How to be an Influencer

Please note: Throughout this post, the numbers in parentheses refer to numbers in the PDF transcript of the Influencer conference.

On July 6, I attended “The Influencer Project,” an online event billed as the shortest marketing conference ever.  Each of 60 experts took 60 seconds to tell listeners how to make themselves or their ideas, businesses or products stand out in the crowded Web and influence others to gravitate toward them.

Within just over an hour, I felt that my degree in psychology, certificate in screenwriting, big/traditional media background and writing awards are incredibly valuable in the age of digital influence.

Here’s what else stood out to me during the Influencer hour:

  1. The number of people in the world doing the exact same thing
  2. The number of expert tips that were obvious or that I was already putting into practice
  3. The need for human beings to connect to one another

The first observation should not have surprised me, but for some reason, it always does.  If your idea is a good one, it’s probably already being done.  There are thousands of small and large companies and corporations that do the same things.  At any given corporation, several employees may have the same job title and job functions, and any of them could easily go to another corporation and find someone else doing the exact same job that they do.  So it shouldn’t have surprised me that 60 Web marketing experts gathered for a conference, but it did.

I didn’t know most of the people hailed as experts, but I was satisfied enough with their credentials to listen to their tips.  I felt validated for sharing myself fully and honestly (tips 3, 9, 16, 17) as I have on my other two blogs.  When I first considered starting a blog, I was afraid that complete honesty would get me into trouble.  What if a potential client disagreed with something he read on my personal blogs and decided not to do business with me as a result?  I didn’t consciously decide that blogging my personal journey was worth the risk; I hadn’t firmly established Research Works, so I had no real prospects, and I decided that I needed to write and that I wanted to help others who were going through an employment hiatus.  As a result, a blog on which I haven’t written since December 31, 2009, gets more hits than this one or the new one.

I’m not quite as open on tweets and status updates—except when they link to the honest content—but I do commit to trying to say something meaningful rather than to alert the world that I’m sleepy, that I didn’t like my lunch or that I need a shower.  (According to experts 1, 23, 25 and 30, content is pretty important.)

Many experts (1, 20, 23, 26, 29, 31, 36, 37, 43, 44, 52) agreed that finding what you’re passionate about or finding a niche, then getting on to all of these social platforms and sharing your passion with everyone else in a way that will help everyone else is the best way to stand out.  Again, my Living Life Laid Off stats serve as anecdotal evidence that this is true.  Currently, I share anything that I find interesting or think would be helpful to me, my business, my clients or my prospects on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, and I am building a resources page to help people access even more.

I heard several tips confirming what I was already doing, but since I wasn’t one of the expert presenters, I tweeted, “I wonder what obvious thing I’m leaving out.”  About two minutes later, Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image and expert number 40, said, “The people who are navel gazing and looking only at their own properties and analytics are usually the ones who will struggle the most and suffer through it.”

I think it’s easy to forget that the human connection is the key to all of it, but as other presenters (7, 8, 11, 13, 19, 26, 29, 34, 39, 42, 43, 49, 52, 53, for example) pointed out, it is called social media for a reason.  We’re all on the internet to connect to other people.  It’s easy to tout yourself and think that others should follow you just because you think you’re fabulous.  It’s much more difficult to shift your interest to others.

I’m not as guilty of navel gazing as I am of being a passive participant.  I follow a lot of people on Twitter, connect with others on LinkedIn and read several blogs, but I haven’t been big on leaving comments, starting discussions, etc., even though I love it when people interact with me and even though an absence of comments frustrates me.

While there was a general consensus around most principles, I was surprised that only one Influencer expert (58) touched on what I believe to be a very important tip in business: Be patient.  It’s a well-connected but very big world, and it can take a long time for people who have never seen you to find you.

Follow this link to read the transcript of the entire Influencer marketing conference or to download the MP3.  My absolute favorite tips were numbers 14, 46 and 48.


© Mariam Williams and Research Works, 2009-2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mariam Williams or, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  Any use and/or duplication of any photo contained within this blog without express and written permission from Research Works and Mariam Williams is strictly prohibited.

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