Social media – influence talks!

social media, influence

Have you thought about the fact that the quality of the content you post on social media is branding you? You actually need to be a bit like a skilled politician and convey your thoughts and ideas in ways that have an impact.

Maybe it’s time to decide what you are trying to achieve on Twitter and other social media networks? How are you going to influence others if you don't have a strategy?
Maybe it’s time to decide what you are trying to achieve on Twitter and other social media networks? How are you going to influence others if you don’t have a strategy?

What do you want out of social media?

Maybe it’s time to look at what you are trying to achieve on Linkedin and other social media networks? If not, the likelihood of anything beneficial happening is slim. How are you going to influence others in order to achieve your goals if you don’t know what they are?

And influence that’s what social media is all about. If nothing else influence to create a good impression of yourself and your company.

The originality syndrome

Google’s Algorithm rewards originality. Am really pleased about that because I refuse to write for search engines. It ruins your writing to constantly have to think about using the right key words and writing a headline the search engines would love.

Originality is also what counts on social media networks if you would like to have influence. Business professionals are changing how they cooperate because of online communities. They want to be associated with people with a mind of their own. And that doesn’t mean people who criticize for the sake of criticising. Or complicate an issue so much it’s difficult to understand what they are trying to say. Or worse, prove themselves at the expense of others.

Thought leadership is the name of the game

Are you up to thought leadership i.e. ideas that merit attention? Because that’s needed if you would like to be recognized as a thought leader. Needless to say that signifies that you know what you are doing, say on Linkedin, and what the people you are trying to influence are interested in getting from you.

Are you in the driving seat?

An abundance of information is coming at us online. And your ability to act and get others to respond is critical in this new economy. Nor least since professional networks facilitate interactions by enabling us to cooperate no matter where in the world we are. That’s the currency on social media.

Do you have influence?

How many people request to connect with you on say, Linkedin, on a weekly basis? Do people interact with you in discussions you start? Are your posts being syndicated? Do people share your posts with their networks? Are you getting positive feedback from other members of social media networks? Are you being criticized? The latter you unfortunately can’t avoid unless what you have to say is of no relevance whatsoever.

There are many ways of determining how much influence you have. However, unless you honestly look at those issues you will just be drifting along and not contribute the quality that makes you a thought leader. Maybe your actions are even branding you the wrong way?

Search engines record everything and forget nothing

Do you realize that more and more companies are beginning to use new software that show exactly what a person has been doing on social media? So people leaving nasty comments or parroting should be careful. Search engines record everything and forget nothing. Those who insult others and pretend they are someone they are not will pay a heavy price.

Do you know what you are trying to accomplish on social media? If so, what are you trying to achieve? If you are not sure, maybe it’s better to keep a low profile until you have a strategy? Then when you have made up your mind, you can start having an impact and build up the influence you want, and need, to reach your goals.

Picture: mkhmarketing

115 thoughts on “Social media – influence talks!

  1. Love the post! One of the best ways to create a good impression is to continuously spotlight other bloggers' work and the value it adds to the community–that's something I'm very passionate about!

  2. Thought provoking post. One must be mindful of everything they post on social media. They are representing themselves and the business they are promoting. I have noticed particular posters on LinkedIn can be rather loose with their comments.

    At present I post very little on LinkedIn and prefer to comment on existing posts. I receive regular requests to connect and enjoy the networking. I am less active on Instagram with around 240 followers and Facebook where I have under 400 'friends'.

    I do not agree with everyone and they do not agree with me but I will not get into a bunfight online. I choose to remain professional.

  3. I spend a lot of time and effort on social media as I truly believe it is important in building my brand. The thing that bothers me most is that the platforms are continually changing their algorithms, so even if we feel we are playing by the rules and being authentic, they are continually changing them and it is difficult to keep up.

  4. While I am more cognizant of key words and placement, it is still not the main thing I worry about. My work and effort on my strategy to build traffic/subscribers has been worthwhile. And in the blog community, i have developed many positive relationships. I contine to try and learn from other successful bloggers because Id like to eventually make a modest living from my blog.

  5. I think people have the wrong impression of social media, they believe it is to market and direct people to your product. Influence is probably the major purpose of social media. It allows you, or a corporation to have input and display what you stand for, while gathering how others view you. A good impression and reputation is vital, and can last a long time.

