Given the climate of the world right now, free time has become a more commonplace concept than usual for most corporations, small-business owners and entrepreneurs. But it can also be viewed as an opportunity to build influence with your network. If leveraged properly, your authority, or social proof, can act as a lifeline for your business — even during the most precarious circumstances. Here are five strategies you can activate today to extend its impact and hopefully help ease the quarantine blues.
1. Tell engaging stories to your followers.
Now is the perfect time to deviate from the norm. Yes, business is always in session, and your following looks to you for the best tips and tricks to grow their business. However, consider the environment. People are looking for ways to escape the frenzy. They are looking for ways to learn, earn and laugh.
Show your humanity, and share how you are navigating this time. Have a funny family story? Share it. Is homeschooling your children for the first time proving to be not so simple? Share it. You never know who your content will reach. Your potential customer or client may choose to do business with you because you decided to share.
2. Engage influencers with a call to action.
Don’t be afraid to leverage the platforms of industry influencers to help solidify your own. Many times, the content you put out may not get the response you desire because the call to action is unclear.
Choose five engaged influencers who you know will want to engage with your content, and tag them on your posts or videos. Ask them if they agree or disagree with your content and to tell you why. You may even ask them to add another useful point to your content to offer bigger and better value. When they do decide to like, comment or share your content, their actions increase the likelihood of more viewers seeing your stuff.
Association is key when it comes to building your social proof. Your credibility is automatically heightened when you can pair your brand with one that’s more familiar to the public.
3. Network via social media.
Now is the time to respond to all those ignored inbox messages and comments under your posts. When it comes to engaging and influencing others to connect with your brand, showing that you care by liking a comment or responding to a comment can hold its weight in gold. You (or someone on your team) should never be too busy to connect with those people who keep you in business. When someone tags you or your company in a post, especially if they have purchased from you, help boost your likeability by thanking them. Loyal customers are created one comment at a time.
Also consider having a virtual coffee session with someone who has been vying for your time. The fact that you took time out of your day, especially in a time like this, to connect with a fan, follower or colleague can yield a return more significant than you’d expect.
4. Offer perks in exchange for purchaser testimonials.
The biggest and best form of social proof building is word of mouth. Contrary to what society may suggest, people love good news. Buyer decisions are influenced by what they read from others outside of the company who have something positive (or negative) to say. Yelp and Google reviews, Amazon and company-centric ratings help influence who buys and who keeps their money in their pockets. Offer an incentive for your buyers to leave a review. Written testimonials are great, but video is better, since it allows the viewers to catch the emotion of the purchaser, delivering a bit more realness.
5. Boost your own platform, and ask people to be a part.
No matter how large or small you think your platform may be, it is one of your most valuable assets. The truth is that people love being a part of something bigger than themselves. Why not open the door for people to use your platform to fill the void?
If you have a blog and you need more content, ask for guest contributors to submit to help you grow your readership. If you have a podcast and you feel like you need another voice to further the conversation, send out an open call for possible guests. Sharing your platform allows you to tap into a new audience, and your guests can do the same.
If you want to go further than you are right now, engage other people to help you get there. Be sure to qualify anyone you allow to use your platform. You want to choose those who share similar values with you so that you can keep your brand’s image intact.