20 April 2012

10 ways to influence with social media

Want to increase your influence online using social media? 

Forbes writer Haydn Shaughnessey says your social media profile can help your career and add to the value of information found online. 

That's why he put together a guide to the basics of developing influence online, which covers the following issues (with some thoughts of my own): 

  1. Planning:
    Think about your topics. Do your research and add value to the raw information. Maybe do a short series of posts about an issue. Pace yourself so that your posts are regular but do not overwhelm readers or make you invisible during lengthy downtime.
  2. Where to contribute:
    Do you think different? Know yourself and what you want to say, then find the right platform. You might find it hard being a liberal in a conservative forum, but then you might also attract more interest (please don't be a miserable troll!).
  3. Growing your influence:
    Know where the audiences are and be visibile. For your topic that could be LinkedIn or Pinterest, Reddit or 4Chan. Write with your audience in mind and follow others doing the same. Be useful to others and you will likely become more important to them.
  4. Writing for the web:
    What is your 'voice'? Authoritative, conversational, detailed, descriptive, poetic? Use snappy titles. Intrigue and excite readers, but please don't infuriate them!
  5. Feedback and eliminating errors:
    Try to check your work and don't bite if people correct your grammar and spelling. Ask friends to tell you - truthfully - how clear and engaging is your writing?
  6. Distribution channels:
    Blog and re-post your items on Google+ and Facebook. Tweet your blogs, or blog in an established location (Huffington Post got lots of free help as bloggers sought a more popular platform than their isolated blogs).
  7. Comments and tweets:
    Does your blog needs comments, or is it enough that you have readers who re-share your ideas? Do you want to stir debate or share information? Do you comment on others' posts, re-share, or both?
  8. Search engine optimization and titles (headlines):
    Use hashtags, labels and keywords. "Google 'how to create good titles'," Shaughnessey says. 
  9. Audience size:
    How many is enough? To earn money from advertising? To fill a petition?
  10. Metrics and benchmarks:
    Who are your peers and competitors? How should you measure success?
In the spirit of developing knowledge, why not contribute your own ideas in the comments below, or on Haydn's blog.

See also: 
How best to use Google+
Social media research