Sounding Off: Michael Cohn – “Your structure of influence through Social Media”
Social media has been around for a while now and you are working it effectively for your business. You may be tweaking and adjusting as you go but your basic structure and your basic approach to social media is solid and unaffected.
Adjusting as you go
The reason (and it may be obvious to you and to many other people) that you need to adjust as you go is because the needs of your clients as well as the needs of your business don't always stay the same. They change over time and you have no choice but to change as those needs develop. One of the first (and most important) questions that you need to ask is what you are trying to achieve through your social media efforts. Your ultimate goal (whether for your clients or for your own business) is to develop a solid, effective online reputation that will carry you far or carry your clients far. As you go along that path, you will grow and learn and develop and mature.
Pretty much everything that you do online will alter your online reputation just a little bit. Of course, the big picture will be quite different than what you started out with and you will not necessarily see a dramatic change with each small change that you make. However, in the end, there will be significant and extremely positive changes to your online reputation or to the reputation of your clients. Influence and influencers are critically important to your professional success. When you are working with social media, you undoubtedly understand that your success through those tools are extremely dependent on networking, interacting regularly with your social communities, and identifying and forging relationships with influencers. Each piece is vitally important to your success.
Choosing your influencers
The first thing that you need to do is to identify exactly who your most significant influencers are. Once you have been able to do that, you can figure out where to place them in your structure of influence. If you consider the structure, you would place your influencers at the top of the structure. All other aspects of your social media structure would cascade downward (blogs, forums, eBooks, etc). As you are on the road to identifying your influencers, there are ways in which you can establish connections and get to know them quite easily.
Identifying a new structure
In your social media structure, you not only need to identify and choose your influencers but you also need to connect your influencers with your target audience. That may take more doing than you realized it would take. The reason that it may be challenging is because there is a chance that your target audience is intimidated by your influencers. It is your responsibility to bring them out and make them feel as comfortable as possible. It will definitely pay off.
The next thing that needs to happen is that you need to get your target audience to be willing to step out of their comfort zone. It may take some convincing and it may be frustrating but if you can manage to succeed at this, the rewards will be much greater than the effort that you have put in first.
The synergy between your influencers and your target audience
Once you have aligned everyone, your structure will start to sing. Your influencers are undoubtedly important and your target audience members are equally important to you. Once you have gotten to this point, you won't have to do that much. Your influencers and your target audience will be sharing a meaningful relationship that will take care of itself and it will be significant for everyone involved. Your influencers have the power to give a great deal to your target audience and your target audience members will take what your influencers are giving, absorb the information like sponges, and run with it. It truly will be poetry in motion.
With the coupling of your influencers and your target audience, they have the potential to really take your business to the next level and to make sure that it keeps on growing and developing. Between you and your business, your target audience, and your influencers, you are a very powerful and exciting combination of people and organizations. However, it is important to remember that you are dealing with people and each person is different. It is up to you to figure out which combinations of people go best together. Your structure of influence and the activity that the people within your structure produce are all important and will all contribute to your success.
Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies. His expertise includes business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development. Mr. Cohn earned a Master's degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master's degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.