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How to FutureProof Your Influence

What One Leader Discovered About the Difference Between Impact & Influence

We often use the term “Influencers” to describe people with significant social media followings. Influencers have become today’s media titans, sought after for everything from product placements to timely trends. What’s the difference between influence and impact? Fans and followers? Sizzle and staying power? I sat down with the guy who literally wrote the book on all this and more. Behind Jeremy Goldman’s almond shaped, opaque brown eyes is a visionary at work. For nearly 20 years, Jeremy has been spearheading long-term marketing strategies and developing insights for world-class brands like Consumer Reports, Amtrak, Kiehl’s US Marine Corps, Collage and Unilever. One of the highlights of his career was selling the branding he developed to Mobileye to Intel for $15 Billion. Now Jeremy is a futurist, business owner, author and entrepreneur. He founded FUTUREPROOF to help business leaders anticipate the future of high tech and societal issues. He hosts a podcast of the same name and has featured notable guests such as Seth Godin, Tim Draper, Dorie Clark and Rand Fishkin. What does it mean to be an influencer? “Lots of people are chasing that elusive title now,” Jeremy explains. “Influencers have the power to influence followers’ opinions and emotions. Also, influencers can largely affect followers’ decisions in different aspects of life.” With influence comes responsibility. “Because of the sway an influencer can have on others’ lives, I believe that influencers should be honest, genuine and choose carefully the type of content they post because it will have a positive or negative impact on followers who consume it,” he advises. What advice would you offer aspiring influencers? Jeremy offers five strategies for growing an engaged, connected, and powerful community of influence:

  1. Stick to a specific niche: “Sticking to one specific niche on social media platforms helps influencers to create consistent and convenient content. Also, it helps you to learn more about your followers/audience interests. Content should be valuable (in the niche) all the time; this is the best way to gain respect and trust from the followers.”

  2. Add a touch of personality (humanity) to the posts: “Posting useful and consistent content is the first thing to do to become a successful influencer. However, the sense of perfection every single day in every single post makes the account unrealistic and detached from people’s lives. Therefore, it’s necessary to add a touch of personality and humanity to your posts, and share messy moments of real-life in different situations. You can use these messy moments to foster conversation or offer solutions to your followers.”

  3. Engage with your followers: “Engaging with followers’ comments, questions and opinions is important. Be sure to reply to their queries when you raise a hot topic of discussion. Also keep in mind that you don’t have to handle or pay attention to the negative comments! Sometimes, it’s better to just remain disengaged with negativity.”

  4. Always be socially responsible: “Influencers have real power over people and they can motivate them to be more responsible towards society. For example, during the pandemic lockdown times, some influencers played a big role in publishing the right information and raising awareness of the pandemic. It's necessary, therefore, to be socially responsible and encourage followers to do the same; first, because we’re humans who live the same destiny, and second, this social responsibility builds trust between influencers and their audience.”

  5. It’s all about the quality! “The very important thing to consider on social media is the value and the quality of the content you provide. It’s not necessary to post a huge amount of content to get noticed, it’s more about the value of the content you provide.”

An Influencer’s Life Isn’t Always Easy Influencers are consistently marketing themselves, their ideas, their companies, or their lifestyle. As a result, the subsequent scrutiny can feel personal, especially for first time influencers. Jeremy has learned to take his stress in stride after discovering a routine to regain perspective in difficult moments.. “Practicing yoga (ten minutes) two-three times a week helps; it brings peace to the mind and reduces anxiety and chronic worrying. Also, it helps in bringing relaxation to the whole body and increases muscle strength.” “As for handling the daily stress resulting from work or daily responsibilities; my favorite one is doing quick exercise for five or ten minutes; running, walking, or pushups,” he shares. This reduces the stress largely and controls the negative emotions and thoughts.” Sometimes a five minute fix is more valuable than a grand gesture. For inspiration and strategies to access your own resilience and create greater influence, explore Jeremy’s FutureProof podcast and follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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