Influence is defined by Merriam Webster as “the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command” or the “power or capacity of causing an effect in an indirect or intangible way.” So, how are you using your powers of influence to achieve your goals? It’s easier than you think, but you will have to make an effort to become the influencer you want to be, whether it’s in the industry, at home, or with your peers.
Characteristics of an Effective Influencers
There are some characteristics and traits that are prevalent in some of the most effective and powerful influencers in the any type of business. Let me stop here to say this: You do not need to be in a position of power to have the power to influence others. Whether you are just getting started, have a few years of experience in the industry, or you have a decade or more of experience, you have the power to influence others. If your intention is to be a positive influencer, you will want to develop the principles outlined below to achieve your goal.
Define your intentions. Are you looking to influence consumers to buy a product or service, or are your looking to build long-lasting relationships, or both? If you consider your audience as an ally, you can create an authentic situation in which you can have a positive influence on others. You need to build trust with your audience – show them you have their best interest in mind, and mean it. Be honest, respectful, and loyal.
Ask not what your audience can do for you, ask what you can do for your audience. Seriously. If you want to influence your audience, they have to benefit from that influence in some way. Consider what your audience needs, what they want, what affects them, and how you can help. If you’re only in it for yourself, chances are you won’t be very successful in influencing anyone else to trust in your brand.
Be authentic with your message and your content. Don’t compromise your morals or beliefs for one second. Any benefit that may come from this compromise will be short-lived at best and career-ending at worst. The most effective influencers are open and honest about their goals, which makes others view them as reliable and credible. If you make a mistake, admit it. Look to build a friendly relationship with your audience, and you will reap the benefits.
Long-term relationships are built upon the concept of reciprocity – you do for me, and I do for you. Be willing to make some sacrifices to build trust, and you will reap the benefits over time. The relationship you build with your audience is not one-sided. You want to listen to them, understand their needs, and adjust your brand content based on their feedback.
The art of influencing is simple. Be honest and trustworthy. Understand your audience, listen to them, and build a lasting relationship that will benefit you both. If you can apply this concept to your brand, you will see a significant impact in your influence and continue to expand your business and increase your brand exposure.