For some, becoming well known online is a happy accident – take viral cat videos for instance! However, for the majority of individuals it takes a lot more work. Generally, becoming an online influencer requires a level of patience and trust that can only be earned and acquired over a significant period of time, especially if you are working on behalf of a brand.
So, what qualities make up an influential brand or individual?
Here are a few suggestions on how you can gain more influence online:
In order for people to gain influence online they have to keep their audience engaged and active. This can be done through storytelling, whether it is via social profiles or video sharing platforms like YouTube.
In order to create a powerful persona online it is important that digital influencers develop their own voice and have their own thoughts and opinions. Creating a narrative around something memorable makes things more emotional and relevant. You can gain influence online by appearing relatable, by letting people see into your life, but not too much.
Storytelling makes people feel, not just think. This can be a really powerful tool for brands as it allows them to not only show what they do but why it matters, allowing fans to see their vision. This offers an escape from reality, pulls the consumer in, and grows the online influence of that individual or brand.
People want to be entertained and inspired by what they see online. Therefore storytelling can wake up the creativity of an individual. The greatest conversationalists are the best listeners too- see what resonates with your online audience the most, and do more of it.
Another key technique for becoming an online influencer is to work on your authenticity as a brand.
One way of doing this is by giving your audience ‘special insights’ into your company. For instance you could provide an in depth behind the scenes look at what your company is developing or what you, as an individual, are working on at the moment.
It is also important to humanise your brand online. You could do so by highlighting specific people in the organisation and talking about them, this helps to put a face to the name of your company and shows your audience something that they can easily relate to.
Another tip for humanising your brand is to try and solve your audience’s problems through your content. You can do this by involving them from the start in the creation of content, ask them what they want to see/do/experience online. For instance if you are an ecommerce company, try and second guess how your products would be used naturally in your audience’s lives, rather than how you want them to be used.
Ethics are critical for credibility. You should be transparent about things online: without ethics there is no trust, without trust there is no influence.
It is also important to recognise that we are all flawed. You should apologise for any mistakes you may make online and always put the customer, your employees and any potential clients or customers first. This will help to assert your position and influence online by showing that you are a thoughtful and ethical individual or company.
Lastly, a quick response time is essential for good company ethics in the digital age. The internet has made everything a lot more urgent and spontaneous and customers can now come to you directly with minimal effort. Brands should use this to their advantage, demonstrate the merits of your company by ensuring a quick response to any online queries you may receive.
Perhaps the most obvious but often overlooked way to gain influence online is to work closely with your audience. It is important to develop a mutually beneficial partnership. Firstly identify the specific needs of your consumer; are they looking to be inspired? to buy? to learn? Next, align your business goals with what you are sharing online to ensure that your customers needs are met.
It is also important to connect with other influencers and establish proper relationships with them. One example of this could be brands connecting with content creators such as YouTubers to grow their online influence. Just remember that partnerships should be about more than money, access to information can sometimes be more valuable. Spend time building the relationship first to make sure it is not only transactional.
Find partners that align with your story. People who understand the way and the why of your business, not just the what.
To conclude, there are no hard and fast rules for gaining influence online and it isn’t going to happen overnight (unless you take an unfortunate trip and end up in one of those ‘epic fail’ compilation videos). However, follow our handy tips and they will help you to improve your overall online presence and your influence will follow…
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