    1. Absolutely, William, influence is key. But you may want influence to network, make new connections and sell your products. What I fail to comprehend is how people who insult others online intend to achieve anything worth while. They ruin their reputation.

  6. I first joined FB only to socialise and did very little of this at the start. It took a while to become accustomed to FB. When I started my small make up business, I set up a business page and was advised to post several times a day. I wondered if my “friends” and “contacts” would grow bored of my advertising posts and unfriend me.

    LinkedIn was introduced to me by a friend and I have never looked back. I spend less time on here so my ratings have dropped but I am networking with other bloggers.

    Twitter – I joined this year and am unsure whether it works for me. I am one blogger out of millions – many who are far well known than me. I feel invisible with only 200 followers. Logging on every couple of days probably does not help.

  7. Hi Catarina! Thanks for an interesting post. Indeed, it makes you think a lot and what I think is the most difficult is creating a quality network. Many of us go for a quantity but forget to interact on a constant basis with people or just add everyone who even does not bring any value to the network which has a negative overall impact..

    1. Interesting way of looking at your reputation on social media, Kristina. In my opinion you would benefit a lot from writing shorter articles. It’s only publications such as The New York Times and Harvard Business Review that can get people to read such long posts. If you shortened them you would reach more quality people who simply don’t have time to read what you produce.

  8. I needed to read this today. It is easy to get lost in the busyness of social media and forget goals and purpose. It is good to re-evaluate from time to time.

  9. With the search engines increasingly using semantic search, that is looking for the meaning in words and phrases and not just key words, I think it's more important than ever to write for your reader. Use the words and phrases they search for and then they become the conduits of search engine traffic to your site.
    My recent post 8 Reasons Why Nobody Reads Your Blog

    1. Absolutely, Jeannette, that's one aspect of it. But there is much more to having an impact online. Even if you use key phrases and words in what you write your reputation will still be dented if you share, say, racist links on social media.

  10. Years prior when I joined the social media the reasons were different, back then my vision was 'floopy' just like PHOEBE says. Now so many years later after I have started sharing & expressing myself it feels good. I started sharing because I wanted to bring in an audience for my companies website, now that I like it can't think of not going ahead with it! Hope someday I would be able to influence others.

  11. I totally agree. It is important that we know what our goals are when sharing on social media. Not all social media sites have to be the same goal either. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. Hello
    I really liked that you care about people while writing not search engines. I think I try to write about different issues that are faced by my people.
    Related to connection with my people it is lowest as you know that in Kashmir people do not have much facilities of internet. In some places there is no mobile service at all. There are only some who use internet because of mobile companies who gives packages for the use of few sites.
    So I always feel if I have facility I must bring the condition of those in front of world.

  13. Blogging is one of the most disciplined undertakings I have ever taken on. You are right. You can't just post any old thing. A lot of time and effort has to go into it but the rewards are incredible. Once people start to read what you write and convey their feelings to you it is an amazing feeling. And as Jeri says, it helps to define what you like. It takes up a lot of my time but when on the road it is like traveling with a companion and for that I am very grateful.

  14. The Internet is something nobody has figured out and people don’t get the message that these things can haunt you later. Great tips. I just try to be myself and speak up for the things I believe in and with what I want to say.

    1. True that you can do things online that come back to haunt you, Kerry. But being just yourself and speaking up for things you believe in can work against you as well, unfortunately.

  15. Really interesting thoughts here. It is a bit scary to think of social media records everything. I don’t really have a social media strategy, except to maybe reach more readers, maybe I need to think more carefully about this! 🙂

  16. Such a great article and with good points. I like your comment about influence and good impression. We sometimes forget, the internet is a way for us to make an impression. Like any other business platform, we can decide it that impression is good or bad.

  17. All good points, but I also think as a blogger I have to reach out to other bloggers. The blogging community is just that and by following and befriending those with the same interests is beneficial.

  18. Well said. It’s better to post less and with more thought than to create a stream of pointless content. Social media is great for providing lots of information and lots of nonsense. 🙂

  19. I think, all bloggers must be ready to be criticized. Catarina, you are a well appreciated blogger. your posts are shared on social media. I am on the other hand, not that great because, i am not asked to be connected with many people. My posts are getting shared, but not much.Yes, i am not a syndicated blogger.

