This is the most powerful information I have ever shared, anywhere. It’s built around three simple principles:
- Influential people want to promote people with great reputations;
- When influential people promote you, you become influential too;
- Helping others to the best of your ability builds your reputation rapidly, if you focus properly.
What do I mean by “becoming influential?” Most obviously you could gain followers or get extra clicks on links you share. Less obviously, you can gain the assistance of influential or powerful users to help you achieve almost any kind of goal.
Two simple examples:
Every time one particularly influential friend of my @TweetSmarter account retweets a tweet, it gets an average of about 2,000 extra clicks. So if you could get them to retweet you, it would be your tweet that would get those extra 2,000 clicks.
Another very popular user once added me to a list of people they recommended, and tweeted about the list several times. I gained several thousand extra followers in total on the days they tweeted about that list. Not only that, each time they tweeted about the list, a few minutes later @TweetSmarter got a huge spike in retweets, as people who learned about the account started reading and retweeting our tweets for the first time.
If you had been on that list, you could have gained several thousand followers and retweets. Here’s how you can become the person that gets promoted by influential users:
The “Super Advocate:” A simple way to quickly become incredibly popular.
Imagine that some significant person is always saying good things about you, promoting everything about you and your needs to their community. All your dreams and desires are important to them, and they support you and encourage others to support you as well. They are always promoting a positive image of you and your interests. This person is your “super advocate.”
Of course, realistically, you won’t find someone who will spend all their time supporting you. So your goal will be to get several influential people to spend some time advocating on your behalf and promoting you.
But: get the concept of “Super Advocate” into your head. Start to think about all the ways someone could be a super advocate. Taking an interest in you. Learning about your goals. Figuring out what matters most to you and coming up with resources or connections to help you reach those goals.
At a minimum, they would read your favorites, your blog, your tweets and begin promoting the things that seem to be important to you. It could start as simply as them retweeting one of your blog posts, or favorite tweets.
Okay, starting to get some ideas on what a super advocate might behave like?
Good. Because now, I’m going to blow your mind. I guarantee this concept will change your life. Not just your Twitter account, but your life.
Here’s what you do:
Start by finding someone you can become a “Super Advocate” for.
You are not trying to get people to do favors for you by doing favors for them, you are building a reputation (and skills). It is your reputation that will make people want to become a super advocate for you.
Focus on one person, and give them most of your time and effort. Figure out what you can do/are willing to do, and do it. Work at it.
Then, set up a plan to continue to support them at a lower effort level, and find a second person to be a super advocate for. Do everything you can for them. Then find a third person, and then a fourth, and so on.
Each time, focus most of your efforts on that one person. Give them everything you wish a super-advocate would give you, within whatever your own limits are. Focus on one person a week, a month…whatever time frame works for you. This won’t work if you don’t manage your time well. Don’t go too fast—go at a speed that works for you.
A simple plan
You have to find people first. Start with “How to find and engage influential Twitter users.” Second, realize that you will need to drop or move away from some people over time. You have to manage your time well. Always look for people who help others above all else. By helping them, you are multiplying your efforts, because you are indirectly helping them help others.
The skills you learn along the way will help you find better and better people to connect with. Eventually, by a combination of skills and reputation, you can get several new, powerful advocates to begin supporting you every month. And yes, the best of these people can, just by recommending you or sharing your links, get you thousands of additional contacts or clicks.
Be biased towards supporting people who are deserving, not just people who reciprocate. Build your reputation by giving to good people without expectation of reward. Many people not only won’t reciprocate, they won’t even know how to reciprocate. Over time, your example will teach them, and your reputation will grow. A simple tip: When you receive private thanks from someone, find a way to let them know about http://bit.ly/TweetThanks and the benefits of praising people publicly. Always make your praise public.
You will of course over time change what you do to support people. Always be learning, always be refining what you do so you can do more in less time for more people.
To dumb this down to the most basic effort, retweet someone until they notice and engage with you, and then move on to another person (while still maintaining prior relationships). If you picked the right people to engage with, you could build a powerful network in a matter of weeks just through retweets and a few conversations.
When popular users begin to retweet you, a lot of people will check you out. You will gain followers if you are responsive and available. Sometime a lot of followers. I’ve had people help me find tweets in the past, and credited them when I posted those tweets. The most helpful and engaging people gained a ton of new followers during the time their names were appearing on tweets from @TweetSmarter.
Let me point out that as incredibly easy, simple and powerful as this is…almost no one does it. You will stand out dramatically, and build a great reputation quickly.
What about automation?
You’ll want to be as available as possible to your key contacts. And you’ll want to keep track of what they’re doing so you can promote it where appropriate. Put them on a list and at minimum make a Twitter list widget you can look at frequently. So you’ll want to use tools, but you won’t strictly need automation. Informative updates can be updated, but you shouldn’t automate responses or following/unfollowing. You won’t need to. That’s right—this is much more powerful than all that automation software people are always trying to sell you.
Some cool things that happen
When people begin to learn from your example how to advocate for others, it can get pretty fun. If you don’t blog, start simple by auto-blogging some emails (click here to learn how). You’ll need a blog, because you need a place to promote and profile your key folks in more detail. Write about them individually and, eventually, in groups.
One thing that happens is that your efforts alone can create influential people, who then become your biggest supporters—real Super Advocates dedicated to you. Part of the magic is that you will create a community of influencers who have learned from your example at the same time as you connect with existing influencers. Think about that, and the true power of your example. It’s good karma time, baby!
The better an example you set in how to help others, the better they will learn what they can do for you. Always keep learning how to be better. Don’t skimp :)
The sneakiest secret of all
If someone terrifically interested in something you are doing or saying contacts you and strongly engages, you would of course put them on your list of people to consider advocating for, right? Here’s the secret: some of your most engaged contacts will be with your critics. When a critic gets in touch, forget the criticism and use the opportunity to network!
You’ll be amazed what happens. I will go on record as saying the majority of people who engage with you in critical manner will become great positive contacts for you when you treat the interaction as the opportunity it is.
I also recommend reading the several short lists on “how to become influential” at Quora.
Become influential by obsessing over helping people, one at a time. Think of it this way: do big things with a few key people, rather than small things with a lot of people.
A great place to start is by educating yourself on the concept of a personal learning network (PLN). This is a kind of concentrated version of that concept. Here are some great links for learning more about PLNs.
Think of everything some celebrity or important person could do for you. Make it an exercise in fantasy. Then try to become that person yourself, and you will build a reputation that can bring that fantasy to life. Amazing influencers love being super advocates for other super advocates. So start finding people to help, and help them!