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Do You Have An Audience Or An Influence?

So the list of Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, Facebook ‘likes’ are growing healthily, but does this mean anything at all?

Is this merely building an audience to interact with, or is it much stronger to have an influence within your audience?

By using the word influence, I’m not talking via a computer deciding how engaging you are (take a bow Klout, Twitter Grader, Twitalyzer and other measuring tools), but how other people see you as reputable and willing to spread the gospel according to YOU. Having a large number of followers provides an audience, but it doesn’t necessarily make you influential.

The thing is, it doesn’t matter how many followers you have, or Facebook ‘likes,’ (boy I hate that word) or LinkedIn connections, what matters is that those you are addressing are listening to you and willing to interact and participate. This then helps build your influence and then create advocacy within your community.

Here are nine defining traits for someone who has the ‘influential gene’:

  1. Express themselves in a way that people will understand and invite interaction with. People need to adopt your intentions and it needs to be as clear as possible.
  2. Stand up for something that is different. If you are the same as everyone else, you merely blend into the crowd.
  3. Target the right audience, by being seen as providing a clear solution to their problem. Is it to make their lives better? Is it to make them more profitable? Is it to give peace of mind? Is it to make them leaders?
  4. Your audience begin to regard you as being different from other alternatives on offer and in turn, inherently better.
  5. Your audience can clearly see that your intentions are to solve problems, and not purely the ‘sell.’
  6. You have an opinion that has clarity. It doesn’t have to be controversial for the sake of it, but to stand up for what you believe in.
  7. You encourage a flow of conversation and take a responsibility to listen and then interact.
  8. Your audience sees you as someone who is approachable, has personality, and most importantly is human.
  9. Your audience understand that you have a passion for your industry and regarded as an expert in your field.

Those who build influence, win. The whole world begins to be transformed, Twitter becomes more like a club and Facebook is seen as a members only privilege. Your advocates stay with you and to help, harness and grow.

Creating authenticity, passion and building an influence is one of the most powerful tools to build support and success.

Image courtesy of sjaustin (Flickr)

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