  20. For me, when I write something my main concern is not key words and placement, although I know that it is important. My strategy is to build traffic and subscribers to my blog and build positive relationships with the blogging community. In the end my goal is to attract advertisers to make a modest living.

    I realize there are a lot of challenges to meet my goal . I just try to keep improving and learning by listening to others.
    My recent post Liberty School Chardonnay: #Wine

  21. Very topical and right on the money Catarina. I work with a company that does social media training with authors. I think it's important to 1) Hone in on the social media sites that can help you move forward with your goals 2) understand that it's not all about YOU:) I think you highlighted the most important thing which is …define your goal. What are doing out here? Laugh! Well done Catarina

  22. Love this post Catarina. You and I are so in agreement about not writing for Google. They are such the bully in my opinion. While I respect the way they keep us mostly free from unacceptable kinds of content, the way they go about it as it affects the blogger, is less than stellar.

    To your question, "Do you know what you are trying to accomplish on social media?" For me this has changed since I started blogging around 2008 or so. How do you see changing goals affecting how you are blogging?

    My recent post Raffle Fun and Free Giveaway for: Communication Toolkit for Introverts

  23. Very excellent post! I agree. Anything you do on social media has an impact on 'you'. I think this carries through to being online period. Nothing online is ever forgotten. If you are not careful, it could come back to bite you later. Think job interviews. Not everyone will agree with what you post so you must be prepared to be criticized. This one is the most difficult to handle, in my view.

  24. Appreciate your point about not writing for search engines. You have to write for people not robots. To be successful you think about your audience, not Google, nor anyone else's algorithms.

      1. My blog is personal not professional so I am not trying to promote myself, a business or drive a particular outcome. I use social media for different reasons. FB is really just to keep up with friends and family, while I use Twitter more for news and information. I do try to find an audience for my blog post, that's one goal. Another is to engage with people who I otherwise would not have the opportunity to interact with.

  25. Catarina – I feel I will always be behind. I am constantly looking for ways to improve my blog and find my target audience – not sure exactly where I'm going, or what I want to accomplish, but do know that social media has to be part of that. I love your posts – they are always so insightful.

    1. Thank you Lenie. Please start thinking outside of the box. You don't want to do what everybody else is doing. Find a small niche that you love working with even if it means you will have less readers. At least they will be interested in what you write about and you will enjoy what you are doing.

  26. Thanks Catarina, very timely and applicable outside of thinking about social media. I planned my afternoon to create a strategy for evolving my blog into a business. I have to think of my purpose and what value does my idea/product bring to others.

  27. This is a helpful post. Like you, I favor the rewarding of originality which I must balance with writing what my readers tell me that they want. A fine line sometimes. I very much dislike the idea of writing just to please the search engines. Having a plan is the way to reach goals, definitely.

      1. I have been an entrepreneur for 30 years and am now offering to help women over 40 start/grow their own businesses. My intent with social media is to provide helpful suggestions and attract them to my program. I'm in early stages yet. I have learned that, amazingly, Twitter is powerful in doing this and I'm just setting up my strategy with it. Thanks for asking.
        My recent post Really? I have to have a blog?

  28. Interesting and timely post. There are times when the social media landscape seems like one big game to capture the attention of search engines and attract legions of followers. In that game, the opportunities for real connections, thought leadership, originality, and being yourself can get lost. Blindly parroting or jumping on the bandwagon of what is trending disturbs me. This post is a nice reminder to me to not get caught up in the numbers game.

  29. Had I not just dove into blogging, I never would have figured out what to blog about. My posts varied this past year between teaching, writing, and traveling because that was a starting point. I became my own cheerleader and posted five days a week. I made lots of mistakes, but I guess I did so while laying fairly low. Ultimately, I realized it was harder to engage with a potential audience when I was covering such vastly different topics. With that in mind, I've narrowed the focus of my blog yet again to better jive with branding myself as a writer and editor. __Learning about social media is the same as learning about any new task. It takes time! I don't think most people that are not experts yet do much harm as they try to find their niche. Even much of what I learned in studying rhetoric and composition applies to branding, such as audience awareness, but in the struggle to learn, common sense often goes out the window.
    My recent post Review Etiquette: Be Specific

      1. How interesting to return to my comment almost two years later… it’s still a learning process that’s for sure. I don’t think writing with SEO in mind destroys writing. It’s just a reality in this day and age. Students should be taught these things in their English classes, but sadly typically are not. If I ever teach writing again, all that I know about blogging, etc. will definitely play a larger role in teaching literacy in general.

