I’ve been called a HR Influencer. I’ve been called a lot of things. In fact, there always seems to be confusion in the HR industry about what we call people: influencer, blogger, expert, guru, advisor, analyst, leader. The list goes on. In reality, you can (and will) wear multiple hats and titles in your industry as you interact with different groups of people.
I thought I’d share my thoughts on what it really means to be an influencer in the HR space, or in any space really. First, you need a common definition of what being able to influence really means. Being an influencer definitely does NOT mean being the puppet-master.
I like the definition that Dorien Morin (@MoreInMedia) gave in her recent article on Social Media Today. In her article How to Increase Your Influence on Twitter, Dorien said, “An influencer affects someone. As in- the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen. So without telling people what to do exactly, or without specific instructions, the actions of the influencer affects the actions of the person being influenced.”
I see many people trying to influence other people to buy things, to start or stop doing something or to be part of something specific. I’m guilty of all those things. It’s not bad to do that, but that doesn’t mean you are influential. I think the fine line you walk in becoming influential involves several less-tangible skills:
- Sincerity- Being able to tell people what you like and really meaning it. Not promoting things, products, vendors or people that you don’t believe in.
- Sharing- In order to be considered an influencer, you must share content. This means that you not only have to share links to content, but you also need to share your analysis on what the stories mean for your industry. Whether you read an article then incorporate that into your own blog or whether you just add comments to the article and via sites like Twitter or LinkedIn, you must be sharing your opinion. Another point that helped me gain status as an influencer is that you have to share (give) more than you receive. You do this for free, any chance you get.
- Constant curiosity- You need to ensure that you read a TON on other industries. When people ask me how I do it, I recommend reading science sites, psychology and/or sociology journals, design books, magazines on specific cities or other areas of interest you’d never naturally connect directly to HR. You need to start thinking about how your curiosity about other topics impacts your approach to HR.
- Consistency- This is the most important skill in my opinion. You MUST be visible consistently. You must share your knowledge and opinions consistently. You must give back to your larger community and be helpful consistently. If you do any of those things on an inconsistent basis, you will either never gain influencer status or if you have it, you will lose it.
If you approach connecting with other professionals in your industry in a manner that is helpful, sincere and consistent, you will gain friends and followers organically. These relationships will lead to business opportunities as well as true friendships that you would have never made otherwise.
I encourage you to read all of Dorien’s tips in her article because they can be applied to building your influence skills on Twitter as well as other sites. Good luck and let me know if I can be helpful as you create your own influence in our market.
Love the post Trish – definitely you hit on what is important for people to think about when trying to become more influential in HR or in any field really. One more tip I would add is to try and develop and become associated with a unique Point of View. Something whether it is a specific sub-area or just a way of looking at the topic in a way that becomes sort of ‘yours’ and gets to be part of your profile so to speak. So that you own it and then can build out from there. Super post!
@steve- Thanks so much. I agree, unique POV is certainly helpful!
Great post! I wish more would take a page out of your book and be more “helpful, sincere, and consistent”.
@George- Thanks for the comment. While I can’t weigh in on your consistency, only you can do that, I can assure you that I have always found you to be helpful and sincere. I think by doing the type of work you do, you help more people in our industry than you can ever imagine!