doesn’t mean everyone is listening to what you have to say. Even though your content is making its way through lots of different newsfeeds, and your follower count is growing, it doesn’t necessarily mean people are reading your content. It’s time to stop worrying about having the largest following on social media and time to focus on developing your influence.
You won’t be able to gain any influence over your audience if you aren’t voicing your opinion on your area of expertise. By creating content you are able to show your depth of knowledge and show your audience that you are a true expert. It is important to link your content back to relevant articles or studies produced but other influencers or brands where relevant, to show you have done your research around a topic, giving your audience a reason to follow you.
When creating content it can be hard to think of new ideas to write about. One way around this is to ask other influencers to collaborate and work with you. By doing this you will have the opportunity to release new content, bolstered by a potentially well-respected individual within your industry. Working with other key influencers offers exposure to a new audience who may have never come across your work otherwise, giving you a chance to get your name out there more, and boost your credibility. Collaborating also allows you to learn directly from other thought leaders and industry experts, further developing your knowledge. It is extremely important to ensure you are offering something different or adding a new dimension to a discussion, not just repeating what has already been said.
While creating content is crucial, it is important to make sure you don’t fall into the trap of content for content’s sake. If you want your audience to listen to you, then you must first do them the courtesy of listening to them. Your followers will be far more likely to engage with your content if they feel you are doing the same, so spend time reading through the content they are producing. Not only will this encourage your followers to engage with you, but you’re also exposed to another point of view on a topic, further benefitting your future content.
Being an industry influencer isn’t just about creating content and joining in with conversations. Every so often you have to be the one leading the conversation. Your followers are far more likely to remember who you are if you’re sparking conversations and raising a unique opinion on a topic. Starting conversations and debates on social media, or producing content on rarely covered or controversial topics in an attempt to strike up a debate, is a great way to further increase your influence.
One of the best ways to get your followers to trust you is to get to know them, and that means making sure they can put a face to your name. Just as any corporate brand would, you need to show your audience that you’re human. You can do this offline by attending industry events or conferences, and networking with your peers and other industry experts. Putting yourself about online works in the same way, and helps your audience get to know and trust you. Again, entering into conversations around trend topics, and voicing your opinion in debates will help improve your online presence.
Being an influencer across various social media channels involves much more than just having a large following. The key is to make sure that the people are following you have a genuine interest in what you have to say. Having 1,000 followers interested in what you’re talking about is far more beneficial than having 100,000 followers who don’t even read your content.
Also published on Medium.