How do we define influence? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, influence is ‘the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something.’ In other words, to have influence means having the ability to impact and maybe even sway, other people.

As a small business owner, what do you think of thought leadership? Is it merely a marketing strategy? For many CEOs and company owners it is. However, becoming an influencer means you could have the capacity to change your industry, and broaden your horizons personally and professionally. Research shows that influencers can earn 14 times more than their counterparts. As an influencer, you can spur excitement in your workplace, and lead your employees to success. So, how do you become an influencer within your industry?

With social media being so accessible and everywhere, everyone has a platform through which they can exercise some sort of influence. And you need to stand out in the feed of influencers on social media. Scrolling through your news feed, you’ll find a lot of so-called influencers who mostly promote their own work. But that doesn’t necessarily make them influential. To stand out among the masses, true influencers need to focus on helping others, being a respected resource of high-quality content, and continually building their own network.

Focus On Helping Others

Crafting valuable content that your followers can learn from, is an alternative approach to building and utilizing influence. This takes time to do, but it also brings the longest lasting results. Stack that with talking to other people and asking for their opinion and feedback, and you’ll be well on your way to gaining more respect. When you’re not just seen as someone who knows it all, and more as someone willing to listen to others, you stand out in a crowded field. Shift your focus from your own personal gain to how you can help others, as well as learn from them, and not only will you be seen as an influencer, but you’ll also make lasting connections. A word of caution though – don’t spread yourself too thin. Narrow in on a specific audience, and you’ll remain relevant.

Be A Respected Resource

There is a lot of content out there, and no one has the time to read all of it, or even most of it. People want to spend time on content that provides them with value and entertains them. Focus on becoming a high quality influencer with these tips:

  • Build trust within your chosen community by becoming the go to person on a particular niche.
  • Pay attention to current events and the latest news and innovations in your field. Being in the know in your industry is key.
  • Consistency is important to have. Social media moves at breakneck speed, and anyone can be forgotten if they are not consistent about posting relevant, quality content.

Develop A Personal Brand

A brand that aligns with your company, but allows you to stand out as an individual is the kind of brand you should be aiming for. You can do that by basing your brand on what makes you unique. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. People respond to vulnerability, and it shows you’re genuine. Share your experiences, even your failures.

Team Up

Consider the idea of teaming up with a fellow industry expert. Chances are, they are like minded, and you’ll find a kindred spirit who can help you accomplish more in the market. You could team up to take on larger projects, and help raise each other’s brand. Networking is a great way to help you find other successful experts.

Finally, remember to be grateful. It’s important to recognize the people who helped you along the way. No one is an island, and you will have received help to get you to the top. Remaining humble, while remaining committed to your values and beliefs will help you and your company shine and stand out in people’s minds.

Read more relevant blog post: Why Startups Need New Product Marketing Strategies to Stand Out in 2019