Entrepreneurs: How to Influence without Being an Influencer
Chances are good that you have heard the term “influencer” over and over in recent months. As the word implies, an influencer is someone who can change the way others behave.
While influencers have technically been around for decades—for instance, if you ever bought something after watching a celebrity or a spokesperson in an ad, you were inspired by an influencer. The difference is that modern-day influencers mainly do their work through the internet. For instance, if you purchase a product after watching your fave YouTuber demonstrate the product in one of his or her videos, you have experienced the advertising power of an influencer.
As a budding entrepreneur, you may wonder how you can take some of the characteristics of influencers and encourage and inspire others to buy your products without actually becoming an influencer. Here’s how:
Create Valuable Content on Social Media
Even if you have zero interest in affiliate links or brand partnerships, as an entrepreneur you can still encourage customers to get to know you and trust you and your company. One way to do this is to create and post worthwhile content on social media. Rather than simply post your current specials and product updates on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, take it to the next level with an amusing blog, funny video, great photos of the new products or whatever you can that will help you and your company stand apart from the competition and attract buyers to your pages and ultimately your products.
Be there for your Customer Community
Another way that you can influence others as an entrepreneur without being an actual influencer is to build your online community. For instance, when you post the aforementioned funny video and people start commenting on it, complimenting you on the content or asking questions, respond to each and every one of them. In addition, use your social media accounts to ask current and potential customers questions—both about general topics as well as your company and what products they might like you to launch. You can also answer questions that pop up over and over about your company; in fact, this might be fodder for a new blog or video. If you are looking for a role model in this arena, look to other brands that have done it right. For example, some have wondered if Amway is a scam or not, and once the company realized these rumors were spreading, it decided to face them head on. Now readers can find explanations of the company’s business model all over the Amway’s website and social media pages. By responding to the untrue rumors, Amway has helped to build its community more than ever.
Meet People in Person
Another way that entrepreneurs like yourself can influence others is to get off of the internet now and then and meet people in person. Even if this means getting out of your comfort zone, attend trade shows and/or seminars that are related to your business, get interviewed by local media about either a new product or service, or host an in-person class or workshop. Just as influencers often attend events like VidCon that allow their fans to see them in person and not just as a celebrity on YouTube, getting out in public and meeting others should also help remind your customers that you are more than an online presence.
You Don’t Need Hashtags or Sponsors to Inspire Others
At the end of the day, entrepreneurs and influencers have more in common than they may realize. By understanding how to channel some of the ways influencers encourage others to buy products, you can definitely have a positive effect on your customers.