This is the age of information and entertainment. (I’ve seen it called one or the other, however information that is not entertaining does not garner many readers, so therefore it must be both.)
The Internet has levelled the playing fields, making it possible for anyone to command a huge following, provided they can curate enough useful and entertaining information. We have a much better chance of enjoying the journey that success– however we personally define that – takes us on, if we support each other in our pursuit of it. There are two sides to content curation. The first is that you must create your own valuable and engaging content, and the second is to share content created by others that also adds value to your industry or cause. Then, of course, comes talking about it.
Maslow, in his hierarchy of needs, explains quite clearly that, once our basic physiological and safety needs are met, we can’t achieve anything more without first meeting our social needs. That means that in order to achieve greatness we need to surround ourselves with people who can support us as we support them. So in order to gain social influence and become an authority in your niche, you must be able to educate and to learn, to talk and to listen.
Gaining social influence in this day and age has a unique platform in the World Wide Web, and from it three simple steps must be taken
1. Provide information
In order to achieve this you should really own a piece of the Cloud. If you do, you can add a blog to your existing website or create a separate blog. It is also possible to create content and place it directly into comments on your social media profiles, however this limits your control of the information as well as the amount of information you can include. For example, if one or other of those sites closes, for whatever reason, you lose everything.
2. Share information
Once you have created information and collected it on your site, you must share it with other thought leaders in your industry – this is where the social networks come in. Sharing information is paramount to achieving both social influence and authority. Valuable information will get passed around among other interested people, which will, in turn, encourage others to follow you, in order to get more of the information you are sharing. Sharing information created by other thought leaders in your industry adds to the impact you have on your followers, as you lead them towards a greater bank of knowledge.
The other vital component here is to interact with the people who are engaging with your knowledge. Being a real human beats being an auto-responder hands down on every level – except that if you were an auto-responder you wouldn’t need the sleep you can’t get while creating, distributing and curating all that information. As Maslow pointed out, our social needs are of great importance to us; so giving feedback to, or actually connecting with, those people we inspire, goes a long way to ensuring their social needs are met. It also offers us the opportunity to have our esteem needs satisfied. It’s a win/win situation.
In this entertaining and informative age, in which sharing is so much more than just caring, establishing yourself as a thought leader takes time, patience, persistence and no shortage of engaging content. Don’t forget, as Stan Lee, Franklin D Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and, of course Voltaire all pointed out: with great power comes great responsibility. It is very important that you take responsibility for the information you share: you need to make sure that it is well written, engaging, informative and enlightening, or at the very least VERY entertaining.
Working together we can build an entirely different world to the one that exists today, a world without borders, in which everyone has an equal chance given a good work ethic; and, of course, a world in which we’ve all scaled Maslow’s hierarchy and are able to start giving back to the planet.
How have you established your social influence and authority in your niche? What steps would you add to this list?