Influencer is a word that's thrown around way too much today.
The idea of being an influencer is that you are popular, entertaining, knowledgable, or simply attractive in some manner. Social media gave anybody who wants to be a somebody the platform to call themselves an influencer simply because they have followers.
But real influence isn't measured in followers. Having the most likes is just an indication you may have had a good product at one time or another, then people forgot about you because you stopped showing up on their timeline, so they don't unfollow you because - out of sight, out of mind.
Real influence is measured in engagement. How often do people take action because of your influence? How many conversations are started? How many ideas take root? How many people engage?
Many people are seeking out the secret formula to influence, and I'm going to share it today.
There are two ways to effectively and rapidly grow your influence.
The first is by criticizing.
Some of the greatest people with the highest level of influence are criticizers. They have the spiritual gift of criticism. They create blogs, start YouTube channels, and post Reels on Instagram criticizing others in their arena of influence. Entrepreneurs, politicians, investors, teachers, parents, pastors - there are platforms built by individuals in each of these fields (and more) that specialize in criticizing.
Why is this one of the best ways to build influence? Because people love feeling better about themselves. If I can create the perception of a flaw, or pinpoint the real flaw in an individual that I know has more success than me and others, it gives me credibility because that person is now less than me. I know more than them. I'm doing something right that they aren't doing. By tearing someone else down I build myself up, and in turn, make others feel built up as well.
I didn't say it was a good way to build influence, but I did say it's one of the best ways. What's wrong with this method? It creates artificial influence. Criticism is seasonal. It's cyclical. That pastor who got caught in adultery six months ago may have stirred up enough people for someone to devote 10 blog articles over the course of a month bashing them and saw they saw their viewership rise to over 1,000 for the first time. But, now, that same pastor is settling in privately to counseling and rebuilding trust with their spouse, and those same people in an outrage six months ago are looking for the next person to rage about.
If you aren't up-to-date on who you should be tearing down, you'll miss your opportunity to build yourself up.
Now, let's talk about the second best way to grow your influence.
In fact, building people up and adding value to their lives is the BEST way to grow your influence. Because while criticism lets people feel better about themselves, edification actually lifts people out of feelings and into practical growth.
Remember, authentic influence is not about the number of followers you have anymore. It's about engagement. And nothing galvanizes people to engage like pointing out their value.
Try this next time you're interacting with someone who does something for you...instead of just saying Thank You and then leaving. Add WHY you're thanking them to the equation. Point out their value.
Dining at a restaurant: Before we leave, I just wanted to tell you I gave you a 30% tip because I was so impressed with your attention to detail. I can be a diva when I order my food, but even in spite of my complicated order everything came out perfectly which means you offered up clear communication to the kitchen staff. That skill is going to make you even more of a success in the future. This experience was great, and I hope we get you as our server next time!
Looking someone in the eye and not just pointing out their value (their communication skills), but adding value (there's even more success in your future) is a game changer. Now, that server knows that they want you at their table whenever you come in, or if they don't get you, they're more likely to tell your server what a great customer you are and to really engage you with quality service.
So, go find someone today and build them up. Point out their value, then add value to them. And, before you know it, you'll be a real, authentic influencer.