return on infuence

In the “real world,” a person might have power and influence through their position on an organizational chart or through some elected position.  But on the Internet, we HATE rules. We HATE structure. And we sure don’t need any org  chart.

And yet, people do become influential on the Internet don’t they?  I’ve written quite a bit about the special opportunity we all have to create influence through our content.  But beyond content, I was interested to know what people thought it took to gain influence on the social web.  So I asked a few of my friends …

What do you think it takes to become powerful on Facebook?

I think you’ll enjoy their answers:

return on influenceBe Useful

JAY BAER, President, Convince & Convert: “Be a Youtility. Facebook forces companies and people to compete for attention pixel-by-pixel. That’s unprecedented. You can have all the cute cats and cool photos you want, but ultimately usefulness and relevancy are the keys to success.”

RANDY GAGE, Author, Risky Is the New Safe: “Influence comes from value – creating a FB community that brings value to the people who participate there.”

IAN CLEARY, CEO, RazorSocial: “Creating influence on Facebook involves identifying your niche and building a personal and meaningful relationship with existing influencers, helping them grow their influence and not expecting anything in return.”

JASON FALLS, CEO, Social Media Explorer: “Be consistently useful. Isn’t that the key to influence anywhere?”

return on influenceBe Visual

C. C. CHAPMANAuthor, Amazing Things Will Happen: “Share visual items that instantly create an emotional response from the viewer so that they feel compelled to like, comment or share immediately.”

KERRY GORGONE, Course Director, Internet Marketing at Full Sail University: “Include a photo with every post or, better yet, several. One study indicated that posts with multiple photos increased engagement 1290%!”

BERNADETTE JIWA, of Striking Truths: “I think one of the things that’s overlooked about FB is that you don’t have to have a huge presence there yourself to drive ‘traffic’ back to your blog. We create outstanding visual images that people like to share on Facebook, driving traffic back to our own website.”

return on influenceBe Generous

LIZ STRAUSS, Founder and Owner, SOBCon, Successful-Blog.com: “Help other people be visible and valued. When you find something great and valuable, don’t just “like” what you see. Tell the people who made it why you like it and pass it on. Share great work and help the people who created it grow. Do that often and with pleasure. You’ll attract generous, powerful people who value great work.”

BILLY MITCHELL, President, MLT Creative: “If anyone you’d like to do business with takes a second to like you (and your business) on Facebook, don’t blow it.  Annoy your new friends with hype and you’re history.”

DJ WALDOW, Founder and CEO, Waldow Social: “In order to create power and influence, it’s imperative to speak like a human, to be helpful, and to share knowledge with others.”

MARGIE CLAYMAN, Director, Client Development, Clayman Advertising, Inc.: “Instead of worrying about creating content, prioritize sharing and commenting on the content others create.”

JENNIFER KANE, Principal, Kane Consulting: “Proactively and strategically build your network, and then lavish those people with attention and empathy so that each one feels like the star of their online life — which seems to naturally compel people to want to make you the star of yours, in return.”

return on influenceBe Real

SHELLY KRAMER, Founder and CEO, V3 Integrated Marketing: “Just. Be. Human. And to me, being human means being a trusted resource, as well as being interesting, funny, compassionate, interested in others, supportive, informative, helpful, appreciative, etc. You get my drift. And this is where so many people go wrong. They try to do something different online than they do in person. But the brands, large and small, who are successfully using Facebook to connect with their customers are doing just this. They are being human.”

SHONALI BURKE, Vice President, Digital Media and Marketing, MSL Washington, D.C.: “If you know who you’re talking to, you’ll know how likely they are to respond when you ask them for/to do something. So get to know your audience; if it worked for Edward Bernays, it’ll work for you.”

STEVE FARNSWORTH, of The @Steveology Blog: “Have a distinct, candid, and thoughtful opinion/point of view, and be transparent on your reasoning for it. However, if you’re presented with new information that changes that opinion, openly admit your new position and why you changed it.”

SEAN MCGINNIS, Founder, 312 Digital: “Treat Facebook as a channel where you conduct thousands of one on one conversations. Real influence is built one person at a time.”

GLEN GILMORE, Principal, Gilmore Business Network: “Sow influence on Facebook the same way you would in “real life”: show that you care, that you can be trusted, that you listen and share — and that you are a leader both in what you say and do.”

return on influenceBe Surprising

MARISA PEACOCK, Chief Strategist, The Strategic Peacock: “In order to create power and influence on Facebook, it’s essential to provide fans with an experience that they can’t get from any other company touchpoint — not from your website, or Twitter, or Pinterest. A successful FB page creates a value-added bonus that gives fans a reason to stay connected and engaged. ”

ELIZABETH SOSNOW, Managing Director, Bliss Integrated Communication: “To gain influence on Facebook, create an emotional narrative arc that can be broken down into daily mini-stories. Structure your stories so they satisfy at least one of these four filters: surprise, humor, excitement and inspiration.”

