This expert opinion article was written for and originally published by the Upstate Business Journal on March 18th, 2016. To view the actual article, click here.
Most every American dreams of being extraordinary, but when you break the concept down, extraordinary is just being ordinary with a voice.
And in the modern age, everyone can have a voice via social media. That runs the virtual gamut from the Twitter kings and queens to the YouTube sensations to the Snapchat superstars. OK, so that last title doesn’t exist yet, but you get the picture.
The average person has more leverage than ever when telling their story, but how can they do that and learn to succeed in business? That is where the idea of the self-made influence stems from. What is the tipping point for this title? How does one become a power influencer without fame and glory? Is it all who you know? In reality, being a self-made influencer requires you to be much more ordinary in nature than extraordinary.
As I waste time catching up on the last eight hours of tweets, pictures and posts every morning, I find myself engrossed in the words and visuals of self-made power influencers on social media. Men, women and even businesses find a platform in the digital world to make their agenda heard, and the rest of us are eating it up – joke’s on us.
When you contemplate this concept a little more close to home you can consider how Greenville uses social media to influence. Perhaps without even realizing it, Greenville residents were able to put a social media influence cycle into play. Without the help of social media, it is possible that the sleepy Southern town of Greenville, South Carolina, would not have become a top travel destination in 2015. Greenvillians wanted to be heard and their message was simple; the magic and charm of their town was worth seeing. Three simple words – “Yeah, that Greenville” – paved the way for residents and visitors to share their love for all things Greenville.
Over the past few years, users of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have highlighted Liberty Bridge, Falls Park, the Swamp Rabbit Trail and downtown wining and dining enough that National Geographic gave a nod and the New York Times took notice. As a community, we created awareness and influenced a new audience to fall for Greenville, just like we did.
The ability to influence the tourism market put Greenville on the map. In turn, this unprecedented development called for more hotels, restaurants and parking in downtown Greenville. Social media had the power to influence growth. It gave WYNIT Distribution a reason to move their international headquarters to downtown.
As a member of a public relations firm known for creating buzz, we are often asked, “How can we help create the next big thing? How do we make some ordinary into extraordinary?”
The answer is by being ordinary. It is one thing to explode on social media. The real thing is it takes times, work and patience. Ordinary things. Consistency creates a consensus and shows authority through knowledge. If you deem yourself an expert, you simply have to prove it. A company or person that has authority over their audience continually shares knowledge on that particular topic. This leads to consistency. Followers will know what to expect from you and continue to listen to you. You will become synonymous with your area of expertise when you cross their mind.
From there consensus is built, an interest has been piqued and the ordinary social media follower has the desire to follow your lead. How do they follow your lead? They share, like, repost and retweet. Before you know it, you’re reaping the benefits of influencer power, your following is growing and your clout is increasing. Well done.