In a social media-driven world, where we always show off our best side, and with the glamorous online lifestyle, it’s easy to alter the reality.

It’s fascinating to see the increasing amount of people that try to brand and position themselves as “authorities” on LinkedIn and other social media. Being an online authority does not create business opportunities or relationships, it’s merely a facade to bring people in and create followers. But will it be profitable for your business?

I see two primary problems with this approach:

1) How do you convert followers to business transactions without a relationship?
2) Positioning yourself as an authority is easier than actually being one, can you deliver on the promise?

Influencers, online authorities and thought leaders are terms we didn’t have a couple of years ago, and I’m not trying to make a point that it doesn’t work. But we still need to build relationships to create growth. The most successful influencers and authorities have learned the importance of connecting with their fans, not just contacting them.

Kevin Kelly makes a great point out of this in his book 1000 True Fans. He makes the point that to create a living with an online business, the amount of followers is irrelevant, what you need in the example is 1000 true fans that you have created a connection with.

In a B2B environment and capital-intensive goods, the number isn’t 1000’s, it’s probably closer to ten that you need to grow your business. Your online appearance might find those ten, but if you don’t connect with them they are just new contacts in your CRM.

Seth Godin outlined this in his blog post about Kevin Kelly’s book:

“What’s difficult? What’s difficult is changing your attitude. Instead of speed dating your way to interruption, instead of yelling at strangers all day trying to make a living, coordinating a tribe of 1,000 requires patience, consistency and a focus on long-term relationships and lifetime value.”

To create connection and relationships requires training. It’s a craft and skill to communicate to every person in front of us, but it’s also something that can be learned and systemized.

Training to learn this craft is an investment, in knowledge and time. But it will generate more opportunities, create recurring business and referrals. If you have a commitment to building for the long term, this is an investment into yourself that will generate a positive ROI over time.

The volume in every media channel is only growing and creating more noise might create sales, but the factor we can control is the relationships and the way we build them. Quantitative outreach regardless of the channel will only work when the quality is ready for it.

 

Are you ready to connecting instead of contacting your prospects and followers?

 

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