Having social media presence is simple and easy. Millions have that. Having social media influence, on the other hand, is more complex, more diffucult, and something far fewer possess. Here are some ways to work toward converting presence into influence.
1. Be active.
Sounds obvious, but this is really key. If you don't establish a routine of regular updates (never to the point of spam, however), then nobody is going to be interested in following you. If you're handling this from a business standpoint, consider at what point during your growth do you need to hire somebody to manage social media. You may not need a full-time social media strategist, but making social media a formal responsibility for a key staff (not an intern!) is a smarter route than just telling somebody to "tweet stuff."
2. Be active... everywhere.
If you try Twitter and it fails, try Facebook. Or vise versa. You'll never know which audience your content will truly resonate with unless you try. Also, Try niche online communities. The sheer size of Twitter and Facebook may make it seem as though they're the must-haves, but smaller nichge communities have signficiantly less competition, and a much more focused and attentive audience. Remember that if you're active on one channel, be active on your others, too - equal distribution of content and conversation among your selected platforms will maximize results.
3. Play to your strengths.
Love writing? Blog like mad and distribute your content. Social butterfly? Engage your audience with dynamic online conversations. Use your social media platforms in creative ways, too, like for real-time customer support, online contests, etc. Standing out from the ordinary isn't easy, but the payoff can be huge, and this is most effectively accomplished when you build on your strongest skills. Social media is too public and fast-paced to try and tackle your weaknesses.
4. Seek out and utilize evangelists.
Convert in-person networking into social networking - get other influeners to public support your brand. It's quick and simple for them to tweet something positive about you, or a link to your latest product with a thumps up, yet it can make a large difference in getting your name out there and attracting attention. The more genuine somebody believes in you, the better.
5. Monitor progress.
It is important to take time to reflect on your past social media and online endevaours. WHat mistakes did you make? How can you avoid making those mistakes next time? What were your successes, both planned and unexpected? How can you build upon those successes? Analyzing progress continuously is a good way to improve future ventures. But don't get overly analytical: there's only so deep a meaning you can extract from numbers, and it can sometimes prove impossible to predict the outcomes of your efforts. Focus on the future as opposed to dwelling on the past (just don't ignore it completely).
From hosting guest blog posts to forming contest partnerships and everything in between, a well executed collaboration is a mutually beneficial relationship and can grow your personal influence. Plus, you may end up making long-term business partners, or even friends. Look for people or businesses that have different strengths then you, but whose core values align with yours. The ideal situation is for the whole to be greater than its sums, but you don't need to reach this level to consider a collaboration successful.
7. Continue learning.
Commit yourself to constantly learning. You are the eternal apprentice of an art that cannot be mastered because it, like you, is constantly evolving. Understand new social media platforms. Recognize what makes some better than others. Analyze how differently people react in different online environment.
Become smarter, work harder, and be that person behind the highest quality content, service, or product... and the results will come.