Influencers

Who do you listen to?

I’m really over “Influencers.”

You don’t have influence without community. You don’t have community without trust. You don’t have trust without relationship. You don’t have relationship without investing in others. That’s the ball game. What is your investment in others besides telling them what you think they should be doing?

Listen, when I get called an Influencer in my specific field, it makes me cringe. First of all, I can barely influence my husband to do something and we’ve been married ten years!

Secondly, the only “influence” I have is because people have invested in and supported me as I invest and support them. That’s not influence. That’s relationship. That’s credibility.

So if I say, “Hey this is my new favorite yarn” every freaking time I try new yarn… Where’s my credibility? Where’s my honesty? I’m just raving on a new toy. Of course! Because it’s shiny and new. How dare I dole that out to my community.

But, if I say, “Wow this is one of the better thick yarns I’ve tried. It works up quickly and is softer than typical bulky wool”, then I’m giving my community information. I’m adding value and I have built credibility.

A year ago you, random Influencer told me I had to get on Meerkat. It’s a “game changer.” It’s a must. Then you told me I had to get on Periscope. It’s a “game changer.” It’s a must. Now you tell me I must get on Snapchat. It’s a “game changer.” It’s a must.

But what you fail to see is that you have zero credibility. You have yet to show me why your voice should have influence other than you are an enthusiastic user of a platform and like shiny new toys but cannot commit to helping any of them grow or sticking with it. Why should your enthusiasm cause me to take action? Where is the relationship? Where is the added value?

Just because you are a big personality and are enthusiastic doesn’t mean you have influence. Not over me anyway.

This is really an unfortunate truth. It is hard — when someone is “new” in a field especially, not get caught up by the loudest voices, which is what I believe is giving them that “influence.” We are in time with social media that an Influencer is the loudest, most enthusiastic and frequent poster. These are false metrics. False influence. As people become educated they will leave that loud voice for a more knowledgeable voice with true influence. But that knowledgeable voice will have to work twice as hard to earn the trust.

Why?

Well because the audience has already been down the rabbit hole with the false prophet. They are skeptical now. You must work twice as hard to rebuild a relationship you never even broke. It is to the detriment of the newbie and to the frustration of the actual industry leader.

It is the unfortunate learning curve that is the problem here.

So we must do better. We must ask questions to those screaming the loudest. We must continue to press on when we have actual knowledge. And most of all, we must do better to build community. I will implore you, anyone reading this, to take stock of the people who influence you. There are in fact true leaders with what I call “earned credibility” who have a voice worth listening to. Are you listening to them? Those are the true leaders who have earned credibility and earned influence. Seek them out. They are there.