Salvador Dalí once said, “the secret of my influence has always been that it remained secret.”
When Klout announced this week that it would add the ability to share content directly from its social media influence platform, they let the cat out of the bag.
And the secret to influence is what we expected.
Or more precisely, content rich with insight, advice, education, information.
But let me rewind it back for a moment.
The rise of social media gave more of a voice to more people, and began a shift in marketing. It became possible for more people to be viewed as thought leaders, and it has become more important for marketers to utilize the voices of influencers, while becoming influencers themselves.
To the average person, this seems like a daunting task. How do you grow influence and authority about something from scratch?
Klout announced the launch of a new version of their software that would feature content suggestions for users to share on their social channels – the goal being to “not only measure influence, but also increase it.” With this announcement, Klout has identified solid content creation and sharing as the standard for developing influence.
That echoes what Buffer Founder and CEO Joel Gascoigne shared, when he noticed, “Some pretty awesome things have started to happen for me since I’ve been sharing great content on a daily basis. Combined with writing articles on my own blog, the fact I am always sharing so much great content means that people see me as someone who is knowledgeable on these topics.”
In addition, Klout’s new dashboard “intelligently recommends content that will strike a chord with your unique set of friends, fans, and followers. Helpful tags highlight fresh content that is starting to trend as well as items that closely match the interests of your audience members and are likely to resonate with them.”
While Klout’s next phase signals that influence is definitely tied to content and the quality of content we share, it’s not enough to create more content. The ultimate goal of content marketing is to produce quality education and information that a buyer (or audience) finds independently valuable.
Value needs to be the obsession. Once you’re valued, influence will follow.
Whether you use Klout or Buffer, sharing content relevant to your audience can actually be a simple exercise. Spend a bit of time getting to know who the already influential sources on a topic are. Follow them, and take a look at who they follow.
Sites like Twitter and Google+ have features that allow you to create and regularly interact with streams of people. Apps like TweetDeck and Hootsuite allow you to take a quick glance at multiple streams at once so you can create an “influencer” list and also monitor an important hashtag and retweet, like, and share.
Better yet, add your own commentary quickly and simply.
If you’re looking for ways to discover great content to share outside of social media, apps like Feedly allow to create a variety of “feeds” and pull content into them based on Google Alerts on keywords, or specific sources you’ve entered around certain topics. These are great to create a single dashboard pulling in content from all over and even allow you to share to some of the apps mentioned above.
Whatever tools or process you use, be mindful of what you choose to share, add your own voice to ongoing conversations and soon you may be able to guide those conversations yourself.