Maybe Becoming an Influencer Shouldn’t be the Goal?

I had a wonderful opportunity to speak at Hootsuite’s #HootupSG Social Gurus Series: LinkedIn in Singapore recently. I enjoyed the evening immensely and the interaction with attendees afterwards was superb. So thank you Hootsuite for inviting me to speak.

After the event was over, one lovely chap asked me about blogging. Should he? Where should he publish his blogs? What about key words, etc, etc, etc… There were so many questions, and my answer then and now is simple: don’t worry about any of that and just focus on being awesome.

Sure you need to be mindful of a few logistical things, but don’t let it overwhelm you. If you want to blog, then get going. The best starting point is to blog on LinkedIn. It’s there, it’s easy and it gives you awesome exposure. Once you’re flowing, launch your own blog (WordPress, blogger), which is super important too, but start in the easiest place you can to ensure you get started.

Just don’t get bogged down in details.

I started my presentation talking about the irony of people calling me an ‘influencer’. I definitely take it as a compliment, but when I look back to the beginning of my journey (first personal blog launched 10 years ago, professional blog five years ago), I didn’t start with this goal.

I started because I believe I’ve learnt a lot on my journey and I just really want to share my unique perspective, hoping it will help others along the way. I share because I really do care. Hey I shared on email long before social media entered our lives. I shared jokes too. Jokes are important.

But building a profile and being known for something came easy to me. It is intuitive. It’s the core of who I am. I love it and it gives me a great sense of satisfaction, because hopefully, someone will gain something from it.

I appreciate this is not the case for everyone.

If I think of the key things that are holding people back from blogging, I’d say it’s:

  • Worth – not believing they have anything valuable or unique to say. Let me tell you a secret. Everyone has something valuable and unique to say – EVERYONE
  • Fear – (especially in Asia) of being mocked, considered arrogant, not being successful at it, etc… It’s tough putting yourself out there and you’re not alone. Every time I work with a CEO to launch their first blog, they are as terrified as anyone else. You’ve got to block those nasty fear voices
  • Where to start – well I can help you there – a few ideas below
  • Time – this is the biggest issue. If you want to blog and become known for something, you definitely need to dedicate time to it. If you just can’t blog (and let me tell you, if there’s an influencer without a blog, I haven’t met them) at least actively participate on social media to build your presence as a starting point. Blogging does take time. It also takes commitment. You’ve got to keep going and going and going, even if it’s quiet out there. It’s also getting noisier now, so being heard is harder. The ‘noise’ isn’t all good though, so focusing on being really awesome will help you the most

So where do you start?

Well you’ve got to get focused. What is your unique take on the world and what do you want to be known for?

I ran a quick meditation at the #HootupSG event, asking the audience to focus on one of these questions:

  • What do I want to be known for?
  • What makes me stand out in a crowd?
  • When I light people up, what am I talking about?
  • What is my expertise? Am I unique in it?
  • What are my core values?
  • What comes easily to me?
  • What do I read about until the early hours of the morning?
  • What do I get up early for – eagerly?
  • What do I enjoy?
  • What gives me energy? What feeds my spirit?
  • What do people compliment me on?

I recommend selecting one question and really thinking about it. Take yourself to a higher place, focusing on who you are and what you want to be known for. I should point out that your answer might be completely different to what you think it will be, so don’t be surprised.

If you do come up with a more philosophical answer – way above what you’re expecting – that’s really cool. Your job now is to think about how this can translate to the professional career you want for yourself? Once you work that out, use all of the power of social media to get you there, because that is what social media can do for you. It’s incredibly powerful.

I also talked about the importance of why you want to build a professional profile. Your why is what helps you commit to building a strong and credible presence.

Just in case you’re interested, here’s why I do what I do.

I fundamentally believe in the power of social media to lift our world into a new era for humanity. We are already seeing it’s impact – and it’s definitely not all positive – but I strive to be part of the gang driving the positive power of social media forward.

I also believe in the power of content marketing to fundamentally transform how we do business, and when we change business and how it’s done, we can lift the world up and all enjoy a kinder, more harmonious and peaceful world, one that takes care of the environment.

Sure it’s a lofty why, but it keeps me focused every step of the way. That’s what I’m in this game for. What’s your why? What do you want to achieve?

Becoming an influencer was never my why, because it’s just too ego-centric. If you are only focused on ego, I don’t believe you can become a great influencer. To build your movement, you need to inspire people with your ideas. You need to help them learn something that’s valuable to them. You need to make them feel. You need to touch their hearts and minds. It needs to be about them, not you.

You can be focused on ego, of course, but if you go deeper than that, you’ll really start to shine. A great personal brand will also follow you through your life and become part of the positive legacy you leave behind. I love that as an idea for myself. The more I give, the more I gain – and I’m not talking about gaining stuff.

It all depends on what you want.

Just remember the world has shifted to a customer-centric mind-set. This means anything you create has to be created from the perspective of your customer, your audience. Just put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself – is this serving them? If it is, you’re off to a great start.

Finally, building a strong and credible brand, and becoming an influencer, is not a competitive sport. It just can’t be. You’ve got to focus on doing your thing brilliantly, and you’ve got to block out the ‘noise’ around you. Someone else may get more likes, comments, interactions, followers. I get it. But if you’re in it for the accolades, you might want to choose another sport.

Definitely learn from other’s around you, but focus on what you want to share and then share, consistently, and keep going, no matter what. OK?

Right here’s my presentation from the #HootupSG event if you’re interested.

Really keen to hear any thoughts or feedback? Even if you disagree, that’s cool, but remember to be kind. Enough trolls out there right?



And please, if you like this, I’d love a comment, a discussion or virtual high five. Of course, please also feel free to share with your communities. That’s what this is all about today – sharing and giving to each other. If you like my style and what I talk about, feel free to follow me on LinkedInTwitter or on Facebook. Thanks for reading.

3 thoughts on “Maybe Becoming an Influencer Shouldn’t be the Goal?”

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