I recently attended a conference for bloggers and content creators where the topic of "influencer marketing" was a huge theme. As most of Real Estate’s biggest, loudest, and most effective influencers are making plans to head to Inman Connect (#ICSF) in San Francisco next week, I’ve been thinking more about the role of an influencer, what that term means, and the responsibilities that come with it.
As I have observed leaders, teachers, and change-makers over the years, I have found that true Influencers didn't just end up where they are by chance. Audiences didn't just fall in their lap. Without fail, the very best Influencers follow these guidelines:
Fill the void
There are a lot of loud voices out there that claim to have a handle on how things are done. The reality is that it's not just about fame and free stuff. To have a real impact through words, content, and messaging, Influencers have to bring something of value to the conversation. It's about adding something that isn't already there.
Do more than stir things up
We hear the word "authentic" a lot, but customers are clued in these days, and they want more real stuff, like truth, education, and honesty. Provoking controversy seems to have become the norm these days, but those who commit to finding truth and resolution are the ones who will stand out from the chaos as stars.
Find something that speaks to you
The very best influencers are those who truly love what they do and what they stand for. They are interesting because they are actually interested in what they are talking about.
Become an expert
It’s not enough to just be interested; Influencers have to go all in. They become an expert in their field or topic. They get insanely curious about how it works, how it could be disrupted, and how it might be put back together differently. Influencers know the pros the cons of each potential solution.
Seek out feedback
The best influencers surround themselves with people they trust and they are incessantly asking for feedback. They don’t just want the good stuff; they want the bad and the ugly too. They know that growth doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
Build a team
As the saying goes, no man/woman is an island. Effective influencers don’t work alone. Great leaders who have real impact and influence spend time finding people whose passion and vision matches their own, and create teams that get stuff done.
Do the work
It’s not enough to be passionate. If you want to influence others, you have to do the work. People with real influence aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.
Learn to say no
Effective influencers know the value of their time. They know when to say no. They know that when you say yes to everything, you are undervaluing yourself. Not everything aligns with their brand, and they aren’t afraid to say so.
Think of your audience first
The role of a true Influencer is to think of those they serve first. The audience is the reason they have influence at all. An Influencer knows that you can’t post mixed messages and expect your followers to take you seriously. That is what true authenticity means.
This is a daily challenge to all of us who represent an industry or an institution that is bigger than ourselves. Are we adding something to the conversation that is not there already? Are we seeking honest feedback? And most importantly, are we thinking of our audience first? If we truly seek to have Influence, the answers to these questions matter greatly.