When you have an association with somebody else, you don’t have to be scratching around for acceptance.
You bring people in to you, your message is reflected out from you.
This article is about the fellowship you have with others. This means that things can be more fun, when you both make up the rules together, without looking for reach.
Association is about being relatable to others and identified for the thing that you do. The opposite of this is sitting in a place where you think you are more worthy.
This article has its roots in the recent You Are The Media Lunch Club (March 28th) where our main topic was influence with Dr. Sevil Yesiloglu from Bournemouth University. There were so many areas we went into where we could have kept the conversation going beyond the time we have.
It made me realise that being influential and working with influencers is such a topsy turvy space. Whilst people are getting to grips with what it is, how do they approach? We covered a lot of ground from treating people as walking billboards, where to find others who can amplify your message and how do we decide who is influential? It was a real honest session.
I wrote a recent article on can anyone be influential? The conclusion was to, show up, do the work, distribute your message, people connect, your space grows. It doesn’t matter what you call yourself when the right people are listening.
Back To School
However, the whole thing around finding influencers and getting others to validate what you do and what your business does is no different than when you went to school.
Influencers are the popular kids who other kids liked to follow around.
These were the people who had better looking girlfriends/boyfriends. They wore better trainers and were far cooler.
It didn’t matter if you tried to be friends with the cool people at school. They were just as easy to pick you up, as they were to drop you. For them, it was all about popularity and if you hung around with them you could hopefully be been seen as hotter than you really are and accepted by those who wouldn’t really give you the time of day.
On the other side was the indie group of kids. It didn’t really matter what others thought. It was more the sharing of common interests, what we loved and the people we hung around with. When Nirvana/Oasis/Pavement released an album this brought us closer together. When someone discovered a Doors album, people listened. It just brought everyone closer together who had something in common.
Where We Are Today Still Links Back To School
This is where we all are today with our businesses. You do not need to be the coolest, prettiest or most liked. You want to belong to something that is real and genuine.
Today’s influencers are the popular kids at school, they are ready to pick you up, just as much as they are
In other peoples eyes, they are the prettiest, the richest, or the loudest, or they have reach because they are the prettiest, the richest, or the loudest.
What About You?
There is an alternative that is away from looking to hang-out with the popular kids.
It is about building something that others feel attached to, rather than you obsessing about wanting more.
Look at it this way, no one wants to be associated with a company that talks about themselves all day on LinkedIn. No one wants to hang out with a company that has no soul on it’s ‘news page’ that is all about what they have done, or how they can benefit you. This is completely meaningless. People associate with others they feel connected to and at home with.
Who you are associated with and what you have an association to means being a part of something where you have the right people behind you.
I look at everyone who is part of the You Are The Media community, as someone where there is a connection. These may be people where we will never meet but could subscribe to the weekly email or are active participants.
The thing is, those who step forward and come to Lunch Clubs, come to the You Are The Media Conference, pick up the discussion on the Facebook page or even a one to one email exchange, are all part of the same group where we are associated with each other. In my eyes, the influencers are within the networks we create, not wanting to bring in strangers where there is no affiliation.
These are the people who will back you up in social spaces, pick up the baton and ensure that you do the work together. This is much more fulfilling and is a very real thing. It is all about having the right people behind you. You discover the new indie album together, rather than ingratiating yourself in someone else’s space for a short amount of time (or them to come to you).
Those who will stand together and widen within their own circle’s links to the nano-influencer space that is building in resonance. We discussed this at the You Are The Media Lunch Club. As Dr. Sevil explains, “Nano influencers are the key group, who have the least number of followers but the most authentic relationships with others.”
It highlights two ends of the scale.
The first represents the status quo that represents the macro approach to marketing. This has been about mass, awareness, and reach, where the belief that more people seeing something is better.
The second is to bring to a smaller scale where it is all about meaning and belonging with others.
It is the people who move from beyond the confines and safety of a logo and represent themselves. When you have something for others to stand behind, it creates the attachment. For instance, no one would stand behind my company (The ID Group
Let’s Round Up
When you move from the take to building something that others associate with, they are more likely to take a stance with you. It becomes easier for you to ask and then your network to grow.
It is good to be small, this means you have a far better resonance with others. It starts with people knowing that you (and your business) are worthy and trusted. The next step is that people share and it starts to filter out.
Association is stronger than reach, this means that the right people come on board who are more prepared to share their own experience with others ie. what they have taken from it, how it has helped and makes everything more believable. The generosity of others enables them to be influential on your behalf.
Being associated with others puts you in a stronger place because the world is more real and measurable. If someone shares your side and backs you up to others, you’ll know about it.
Whether the link starts from a blog, a podcast or a video, if everyone is present and relates to the role you play, within the industry you serve, why rely on outdated forms of communication to reach out to anyone?
The cool kids at school were not the ones who had your back for the long term. Stability is with those who are present,