Ive never thought of myself as an influencer and up until recently I had no idea what that meant. Someone who has influence on someone, like a mentor, is what I’ve always understood it to be. However, as I’ve recently discovered, its more then just bing a mentor.
There are a few different paths of influence that I’ve discovered recently. Parental influence is the first kind where we as parents have a major impact on our kids. The second type of influence is socially, largely through the social media circles we naturally find ourselves in (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Lastly there is Brand Influence.
Parenting, up until a kid turns 18 teaches their kids foundation truths from respecting yourself and others, loving others and being loved, right from wrong, good versus evil and more. Once a kid turns 18, or they go off to college or career, a parents role switches from foundational teaching to one of influence.
My kids are always saying what they want to be when they grow up. Knowing that they are five and three respectively, they are going to change their minds hundreds of times before they finally figure out what they really want to be. However, it would be dismissive of me as their father to just say, “No, you can’t be insert dangerous career choice.” Instead I offer them something better, let me explain.
Conversations with my 5 Year old
Last night I had a short conversation with Ethan, my five year old about this. We were coming home from a wedding rehearsal I was performing, and we passed by a National Guard Armory. Ethan glanced over and saw the huge Army trucks and with glee shouted, “Daddy, I want to be in the Army.” I asked, “How come you want to be in the Army?” He looked around the van for a few seconds and replied, “I want to drive those trucks.” My thought was as a concerned parent, “You don’t need to be in the Army to drive a big truck.” However, what I said was, “What do I always tell you?”
His response (and now my three year old joined the conversation):
“Follow your heart and walk with Jesus.”
My reply was, “You’re right buddy.” Follow your heart and walk with God and your mom and me will support you. Not two minutes later after explaining some of the things we saw at the Armory, he exclaimed, “I don’t want to be in the Army now, I want to be a firefighter and a policeman.” In which I chuckled and reiterated, “What do I always tell you?” And again [t]he[y] said, “Follow your heart and walk with Jesus.”
My heart for my kids is to help them walk with God. We want our kids to be something great when they grow up. Our intentions for our kids are great and we want whats best for them. But, pushing them to do or be something that you wish you could be isn’t helping to “point them in the way they should go.” Take social media and brand influence out of the picture and your family is and will always be your greatest influence.
Facebook has been around 13 years, Twitter for 11 years and Instagram for 7 years respectively. My kids have grown up on these channels. If you look at my channels, you will see pictures of my kids, fun we have and more. Maybe your kids and adventures you have are on your channels too. In fact, some of us get paid money, in reviews, products and more to post on our social media channels (more on that below).
The circles you have on social media portrays your personality, social [in]justices you believe in, and more. What you post actually matters to the people you are “friends with on Facebook,” whether you believe it or not. Your influence on them can, as they say, “make or break you.” Personally I have lost friends because of a post or picture I posted and vice versa and ended up in a heated exchange.
You will not be able to change people’s mind by getting into an argument on social media. Feeding the twitter and Facebook trolls won’t get you anywhere but a headache and possibly unfriending someone.
There are people on social media who’s job [it seems like] is to do nothing but make you mad. Don’t engage with them. Your other friends see what you respond with and can damage your “reputation.” Someone once said, “What you do in private matters most,” however I want to expand on that and say, “What you do on social media mattes most.”
Your circle of influence on social media is a great thing. Social media is a powerful tool to help people from family and friends to brands engage with you. I know personally, my in-laws and parents see a picture of my boys, they comment on it and engage with it. They love it. They love seeing pictures of their grandkids. Social media can be a tool to help you, don’t make it a weapon.
I haven’t really ever been into podcasts before. I’m not sure why exactly I’ve never been into listening to podcasts. Recently, Doug French of Dad2Summit and Jeff Bogle of Out with the Kids started a podcast entitled Into the Scrum. Into the Scrum is a podcast about how online dads can get gigs, support colleagues, and lift all boats. As a new dad blogger, I’ve come to realize that there are a lot of great dads out there doing some really great things. This podcast has both inspired and wrecked me as a new[er] dad blogger.
One of my personality traits is building relationships with others and can talk to just about anyone. My wife reminds me that this is one of the reasons she married me. Building relationships and talking to people just comes naturally to me. I enjoy it. On the flip side, building relationships with brands and marketers is completely foreign to me. Most of the time I over think it, probably because they have a big influence over me, and fail to create a relationship. However, I think I’m not the only dad blogger out there that feels the same way.
In a recent article on Forbes.com, Neil Howe writes,
According to InstaBrand, advertisers reported a return on investment of $9.60 per $1 spent on influencer marketing in 2015—up from $6.85 per $1 spent in 2014. Supporters argue that influencers wield the most influential marketing tool of all: word of mouth, which an overwhelming majority of consumers trust more than any form of advertising. Furthermore, a McKinsey study found that word-of-mouth influence doubles the sales of paid advertising and boosts the customer retention rate by 37%.
I’m inspired by the content of so many dad bloggers out there. They are apart of some great campaigns to help reach a lot of people through their influence. I see them posting on Instagram, tweeting things on twitter and writing on their blogs and Facebooks about so many different things. However, this is one of the areas that I’m wrecked with.
Brands love it when you do the work and what gets posted gets engagement behind it. Remember the ultimate goal, I think, is to get others to engage with the brand that you are working with. Word of mouth influencing boosts customer retention by 37% and the best word of mouth influencing is you. What’s frustrating is when you do the work and nobody engages with it.
You’ve created some creative picture or video for your channels and nothing. I’ve had many things that I put thought and effort into only for minimal engagement. Whereas I’ll share a picture of something random, that took no effort at all and get more engagement. Its frustrating honestly. The rollercoaster of being an influencer on social media has many turns, bumps, hills and is very emotional. If you hang on long enough you’ll get that one (or more hopefully) high engaging post that makes you happy.
Help a Brother (or sister out)
As I’ve listened to Into the Scrum, I’ve been engaging with more people who write and post stuff on Facebook, like and write comment on their Instagram post and not just retweet but comment and retweet their tweets. One thing I heard on Into the Scrum was a story (and forgive me if the details aren’t exact) about how Jeff Bogle was doing an insurance campaign. He then asked a few guys in his circle of influence to just engage with it on twitter. They (I think there were 4 or 5 of them) engaged with it, the brand saw the engagement and ended up asking some of the guys to be apart of another campaign down the road, in which they did.
How easy is it to help someone by engaging in a post or tweet? It’s easy to repost things on Facebook, but take the next step and comment on it. And if you really like it, or you just want to see someone succeed then share it. And this brings me to a point that I want to make loudly, if I’m a dad blogger and you are dad blogger, then we are on the same team, doing the same thing, working with a brand on influencing others. Enough with the competition amongst peers. We are all on the same team, sometimes struggling through content and engagement, and your engagement, shares, and comments helps more then you know.
We all have our circles on influences from being a parent and helping to teach kids in the way they should go to being a valuable presence on social media and in turn with brands. As the tag line says on Into the Scrum, we need to be “helping each other get gigs, supporting colleagues and lifting all boats.”