How Does Influence Factor Into Your Social Media Marketing?

Have you been keeping an eye on the social media influence platform, Klout? It was recently acquired by Lithium for at least $100 million dollars. Now that’s some thinking money.

Even if you’re not active on social media, this acquisition should pique your interest on the topic of digital influence – how influential your company is online, and how you can increase your traction in the market.

Influence is an integral element of inbound marketing. Each piece of the puzzle — the social media marketing, the blogging, and the premium content — is working hard to make your company more and more influential. If you’re looking to increase your company’s digital influence, here’s how to get there.

Who doesn’t want to work with the best?

It’s a simple fact of life that your customers want to work with the best in the business. If your “typical customer” uses social media, then you need to be active to widen your online reach. Finding conversations your prospects are having online, then contributing to that conversation will give you more influence and reach. Prospects will view you as a thought leader. And the more you’re viewed as a thought leader, the more people trust your insight, your recommendations, your suggestions, and your company.

Use social media to build influence

One of the most straight-forward ways to build digital influence is to use your social media platforms. No, that doesn’t mean posting a photo of your next business lunch. Here are four ideas to get involved in the online conversation and establish your brand of thought leadership:

  • Network with other professionals, including your competition. Especially for B2B companies, it’s important to network with other professionals in your field. It may seem counter-intuitive since this might include people from competing companies. But having thought leadership requires you to rise above the fray and embrace everyone in your industry. Who would you respect more: the businessman ignored by his competitors, or the businessman invited to all of his competitor’s events?
  • Network with your prospects. Use the same approach with your prospects. Just get involved. Hop onto Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and LinkedIn and explore the content and trending topics. Listen to what they have to say and respond honestly and creatively. Consider it networking — investing just 20 minutes per week into this strategy could bring significant returns.
  • Post and guest post as an expert. Apply the same social media networking practices to websites: seek out industry leading websites and blogs and email them with a request to guest post. Explain your background and your areas of expertise and ask to write about them. You’ll be surprised how many websites openly embrace non-promotional content. When your post goes live, broadcast it on your social media networks.
  • Answer questions in forums and LinkedIn groups. Another kind of networking involves publicly answering questions and being involved in conversation in your field of expertise. Where do your prospects in your gather online? Dive in and answer popular Q&As on industry LinkedIn groups, Yahoo! Answers, Quora and Answers.com. At the very least, you’ll be viewed as an expert in your industry who cares about participating in discussions. You’ll have a “voice at the table.” At best, you’ll drive prospects back to your website where you have more control over the message.

Social media influence isn’t just for B2C companies. There is real value is applying social media influence to your B2B business strategy, too. The best way to stand out in a crowd is to lead it, and that’s just what digital influence can do for you.

How influential are you in your industry? How do you plan to increase your influence?

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