Written by Jo from JoMyGosh.com
In our world of online marketing and content, brands often find themselves chasing an elusive mirage– being “influential.” When it comes down to it, what does that really mean, anyway? Online influence can look like many things to many different brands in many different niches and industries. Don’t be discouraged– there are ways you can raise the profile of your brand and make it stand out against your competitors. Don’t believe me? Read on.
Figure out what “influential” means for your brand. Set a realistic goal for your brand and niche that encompasses both metrics and anecdotal evidence that you believe will mean that your brand is an influential one. Then plan backwards from there to be able to hit your goals.
Know what motivates and runs your brand. Having a strong sense of purpose, messaging, and content curation around your brand’s “why” will draw the right audience to you. Because really, that’s what being influential is about– it’s about having an evangelical group of the right followers who have the same values and beliefs and truly love your product. If no one knows what your beliefs, values, or point of view is, there’s no way they can truly get behind your brand.
As a blogger (and human being), I love when brands respond to my comments, tweets, and posts. When I had a huge issue with my wedding ring (read: it was lost and then returned improperly fixed) that recurringly wasn’t fixed at the store-level, I tweeted the national brand. A day later? The issue was fixed with a gift card included for the months-long hassle. Other times, I’ve received tweets or retweets from brands with no value attached, other than the excitement of being recognized by them. When brands respond to individuals on social media, they’re creating goodwill through an emotional (and tangible) connection that will extend and benefit them long after that particular message.
If you want to up your brand’s game (and of course you do — after all, you’re reading this post!), get to know the power players in your niche. What are the brands and who are the people who have engaged followings? Then, get to know those organizations and individuals– both on a macro and micro level. At the very least, follow and begin engaging via social media. (And I’m not talking about asking for things from them. Support them by sharing their content first.) You’ll find your way forward from there.
Everyone talks about authenticity, but there are still brands that just… don’t… get… it. Now, more than ever, audiences want to support the brands they believe in, ones they’ve formed connections with. You can’t form those kinds of relationships if your brand’s voice is off-putting or doesn’t feel “real.”
Know what’s important to your audience and your niche… and then dive into the conversation that’s happening. Not only will it demonstrate your expert understanding of your niche, it will also keep you at the forefront of the hot topics, which might translate into other opportunities.
If your brand doesn’t at least have cursory presence on every major social media platform, what, what, what are you doing? People want to connect with you at different points throughout their experience with your brand. If you don’t give them those opportunities, you’re hurting your ability to form relationships and be responsive to the people you’re trying to reach.
Nothing kills your ability to be influential online like not prioritizing your messaging. (I mean, really? Do you want your brand to be the one that hasn’t posted anything new on Twitter since January… of 2013?) Figure out a posting schedule for your content and social media, and then stick to it. There are plenty of schedulers out there to choose from if time is something that’s holding your brand back.
When it comes to marketing and online content, we often get wrapped up in numbers. A little too wrapped up, if you ask me. Yes, data and analytics are definitely your friend… but you also want to be realistic about your brand. Not all brands need to have massive followings to be influential. It depends on your niche and audience. Spend some time doing a holistic review of your online properties. Is your audience engaged and vocal? Is your content reposted or retweeted? Is your brand invited to exciting, appropriate opportunities? If you’re answering “yes,” it sounds like your brand is healthy and influential in your niche!
Ready to get down to brass tacks? It’s time to begin working on your goal so that 2016 brings more influence and success to your brand!
About the Author: Jo is the creator of Jo, My Gosh! (jomygosh.com), a popular military spouse and significant other lifestyle blog. Her work can be found in military spouse digital and print publications. She is currently collaborating on an ebook for Millennial military spouses and significant others. Find her on Facebook (facebook.com/jomygosh), Twitter (twitter.com/jomygosh), Instagram (instagram.com/jomygosh1, and Pinterest (pinterest.com/jomygosh1) and say hi!