In the YouEconomy, influence is everything. To reach your goals as a creative, a solopreneur or even a more traditional entrepreneur, you need people to not only buy into what you are selling, but you as a person.
With that in mind, we have created The Platinum Influence List, a ranking of the most positively impactful voices in the major fields that SUCCESS covers—from our bread and butter, personal development, to business and entrepreneurship, mindset and spirituality, money, health, and the entertainment and cultural figures who best represent all of the above. Our hope is that the practices these influencers use to grow and engage their massive followings will create insights for greater success in your own life and work.
Social media represents a platform where you can share yourself and tell your story. But it’s crowded. In order to break through the noise, as a personal brand or a business, you’ve got to create real impact and influence. It’s not easy, but it’s simple: consistent content, consistent engagement, consistent community management.
For somebody with notoriety—an actor, a brand—who wants to connect directly with their fans or their consumers, there isn’t a better place to do that than social media. For somebody who is relatively unknown and wants to cultivate their online image, there is no barrier to entry anymore.
“It used to be that there was some barrier to entry between you and the people you wanted to reach,” says John Oates, vice president of digital marketing at SUCCESS Partners. “And that barrier has completely fallen.”
Although the move to direct-to-consumer is a good thing, it’s also become more difficult to stand out. The key to differentiating yourself is authenticity. Don’t try to fit your brand into someone else’s box; that can come across as disingenuous.
Gary Vaynerchuk, Oates’ former mentor and boss, recently posted the idea that “fake it till you make it” doesn’t exist anymore. “It used to exist when nobody was watching,” Oates says, “but with the visibility of social media, it’s hard to project yourself as something that you’re not.” The ones who rise to the top have substance behind what they’re posting; they’re sharing inspirational and educational content and have a real brand to back it up.
So, understand what you have to offer, what your message is and how you can create and share that content to reach the right audience. For example, are you posting in places where they’re active? Are you using hashtags? Are you getting outside your bubble? Focus on these things, and you can kick-start your page and a following.
Once you have content creation down, engagement, which is oftentimes underutilized and undervalued, becomes the most important factor. “There is a notion in today’s society that size equals relevance,” Oates says. “That’s simply not the case. Size is just a number. … Engagement is vitally important if you want to actually get any value out of your social media.”
Although social media is one of the most effective forms of marketing because of its ability to target interests, and the platforms have become more and more robust when it comes to commerce, you have to focus on engagement first before you sell. He references Vaynerchuk’s book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook for the rules of success when it comes to engagement: Connect with people, develop a relationship, create that rapport, and then you can ask for something.
Engagement is really a measurement of how much people care about you on these platforms. If you want to create real impact with an active (not passive) following, you have to engage. Your social influence depends on it.
It helps to see who the biggest players are today, so without further ado, we present to you our first-ever Platinum Influence List. These rankings, compiled in late June and early July, utilize verifiable social media metrics sourced by independent third-party monitoring software. In addition to the total size of each influencer’s social media pages, we included a corresponding engagement rate, which scores the percentage of followers who interacted with (i.e. sharing, commenting, “liking,” etc.) the influencer’s content over a 30-day span.
Do you know any influencers whose data we should track for comparison? Let us know in the comments!