No one cares about what you know, until they know you care

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By Mark Masters, {grow} Community Member

No one cares about how much you profess to know or how good your business is. What matters is that you care about something besides collecting money.

When People Start to Care

Influencers (or experts) have been always been present, but the social empowerment of the web today means that anyone can claim to be an expert on a subject and solely promote their product or service, which is a soul-less tactic to pursue.

What troubles me, after a brief look at our timelines and newsfeeds, is that we are all sitting in the equivalent of a filled football stadium (getting in the World Cup reference in now) where 99% of the fans are sure they know the right tactics to play, the players that should be starting, and what is going wrong with the current season.

Looking at many social profiles, it’s clear that we are awash with self proclaimed “ninjas,” “rock stars,” and “speakers” who spew articles repeated from other places and attempt to project an energetic persona. They share what they think should be shared and say what others have said. The question is, does an audience really care?

The Ways to Show You Care

The moment someone cares is when they see that you have an obligation to serve others within your marketplace and community. In the words of Hubspot’s Joe Chernov, “it’s up to the influenced to decide if you are influential.”

To become influential–to be regarded as trusted provider of information within your marketplace–you need to demonstrate responsibility outside of your marketing efforts and social vanity. Here’s how:

  • Teach others. Whether it’s giving time to help educate at schools or universities (such as Young Enterprise) or simply explaining the hurdles you’ve faced in your own business on a blog or website for the benefit of others. These highlight your commitment to helping others.
  • Be more human. We all started our businesses with something that we believed in. We’ve all faced problems and stressful moments along our journey. Try to make the things you share with others more meaningful. Being vulnerable is not a weakness.
  • Demonstrate expertise. There is nothing wrong with openly demonstrating how you have solved problems. It doesn’t necessarily mean that someone else is going to steal your ideas, and it may give you credibility. In marketing, no one’s reinvented the wheel, we just package things differently.
  • Learn and Relearn. If you’re committed to becoming an expert in your field, it’s helpful to add more skills to your arsenal from time to time, and often review the ones you already have. You can then share the things you’ve learned with others.
  • Inspire others.  If you want to ensure longevity in your field, you’ll need to be a consistent source of inspiration to your audience. Help them understand your point of view, and give them information they can use.
  • Show proof. If you are extolling the virtues of a technique, show your audience real examples of the times it’s worked for you. If you’re talking about the eBook as a marketing strategy, give real statistics about your eBook and how it’s helped you.
  • Be ‘woweee’ at what you do.  To do this, you’ve got to have real opinions and stand by them. If your blog posts are lukewarm and lack a clear voice, it’s unlikely that you will be understood or respected.

To prove to others that you care, you have to be continually present in the niche that you serve and the community in which you take part.

If your only goal is to collect more likes, follows, and +1’s, it’s unlikely that you will be able to achieve the acceptance of any audience. Trying to be “influential” will fail every time if you can’t properly cultivate your skill set and acknowledge your responsibility to others. To become a valuable resource, we have to invest time, learning, and try to be of use to others.

The title of this blog post is based on a quote from former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.

markmastersMark Masters is the owner of UK based The ID Group.  He’s a marketing consultant helping businesses stand for something via the spaces they control (email, web, blog). He is a nine month recovering user of the word ‘awesome.’

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  • Love this Mark. All your examples are great. Teach others, Be more human, etc. Brings me back to The CARE Movement I started a few years ago. CARE = Communicate, Appreciate, Respect, Encourage.

    And thanks to you, Mark S. for sharing so much great info. al the time.

    Take CARE,

    Al

  • Hi there Al,

    I guess what I’m trying to allude to is that a differentiator for the businesses we represent is to be more normal in our approach. It is easier than ever to claim a space in the marketplace and shout from it, but is doesn’t mean anything unless we prove to others that we have a human persona and a responsibility for the communities we are part of.

    Hope that CARE Movement flag is flying high.

    Thanks

    Mark

  • Great article Mark! To me it all comes down to just being authentic. If you’re that, things will fall into place. It’s when someone tries to be someone they’re not that things get sticky.

  • Hi Mandy, I’m kind of getting round to the fact that we all have to be in the long game to be the person/business that others understand, warm to and want to work with. It is so easy to fall behind the social persona where the world is in a state of utopia. Lets just be a bit more honest. Glad you enjoyed the article.

    Thanks

    Mark

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  • “If your only goal is to collect more likes, follows, and +1?s, it’s unlikely that you will be able to achieve the acceptance of any audience. Trying to be “influential” will fail every time if you can’t properly cultivate your skill set and acknowledge your responsibility to others.”

    This really hits home. I love that. So many people want to be the popular expert, but far less want to do it with authenticity and hard work.

  • Hi Erika, I think we live in a world where we’re collecting stickers like we did at school to look popular and have huge piles of ‘swapsies’. The only thing that matters are those people who are listening to us. Glad you liked the article and meant something to you.

  • An excellent post, Mark. Folks in my space (translation) are fairly new to social media and taking a lot of heat for failing to understand many of the points you raise. Your post is a useful reminder that not everyone has grasped the essence of social media.

  • Herb Silverman

    I enjoyed your dialogue, especially like your dissecting the fact that a “like” or “follower” means nothing unless you back it up with solid experience and loyalty over time. For those people are trying to build connections and a concrete foundation, like me, it is a interesting challenge because of one variable: time. How do you eventually know that you are comfortable being an influencer?

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  • Hi there Nancy, glad the article struck a chord with you. The thing with social media is that we were all thrown into the same swimming gala, without getting good at breast stroke/front crawl first. Hope you’re finding your feet in places you may not have been used to. I’m a big advocate of using the new LinkedIn publishing platform.

  • Hi there Herb…that last question you raise is such an important one in terms of when do we know that we have reached that stage of influence.

    It’s much like the reason for me choosing this particular blog to post my article (rather than my own blog), based on a wider reach and recognising the role that Mark (Schaefer) plays within a community to remain relevant and serve an audience on a consistent basis, who listen.

    What I’m seeing now is that the biggest way to build a foundation is to aggregate an audience, who understand that you have an opinion and get into the habit of looking at the things that are ‘broken’ and to ask ourselves questions. I don’t think it’s a question of time, but one of an ongoing commitment.

  • So, what you’re saying is because I should focus my attention on other people that have the same “connections” to my articles or observation and grow internally overtime. Sounds like a plan, although daunting nevertheless. Thank you for the suggestion.

    (By the way, I looked at your website, I look forward to more articles in the future. If you’d like, cause I’m only just beginning, but you can definitely check my blog, I Unmistakably Herb, at hwsilverman.wordpress.com.)

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  • Hello Mark,

    Nice article, thank you.

    I agree with you. It doesn’t matter how good we say that we are. At the end of the day, the ones who define the life of a business are its customers.

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