JESSICA NORTHEY, Digital Host and Strategist, FingerCandyMedia.com: “No matter what you think, YOU will not be relevant and/or liked by EVERYBODY so shoot straight from the hip, get to know and learn about YOUR audience, find out what is important to THEM and never ever ever be boring.”

JAYME SOULATI,, PR and marketing strategist: “Facebook requires filters to target the audience with whom you want to engage. Much like LinkedIn groups, creating specialized communities, or better yet, joining them, provides more powerful relationship building with those who have the same/similar objective. Use those groups to show authority and balance that with smart questions, too. ”

JON BUSCALL, Communications Consultant, Jontus Media: “Surprise your audience with something different. Familiarity can breed contempt.”

BILL STRAWDERMAN, “The Marketing Bard” and Executive Director, AT&T Digital Marketing and Social Media:
“Serve at the pleasure of friends,
Inspired by what your care lends.
In the kitchen of minds,
Your ideas further bind
The weak ties – which grow strong in the end.”

return on influenceBe Consistent

LEO WIDRICH, Co-Founder, Buffer: “There is one key thing we have seen from our data analyzing 1 million Facebook updates: Whenever the frequency of daily postings goes over 5 posts per day, the reach and engagement drops significantly. The best results were achieved with 2 daily updates, one being around 11am for the most important timezone your fans are in and another posting being at 5pm.”

NATE RIGGS, of Social Business Strategies: “Lots of bigger companies who are building and managing fan pages stop responding after 5 pm. This is dumb. To create real influence on Facebook, community managers need to be present when the fans are ready to talk. Influence is created when you can solve a problem or answer a question when it happens.”

NAVEEN KRISHNAMURTHY, CEO, RIVA Solutions, Inc: “The key to creating power and influence on Facebook is to have a consistent message over longer period of time that is infectious to the targeted community.  Thus the audience wants to move past window shopping and open the door and come in!”

GREGORY POUY, European blogger and digital strategist: “Focus on one subject/community that is relevant to your company and to create and give useful content for these people, respecting their own code, meeting them in the real life as often as possible and to take time, not expecting a short term financial ROI.”

KATHI KRUSE, Automotive Social Media marketing consultant at Kruse Control: “Know what your customer wants and give it to ‘em.”

return on influenceEngage Thoughtfully

MICHAEL A. STELZNER, CEO and Founder, Social Media Examiner: “If you want to have raving fans on Facebook, simply reply when they post on your Facebook wall.  You’d be surprised how far a human response goes in building brand loyalty.”

MITCH JOEL, President, Twist Image-Blogger, Podcaster, Author, Six Pixels of Separation: “Let keep this short and succinct: instead of getting people to “like” you, why not go out and “like” people? It’s radical I know, but it’s true. Power and influence won’t come from the amount of people who like you. Power and influence will come from being real with the people you’re truly interested in connecting with.”

TOM WEBSTER, Vice President, Strategy, Edison Research: “*Ask* your Facebook followers  what kinds of content they would expect/need to see from your company (or your vertical/industry) in the future on Facebook, reward them for answering, and then do that thing.”

DANNY INY, The Freddy Kreuger of Blogging: “The key to success with Facebook is investment; giving the people you want to reach repeated opportunities to engage in a way that is fun, and habit-forming.”

ROBERT ROSE, Strategist in Residence, Content Marketing Institute: “In my work with brands on both the B2C and B2B side, “active listening”  is one of the keys to success on Facebook.  Too many brands treat the platform as a publishing platform.  And, it’s not just monitor/response.  That, frankly, is just “hearing”.  Active Listening is consciously hearing, understanding and responding in a way that communicates to the person that they are actually being heard.”

GINI DIETRICH, Founder and CEO, Arment Dietrich: “Ask questions! People LOVE to talk about themselves so if you ask them questions, you’ll find some serious engagement. The questions can range from “what’s your favorite Thanksgiving side dish” to fill in the blank questions. For instance, on our page, we recently asked, “The most overlooked marketing tactic is… ” and “What was the best thing that happened to you this weekend?” While not everything we ask is business-related, it definitely keeps us top-of-mind with our clients, prospects, and candidates.”

Wow. Some great ideas here! Many thanks to these friends who contributed so generously to this project!

What intrigues you about the insights in this post? Do you agree? What would you add?

Illustration courtesy Bigstock.com

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