          1. Yes, SEO is on my mind (albeit a bit subconsciously) when I am writing creatively. I attended a writing session given by an Amazon representative where they explained how all of the information in an electronic text becomes meta-data that is searchable for customers. It's proved effective for my short Yosemite memoir in that customers actively search for key terms that are repeated throughout the text. As for short stories and novels, it also plays a role, but probably not as much as it does with a nonfiction text.

          2. That's sad news, Jeri, because it will have a negative impact on writing. Imagine what would happen to say, Hemingway, Dostoyevski and Thomas Mann if they were alive today. Maybe in the future the Nobel Committee will have to decide to stop giving a nobel price for literature?:-)

          3. I don’t see it as all that sad, just a reality of the revision process in this day and age. Can’t say I see the Nobel prize going away anytime soon because of SEO… 😉

          4. Jeri, I think it's because you are much younger than I am so you are much more used to SEO. Personally started out as a journalist in 1980. So for me it's important to let your writing flow. Even for newspaper articles. By the way, Swedish newspapers publish my articles even though I don't write for SEO.:-)

  30. This subject is very timely indeed. I have been doing a lot of soul searching about what I write and where I put my efforts for promoting. I have pulled back on the blogging groups and have subscribed only to those who reciprocate. However, that does not solve the issue of whether or not I am reaching anyone else outside those parameters. I used to Tweet a lot and then I realized that no one is actually listening to those tweets. So my thought is that I throw away most of the conventional wisdom and 'fly by the seat of my pants' and see where it all ends up. So to your points regarding social… it only matters if someone is listening.
    My recent post Motivational Monday Quote – 8/27

    1. True Cheryl. Why don't you find groups on Linkedin that your posts fit into and post them as discussions? Personally get my readers from Linkedin, direct and Google search engine. And also BusinessWeek.

  31. I found your article interesting and timely. I have been thinking about exactly what you have written about.

    For me, I agree with you about the reason and form I write. Maybe I should be more involved or concerned with key words and placement, but it isn't the primary reason I write something.

    As far as a stradegy? My main focus has been to build traffic and subscribers to my blog. After that, engage with the blogging community and build positive relationships. My ultimate goal is to attract sponsors and advertisers to make a modest living.

    The challenges to accomplish my goal are many. As long as I am open to learning and listening to others regarding what I could do to improve, I believe I have a shot at achieving my goal. 🙂
    My recent post Fresh Fig Jam Recipe

  32. Well put, Catarina. There is one trend that I see happening on LinkedIn which I don't like. It really irks me when reply to a question on LinkedIn and the questioner simply picks up my reply and plonks it on his or her blogpost. Of course, it mentions, Lubna on LinkedIn said…."xxxxxxxxxxx". But hey, my reply was for the LinkedIn audience and not for someone's blog when I don't know that person. Nor does that person provide a link to my profile, even as my answer is merrily lifted. Others are courteous and ask if you can be quoted on their blog. Well, I guess it takes all sorts.
    But LinkedIn is a great forum and so far, I restrict myself to LinkedIn, blogging and Google +
    My recent post Doing Max Vinyl (An Annie Ogden Mystery)

    1. Glad you agree with me Lubna! Have not come across the trend on Linkedin you mention. But that doesn't mean I have not been "quoted" somewhere. Actually, come to think of it, came across one who had cut and posted a section from an article I had written on his blog saying that Catarina Alexon wrote, but no link. Found out through Google Alert.

