SO YOU WANT TO BE AN INFLUENCER?

We have all heard of the term Influencer, but do we understand it? More interestingly many people want to know how to become an Influencer?

The bottom line is influencers are trusted sources in their respective fields that can add clout to a marketing campaign, sales push and various other reputation building activities. If you were looking for a great deal on a mortgage for example, and you heard Martin Lewis (Money Saving Expert) bigging up a potential lender, you might be drawn to find out more. And in that case rightly so. Martin in a known financial Influencer. Remember there is a difference between taking advice from an industry expert and listening to an unrelated celebrity sell the merits of a shampoo they never actually use because they are being paid significant amounts of money.

So how do you increase your chances of being an Influencer in your market?

It involves work on your part! Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that is how it goes. If you want to be recognised as an expert in your industry, you need to earn your place. Here are some ways you can start to improve your knowledge and begin to demonstrate what you can do.

Read and learn

Every day you should be learning about your industry. You need to be aware of your industry trends. How else are you able to know what is going on? Things change, methods of working change and the way in which people market and sell in your industry changes – be at the cutting edge of that by reading. Being in social media and marketing, I tend to use the following pages to see what is going on:

  • Google News
  • Flipboard
  • Klout
  • BuzzFeed
  • Wired

These are just a few before anyone shouts that I have missed some and my personal favourites. There are many sources in all industries. I also have several magazine subscriptions, Entrepreneur being one of the best for me.

Learn From the Best

Who are the important influencers in your industry? You can learn a lot from them. I have enormous respect for Neil Patel for example, and I follow his work. Be open to the fact that you probably do no know as much as you thought you did. Even if you feel that you know as much or more than others already at the top – you still have to get there. Arrogance will work against you.

Get Involved

Find the best group on Facebook and LinkedIn and start participating. Quora is an excellent place to demonstrate your knowledge. You do not get paid for these things, but it is well worth the effort to become known as an expert. Answer questions, ask questions and start debates. Remember you are still a small fish! Do not be surprised if an influencer with more clout tries to put you in your place. Do not be one of those people. The only time you should look down on someone is when you are offering them a hand up.

Guest Blogger

In much the same way as getting involved, Guest blogging is another great way to get your name out there. You will need to apply, but there are always sites up for welcoming guest bloggers. Guess what? It is another freebie – but honestly, you must leave the money focus at the door. Why would you want to guest blog? Well, if you can correctly identify the big blogs in your industry, you are putting yourself in front of an audience much larger than your own.

Smile!

Finally, a tip that works in all walks of life. Smile, be a friendly and approachable person. Influencers might be experts that people look up to and are influenced by, but they are still just people. Rudeness and egos need to be left at the door. You will get a lot further if you are amiable and approachable. It is ok to be nice to people – most of them don’t bite!

So there you have it. Becoming an influencer is a slow process, and many fall by the wayside before they get there because they frankly cannot be bothered. The choice is yours. I for one will keep going, so if you see me around say ‘Hi’, I don’t bite either!

Anna Everett is a responsive social media marketing expert, author and self-confessed Geek Girl.

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