What to do with your online influence

online influenceAre you influential on the Internet and the Social Web or any other field influenced by this connected economy? Tip 1: all fields have been affected. Tip 2: we’re all influential to some extent or other. However, what do you do with this influence? Anything at all? Have you ever thought about doing something that benefits not only you but helps those who probably provide you with such influence?

To save you some time racking your brain, here are some tried and tested ideas that may help you return some of that influence to those who created it and deserve it –your audience, community, fans, followers, supporters, you name it. Clue: Lady Gaga, Calvin Harris, Avicii, Brtiney Spears, Ashton Kutcher, Pete Cashmore, Robert Downey Jr. or Sergio Ramos aren’t really considered to be part of your community.

Things you can do with your influence

So, here are some ideas that will help you know what to do with your influence so that you can contribute to helping the people who make you influential.

  • What about dedicating a section in your personal or professional blog to talk about the people around you who’re doing a great job? This can be local businesses, your own team members, stories from people you don’t know but who inspire you, stories that may also help your community and readers. You could do this on a set day of the week (Fridays for instance?) or every other week.  You can give it a special name to identify this series of posts.
  • Create a local event making the most of your reach, influence and network so that people with great ideas and best practices can take part, people who may not have 10,000 followers on Twitter or a fan page on Facebook. They may not even have a blog, so no one needs to freak out and start running. You may encourage them more than anyone else and, more importantly, make them known to people in your network who would benefit from meeting them. There are several options: seminars, round-table conferences, workshops or even online events.
  • Prepare a monthly video recommendation about the person who has contributed, helped, impacted, encouraged or influenced you and your people the most. This doesn’t necessarily mean the person who has done the most for you. Sometimes, someone will simply arrive and do something that no one else has done for us. It could be the polite way someone greets you or treats you at a restaurant or hotel, or a good morning smile when you’re going to breakfast or a sincere apology that was truly unnecessary.
  • Make the most of your YouTube channel to interview young entrepreneurs who know what they want. Let the businesspeople in your neighbourhood/town/city tell the story of how they started a business that is now the leader in online sales, ahead of their competition.
  • Talks and meetings with young people who’re off to university or university students who’re about to finish their studies. These two groups are often lost in this system. Your influence may become a beacon to them.
  • Share interesting businesses in your area or neighbourhood in your Twitter or LinkedIn accounts. I’m not talking about multinationals, but rather local businesses.
  • Use Foursquare or Yelp to leave tips or reviews about these businesses and share them with your community so that people know about them. Checking-in and sharing on Twitter will also help. Tip: it doesn’t take an invitation on their behalf for you to recommend them or post a picture on Instagram. You may offer before getting anything from them; it’s a great way of helping.
  • You can use a hashtag on Instagram to upload pictures of places, people or businesses you love and that you believe others should know about and visit.
  • Go all-out and gather stories, experiences, thoughts and practices from ordinary extraordinary people who wish to inspire and equip other people through such personal and professional narratives.
  • #FF people who’ve helped you in your work during the week or more anonymous people who’ve made you change the way you interact significantly, or simply people who’ve had a special consideration towards you, someone from your team or professionals who’re doing their job well. I’d love to see more #FF for “ordinary/extraordinary” people and not so many rock stars!
  • When you want to help by sharing, don’t just RT or ‘share’; this requires a special gesture. Explain why you’re sharing, offer a personal reason why others should pay attention to it. This is the fun part, you can’t do this truthfully if you don’t read or pay attention to what you share. This is what leaves many “influencers” out of the game.
  • Use LinkedIn to recommend those service providers, workers, employees or entrepreneurs with whom you’ve had a satisfactory professional transaction or interaction.
  • Create an eBook about the people who help you in your day, month and year; publish it as a blog, on Twitter or other places. And please, keep it free of charge; getting to know these people should be a right, not a privilege.

Self-absorbed or change?

One more thing before we finish: there’s a good number of ideas to make the most of your influence to favour others in a positive way.

So, as you can see, there are myriad ways to do it. What we’re sometimes lacking is intention and purpose in using influence as a way to funnel change and not as a resource for personal gain, becoming increasingly self-absorbed. Being that kind of influencer is clearly overrated.

I’d love you to share with us any ideas that come to mind to make the most of online influence, helping to make a difference in other people. Thank you.

Photo credit: Stuart Foster.

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