What it really means to be an influencer?
The whole world seems to be in awe of people posting relentlessly on social media and showing their lifestyles to-be-followed or copied. The amount of live feed in the form of pictures, videos, or texts is constantly growing giving an impression that the conversation is important (massive content = it must be important mentality). Yet, the true content is shallow at best, creating habits, ideals and dreams that are harmful and unrealistic and actions that put lives in danger at worst.
As I have been training experts from multitude of fields and seen how difficult it is to market their skills for true artists with one of a kind eye for design, HR managers with 20 years of experience, niche programmers who go in such depths that there is only few in their field. Yet, a 15 year old shows himself/herself with a click of a mobile camera without having much to say. Yet. Along comes a personal branding consultant who, for either one teaches and coaches the depth of ones message or the skills of branding. I have been doing this for ten years, and this is what I believe.
*PS: “True value” is a concept different for each, so I know it might have the beginnings of an uproar, but let it just be for now. Though, all ideas and suggestions and inspirations are welcome, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org to further discussion ;).
The true meaning of an influencer is for me three sided:
an influencer must be trustworthy. If there is no trust amongst the audience towards what he or she says, there will be no action. No likes, no followers, no reputational weight, no spreading of the word. Trust comes from constantly doing your work, improving, developing your craft. At least it should. Some of the trust comes from symbols like “being a doctor”, “he is on TV, he must be right”. But this kind of trust lasts until somebody uncovers the truth. I believe that long lasting trust is much related to the next side:
2. True content.
The authenticity, self criticism and curiosity that leads to explorations and new ideas, findings and knowledge. You as an expert work on the topic so thoroughly throughout time that you have something to say. Something of value. Something that changes something. A life, well-being, economy, nature, … way we do things. Life is a constant movement, so must be the “expertise”. I don’t believe that showing yourself play a computer game is very valuable to the world and I am scared that youtubers who show how the do make-up is more influential to my nieces’ life and career planning than my word. This for me is shallow content, but there is a BUT. And that’s the third side of being an influencer:
The gamer, the make-up tutorial girl can reach more people within seconds than a scientist who has won a Nobel prize and in essence has probably created / figured out and brought to light something that by all means is more “valuable” to human kind. If that digital influencer decides to use his/her power gained via simple lifestyle posts to make a true change, I believe it is using certain means to an end. If the Nobel prize winner is not using marketing opportunities to put the invention to good use, what use is it, truly? Ok, I agree, it is not that black-and-white, but there is a point. Sometimes the change you are making is within you and you change your life for the better and that is the first and most important thing. But if you are going further, you might influence a certain group of people related to your topic of expertise. And if you are going even FURTHER, you can influence the Global Audience.
A place for cooperation to influencers and influencers.
My aim is to put 2+2 together and get 10. I think we can learn from new generation of (digital) influencers how to get authority and action from audiences and take the depth of knowledge and value of true content from experts, researchers and innovators and leaders and exchange these skills so that true influence has content, has trustworthiness and has reach. I do believe that this can be learned by both sides and would benefit all.
I can already see digital influencers growing out from shallow visibility and fame and researchers learning to use the power of digital world and personal branding. I see more companies wanting to develop their employees to become the talent they are. I see more individuals wanting to find the meaning in their work so they can both reach their potential and also give life to common goals ((of employer, client, world). It is amazing to see that development over a decade, when I started my work and I believe if we use our skills and ability to be visible wisely, all can be better. And that is all great!
If you want to make a difference, but need to develop one of three sides lets talk!