peacock
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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