Having a strong online influence is what sets businesses apart in today’s crowded markets. Business owners must have the knowledge to anticipate what your audience wants while connecting consumers to resources, products, or services that matter to them.
According to Leonard Kim, managing partner at InfluenceTree, developing online influence does not occur by happenstance. Just as you build your personal brand or create a business, your online influence must be carefully cultivated. It will take hard work — and a little strategy — to be successful.
Start by giving your brand exclusivity and a voice by taking these steps:
- Take professional photos, have a logo created by a designer.
- Become established on social media pages.
- Claim a website domain name.
- Start a blog and capture emails.
Define your message and make sure your online presence reflects it clearly. Oftentimes, there is a disconnect between how we see ourselves and how others see us. Ask friends to describe you in one word then compare their responses to how you actually want to be portrayed. This will give you pointers to work on.
After you’ve established your voice, identify your target market, the problem they face, and the solution you offer. Kim recommends getting your pitch down to three sentences, then to one sentence and finally cutting it down to three words.
Thoughtfully ensure that your brand’s voice stays consistent throughout your work, or you could risk attracting the wrong customers or missing opportunities altogether. Kim recommends taking a close look at the gap between your brand’s reputation and your company vision. This will give you a good indication of what changes need to be made. Look at what you can do to change people’s perceptions of your brand.
Do your bios on social media accurately reflect your interests? Start using the keywords you want people to associate with you. If you want to be seen in a certain light or as an authority on certain subjects, then show that to your audience through your words.
Too often entrepreneurs get caught up in building their image as a fortress of success. They focus only on their achievements, thinking that showing missteps will undermine their image. Kim, however, began building his brand by highlighting his failures, what he learned from them and how he grew from those experiences. People responded to his openness and frankness. It made him likeable and approachable, and led to his further success.
Study what works by paying attention to the kinds of content that are wildly popular. Look at what goes viral and trace it’s evolution. Kim suggests that you try to understand what makes that content stand out, then ask yourself if there’s a way to reverse engineer that success.
Follow through with your posts to build relationships with your audience. Respond to comments and post on other people’s pages.
“You have to give it your all,” Kim said. “Tell engaging stories, write interesting lists, create powerful images, produce emotional or vivid video.” Whatever you do, don’t go halfway with anything you produce.