Now here’s the tricky part: Scott is in the business of influencing people to connect with Ford. He’s an influencer with a great reputation. He’s also a great guy. It occurred to me the other day that the simple fact that I recommend him often means I have leveraged myself into the position of influencing people to follow him. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it’s a win-win situation.
As you know, win-win is ideal.
2. Provide Valuable Content
Some marketers or brands have great authority. For instance, I always read tweets from Harvard Business Review, because I learn a lot from them. And I retweet them. I look great because I’m recommending something excellent to my 19,000 or so Twitter followers. HBR benefits by reaching all those readers through me.
Some influencers have status. (These categories overlap, of course.) For instance, many direct marketers like to read copyblogger.com, so founder Brian Clark has status with people like me; not because he has a lot of followers, but because of the quality of his writing.
3. To Build Clout, Solve a Problem
Brands often get respect when they have hundreds of thousands of followers or high Klout scores—or both. So, if you want to build the number (and quality) of influencers for your company or brand, you need to engage influential people in key categories.
That can be a challenge for a number of reasons. For example, customers will reach out when they have a problem and suddenly the social medium becomes a back door for customer service. That’s why I think it’s a great idea to have two social media areas, and possibly accounts—one for your brand and one for customer service.
@Comcastcares did a great job of turning around the whole image of the company by responding with excellent service to issues it found on its Twitter page.