The focus for brands is to convince, or influence, as many purchase decisions to go in their favor. In the online environment, there is an extraordinary opportunity to reach out to the largest audience possible and influence what they buy whether it is a product or service.
However, there are thousands of brands out there doing the exact same thing, so the challenge is to become more influential than them. But the rules of the game have changed. No longer can you just use the old methods to attract your customer base. There are many new ways that I’ve been using to build my company to grow it from nothing to working with thousands of businesses in the last 14 months.
Here are 10 ways that you should be building your company online;
1. Leverage other influencers and brand advocates.
One of the most effective ways to grow your influence is to have influencers talk about you and share what you have to offer. This is the best, and most compelling, advertisement you will get because your audience admires and believes these influencers. As brand advocates, they promote what they like about your brand, focusing on the benefits they have personally realized.
You can opt to research and engage with influencers you believe will provide this assistance or you can partner with companies that specialize in connecting you with some of the top influencers online.
2. Be authentic.
While your target audience likes the convenience of online experiences, they want to be reassured that the brands they choose to interact with are being honest, caring, and meaningful with them.
This can be one of the most difficult tactics to achieve because of the physical distance and lack of face time. However, you can use videos and even customer testimonials to illustrate the emotion and enthusiasm you feel for what you are doing as a brand.
3. Deliver expertise.
The more you know and can share with your audience helps you rise to the top of the influencer ranking. This is why I blog on sites like Entrepreneur. It helps readers and with each post makes me more of an influencer.
More than ever, people are turning to online sources to find information that is accurate and can help them solve common issues as well as complex problems.
If you can get that advice, those tips, and specific information out through multiple channels and platforms to your target audience, you will influence their decisions.
4. Actively listen and respond.
While it seems like common sense, many companies still do not actively listen but still assume what they think their audience wants.
However, those brands that pay attention to even the smallest of details and respond to those seemingly little things are the real winners in the influence game.
Whether you acknowledge that you heard your audience by commenting on feedback they left on a social media page or you contacted them directly with a solution or promotion, you can easily capitalize this tactic.
5. Be consistent.
In returning to the need to establish trust as the basis to influence, your audience will immediately notice if you change your message or do not use the same brand look across every platform.
Any discrepancy will create instant suspicion that you don’t want to spend time overcoming just to get back to the same place you were previously.
Keep your themes, content, visuals and tone consistent everywhere and you will be able to continually build upon this trust foundation for greater influence.
6. Leave a memorable impression (in a good way!).
You don’t have to resort to “shock value” to make an impression. Though I really like doing that as well.
Instead, you can use humor or other emotions to connect with your audience and create that memorable impression that has them liking and sharing what you created with their circle.
The most often shared content currently includes those emotions that your audience knows will resonate with their circles, so this can often be one of the fastest ways to up your influence.
7. Be passionate and positive.
Your excitement and enthusiasm can pump-up your audience (and you) and inspire them to action.
With the ongoing continued stream of negative content on many platforms, you can stand out with positive messages that show your commitment to focusing on socially responsible solutions and a bright outlook in the face of stressful and tense events around the world.
8. Maintain transparency.
Be clear in everything you say and back that up with your actions and behaviors. Encourage all members of your team to maintain transparency about what the company does and how it enacts specific values.
9. Be humble and serve your customers.
Humility does not make a company appear weak; you can influence even in the role of servant. If anything, it makes them more powerful in the eyes of customers who see a brand willing to do anything that puts their customer before their own drive for profits.
10. Don’t give up.
Increasing your influence will never happen if you decide to take a break and rest on your laurels after upping your rank a few notches. You’ll actually soon be forgotten and quickly replaced by another brand that is willing to never stop at trying to win over their audience. Influencers don’t dissapear.
The idea with influence is that it’s all about building momentum so once you start to gain even the smallest ground, keep at it.
In a world that demands instantaneous results, remember that you still have to use some patience in gaining influence online and can’t expect the same response time. It still requires significant effort and time to build the power you want to wield.
However, once you become influential online, I’ve found that it gets to that tipping point and starts virally delivering incremental upticks in my influence status.