  33. I Love what you are doing Catarina since I can feel the passion and honesty for what you are writing about. This is so important and what makes us human 😀
    My recent post Social media measurement tools Klout Kred and Naymz

  34. Absolutely right Kathy. I know of one person who brands herself as an expert marketer to HNW individuals and goes on about how discretion is the word of the day on her website and then publishes inexplicably, excruciatingly personal blogs on a major site. Totally bizarre, and beyond amazing she doesn't see what she's doing to her company and personal brand. If you're going to say it on the internet, it's going to be seen and it's going to stay there for a long, long time.

  35. I've been in Executive Search for a long time and it's amazing how many otherwise really bright people don't think 'personal branding' when posting online. As a matter of course for entry into the job market I counsel candidates to review their social media profiles. Caterina's warning of what's out there is permanent is great advice. Thanks!

    1. Glad you agree with me Kathy. How do you react when you notice that a candidate is insulting other members of social networks? Or parroting by copying and pasting from HBR, NYT or whatever reputable source, just changing a few words, to appear "think tankish"?

  36. Catarina:

    As with any communications strategy we should have a plan for why we are online. Different tools like Twitter and Facebook are distinct from LinkedIn etc. Blogs can be used on all three but for different purposes. Are we looking for clients, building a brand, sharing our experience or all three?

    Thanks for the reminder,

    My recent post Product Development- 9 Critical Lessons Learned

  37. Caterina,

    To some extent, i think that in any case What we write reflects upon us. Sometimes we write to just let everyone know, sometimes our ego prompts us to write something to correct someone or sometimes, we write to just let off steam. I guess, writing reflects thought and also emotion at that point of time. Take about two dozen different posts by a person on a couple of topics and you have a characteristic of the person in front of you. Social media interaction is a more formal platform where a person basically guards himself lest he give the wrong impression.
    I however, have a question for you Caterina. Why must every word we write or say reflect upon us. Why must one use social media to "achieve" something. Why must he not let his thoughts flow and let people pick what they choose to. Why must one be always on guard. What is wrong in letting people know what you "really" think rather than what you "should" think?

    1. Taral, nothing is wrong with letting people know what you really think.

      However for example, being nasty and letting off steam will work against you. New software is already being used by companies that allow them to see everything a person has written on social media. And that kind of softwares will be used be everyone, just a question of how long it takes. And search engines record everything and forget nothing. So correcting someone in an insulting way may make you un-employable and stop people from wanting to do business with you. Simple as that. Don't write anything you don't wish to be associated with.

  38. Very interesting! This is something I am trying to be very conscious of as I am a huge networker on LinkedIn and have now started blogging. While I have been on LinkedIn, the other aspect of social media are still fairly new to me and before I put anything out there I run it through "filters"….including making sure it would be appropriate for anyone to read including my manager, family and colleagues.
    My recent post LinkedIn Recommendations on Resumes

  39. Excellent advice about having a blogging strategy. The blog I wrote yesterday on how to write a blog post came from my excel spread sheet of blog ideas. It's a constant process of refining your strategy to see what's working and not working. Frankly, right now I'm certainly using key words to bring people to my site, but my ultimate goal is offline connections so I'm writing for the people I want as clients and if they don't get to my site through search, I lead them there so they can check out the merchandise! Yes, we want to be found in search but, more importantly, we need to remember that we're in business and how is social media going to fit into the marketing mix to help us achieve our business goals.

  40. Catarina,
    Nice post and a word to the wise if anyone isn't being very careful. I've always said that everything you do is either a relationship builder or a relationship destroyer. The at goes for online interactions as well as in person.

    You asked what we are trying to do with social media. I am trying to build awareness of myself as a resource for business related blogging with a focus on business strategy. It's critical to me to project an image of professionalism. I believe my approach is similar to yours in this.
    My recent post Tips for Optimizing Photos and Graphics for Your Blog

  41. Brilliant insight, Catarina.

    The new Google algorithm is something I cannot complain about. Still, ranking has its limits. When I was a freelance website designer years back, I had some of the most outstanding search engine results. It did not translate into much business. Then, too, I was focused on a niche market that did not lend itself to a grand internet presence.

    Now, I've noticed that my blog has come up very high in the ranks. 1, 2, 3, on some search terms as they relate to my blog. However, those figures are misleading. They certainly do not translate into a flood of visitors. (I was Googled in a Russian search engine.) Today, I had 13 hits from Russia. Today, Argentina, 5; Qatar, 1. (Qatar?!)

