The Influence of People Through Social Media
How We Are Influenced, and Influence Others With What We Post Online
We are impacted by persons we have been introduced to through social media every day. They may share valuable information, a fresh perspective, or a better way to do something. Often, a blog or post motivates or inspires professional or personal action, without the author ever knowing.
Posts and Updates Take on a Life of Their Own
The post may be seen the moment it is shared on social media or in an RSS feed. Or, it may not be found until days, months or years later. Yet, because of its relevance to the person reading it, that tweet, blog or share often becomes more than a published post. It can, and often does influence decisions, choices and actions of others in a real way.
There are numerous experts and thought-leaders who have unknowingly influence me in some way professionally. Below are two examples of how social interactions have influenced me personally.
While at Digital World Expo to speak, I had the pleasure of chatting with Tim Ash who was also presenting a session. We had crossed paths online, but this was the first time we had met in person. We spoke of kids, family, his Conversion Conference, his book and photography. As Tim was walking around with a digital SLR camera taking photos of everyone, I felt as though I was missing something. I have always enjoyed photography. In fact, in college I studied photography, learned how to develop my own film, prints, etc. I learned to shoot on a manual 35mm camera, and have never replaced it with a digital SLR. Despite my passion for the art of photography over many years, I had deferred to pocket digital cameras while traveling and raising a family, denying myself the joy of photography.
What Tim does professionally gave us common ground. Yet, it was my exposure to Tim’s personal interest in photography that inspired me. Within 2 weeks after chatting with Tim at a rooftop networking event in Las Vegas, I had researched, purchased and was shooting with a digital SLR camera. I have since traveled with the camera and use it even more than I thought I would. Seeing a “kindred spirit” doing something I loved, gave me that extra little nudge I needed to do something about it, finally.
Seth Godin is well known for sharing his thoughts on everything from marketing, entrepreneurship and being proactive in achieving goals. This year, Seth was highly successful in circumventing the traditional publishing world by crowd-funding ‘The Icharus Deception”, an experiment in publishing based on the mythology of success. Seth introduces the book by saying “We are all artists now”.
I have started 3 books over the past few years. Seeing a prolific author publish a book about something he was passionate about inspired me. So, after months of writing, I have finished my first book; “Million Dollar Websites”, sharing have learned about the common, costly mistakes frequently made by those investing in websites. I expect the book, which will be finally published in January 2013, to be the first of many. I would have written the book. However, seeing another author break out of his comfort zone to embrace a topic that he was passionate about provided additional inspiration to take on the totally exhilarating, exhausting and rewarding experience of finishing my book.
You don’t have to be a rock star in order for your expertise and knowledge to do good (thankfully).
You Never Know Who You Could Be Influencing
As I have shared, two people I just happened to cross paths with have inspired me without ever knowing it. The same is true with what you write and post on your blog or social media accounts. You may never truly know who you have influenced, or how. Rest assured, just as you have likely been influenced by someone you have encountered, you are likely to impact those around you.
How to Improve Your Social Media Influence
Three things to keep in mind when you post (even when you think no one is reading):
- What you post will be ‘out there’ on the internet forever. It may be read the moment you write it, or be viewed months or years later, so keep that in mind when writing. And, even if you delete it, chances are it has been seen, captured or archived somewhere.
- Be authentic to yourself and to your brand. The information may not be timeless, but if you are consistent with your personal brand, the context that moment in time will go a long way in building credibility and ability to attract like-minded people you are likely to influence, and be influenced by, over time.
- To improve the life of what you write, optimize it to be visible across all platforms. Use keywords when writing, hashtags (on Twitter and Google+) when sharing, and make the destination page or post search engine-friendly. Optimization extends the life of what you write far beyond the moment you post it.
Who have you influenced?
Who have you been influenced by?