    I firmly believe (stated in my blog) that social media of yesterday will become the business media of today. That will have some influence on the importance of search engine ranking. However, that influence may be to diminish the importance of search engine ranking. As stated in one posting on Linkedin: Saatchi and Saatchi said Facebook will replace email. Perhaps it will be a search engine as well.

    The exception would be if the website is the destination not the conduit through which one does business. I.e. L L Bean. But the destination is known. The site is for catalogue sales.

    In many cases, the website is analogous to a book. The book is the destination. In other cases, the website is the catalogue. L L Bean. The true destination is the shipping department.

    Am I off target or did I miss the point?


    My recent post Netopian Reality

    1. Thank you Slim. What's your strategy on social media?

      Search engine rankings isn't the only way to get visitors to your blog. There is no avoiding promoting it. My blog has hits from 86 countries. But not all from search engines.

  42. Thanks for bringing this awareness to social media. It is evolving toward the same good ole stuff that old-fashioned talking did – branded us as a type of person – but on a scale that is quite hard to comprehend. I also believe that since social media is just in its infancy the real value will begin to emerge as you mention, when software, analysts and engine intelligence crank it up a notch.

  43. Great post as usual. I would like to add that I believe interaction and engagement with your audience is very important as well — in fact equally important. I think this trend will only increase, especially as competition becomes more fierce. We must remember that the internet is still quite young. So yes, you're right on point here, but no matter what you write, if your readers don't feel you are listening to them and responsive, it can also greatly detract from your ability to influence — especially in the long run.

    Thanks for the great post, as usual!

    My recent post 5 Tips To Effectively Manage Your Time On Social Networking Sites &amp Social Media Tips For Your Business

    1. True Christian. Listening is a key aspect to influence. But no matter how much you listen you will not be a thought leader if your ideas and thought are just the same as everybody elses.

  44. Hi Catarina,

    Social media is to me a marketing tactic and must fit in to your overall marketing strategy. What you do and say must be consistent with all other elements. People forget that we do gain a perception of you and your brand from what you say and how you interact with others on social media platforms.

    1. Exactly Susan. It's always been important that all your marketing is consistent and the same message comes across everywhere. But in today's world it's a must. Your message must be exactly the same everywhere. If not people will notice and be confused.

  45. I look at social media as a means of sharing knowlege/ information within socially responsible parameters.
    It is a lack of social responsible action that led society to where we are – to change the quality of these actions is facilitated by social media.
    Thank you Catarina for starting this blog (is the interpreation correct – not savvy with the language)

  46. Hi all
    Social media – Thanks to LinkedIn the quality of connectivity between professional people has improved, the scope has widened and it also bridges thegender gap. I am a stong advocate of co-leadership – society is where it is today as a result of small family businesses run by conjoined leadership – diversity in thinking is a key in the success formula.

  47. Excellent post that reminds us to maintain our integrity in our work. I've always felt that I want my blog posts not just to woo the massess of people, but the right type of person who resonates with the type of value I aim to provide. I agree with you about the new google anayltics being for the better as they focus on quality.

  48. Absolutely, Catarina. The key is in the second work of "social media" – it's as much media as newspapers, magazine, radio, TV, etc., and with an even wider reach, potentially, than these more traditional forms. This means you can do your reputation even more damage if you get it wrong.

    Do it right, of course, and the sky's the limit – look at what Arianna Huffington did with The Huffington Post, for example.

    1. Yes Huffington Post is an excellent example of social media used very well.

      But people need a strategy even for how they behave and act on Linkedin and other social media networks. Look at all these people into posting MLMs so that they get paid when someone clicks on their post. How are they going to remove that label in the future? Difficult since they have got themselves a bad name for very little money.

  49. You're absolutely right. Most people only look at social media as marketing tool and not a branding tool. I always say that if you don't brand yourself, people will brand you, so you hit the nail on the head by saying you can also brand yourself in a negative light as well. Trolling is a such a huge problem on the web.

    1. Yes Dennis it's amazing how many people are just floating about not knowing what they are doing on social media. Then suddenly they will discover that they have a bad reputation, and then what? Difficult to start from scratch even since they have branded themselves in a negative way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.