10 Ways to Increase Your Circle of Influence

Your Circle of Influence

Your Circle of Influence plays a big role in your success, whether you are promoting books, workshops, products, or services. You might think of this Circle as the community around you, rather than the much larger audience that makes up your target market. Your target market can be a starting point, and you can pitch ads, publicity, and social media posts to them. But they don’t become part of your Circle of Influence until they start to engage with you on a regular basis. Likewise, members of your family, friends, and business associates can become part of your Circle, but you have to proactively keep them involved in what you are doing so they become your supporters.

In other words, you want to create a Circle of Influence, which is variously referred to as your “raving fans,” “tribe,” or “connected community.” Today, this Circle can be made up of both face-to-face contacts or virtual ones cultivated through repeated ongoing connections.

So how do you increase and motivate your Circle of Influence to support your latest projects, such as by talking about and buying your products, attending your programs, or using your services. Here are some keys to creating and energizing your Circle.

1) Join online social media groups, such as on Facebook or LinkedIn, which are reaching your target audience. But don’t just start pitching whatever you are doing. Instead, take some time to introduce yourself and comment on the ongoing conversations. Then, after posting for a week or several weeks, depending on how often you make these postings, you can begin talking about what you are doing, share links to your website, or otherwise let group members know about your products or services. Then, if people respond favorably, remain in the group; if not, find other groups to join.

2) Consider participating in the trade associations or business groups that reach your target audience. For example, join or attend mixers of the local chambers of commerce in your area, and some might have business partner or links groups you can join. You might also find a variety of business referral and networking groups in your area. Typically, they have one person from each industry, and you might find the group members a good source of referrals. Another possibility is speaking at local chapter meetings or going to the annual conferences or business fairs of these groups. Consider being an exhibitor at these meetings, too. Once you find compatible groups with a good fit for your business, plan to continue going to the activities of the group, since a single meeting or mixer might not be enough to really connect with that community.

3) Look for opportunities to contribute to the blogs or magazines of the organizations that cater to your target audience. Commonly, you can write a single article and use it for multiple groups, since each group has its own audience, in contrast to writing an exclusive article for a publication with a national circulation.

4) Get in touch with the leaders of groups or with social media influencers in your field and offer them samples of your books, products, or online programs. If they like them, they may be likely to talk them up, resulting in multiple sales.

5) Create a blog or podcast in which you offer tips or information related to your book, product, or service, and that can lead people to want to know more by buying from you. What kind of content should you offer? A good start is to think of the problems you might solve for people in your niche, such as helping people fix up their homes, relationships, finances, or any other topic. Another possibility is to entertain people in your Circle of Influence, such as recounting amusing experiences or observations, like the crazy things your dog or cat did today. Then, too, consider inviting guests to contribute articles to your blog or be interviewed on your podcast.

6) Start a video channel, where you feature regular talks to your audience, or perhaps you might turn PowerPoint presentations into videos. You can easily keep these presentations informal. Just set up a tripod with your phone or VSL camera and start talking; then save the file and upload it. If you want to edit your video, there are simple editing tools, such as Camtasia, where you can easily snip out sections of the video you don’t like.

7) Post your videos on the social media. And keep them short — about 1–3 minutes, where you offer a few tips, do a demonstration, tell a story, or otherwise offer information or entertainment. At the end of the video or in the post below it, you can offer links to your website or landing page with more information about your products, services, and programs. As you keep doing this, a growing community of viewers will become regulars. And many will be receptive to clicking on the links in your post to learn more.

8) Develop an email list of people you meeting personally or through online activities, so you can send them regular emails or newsletters. When you meet people personally, such as at business networking events or trade shows, you can collect business cards and obtain the emails from them. If people don’t have cards, you can invite them to write down their name and email on the back of one of your cards. To get information online, one technique is to create a sales funnel sequence where you offer a free gift, such as a PDF with a few tips or a short informational webinar, and to get it, the person has to provide an email. Then, you set up an automated system to send the gift to their email and add that email to an autoresponder which will send out an email or newsletter with future offerings to them. And to get people to the start of the sequence, you use an ad or other promotion to get them to go to a landing page or page on your website. That’s where you provide enticing information about the free gift, so they will want to give you their email to get it. However, once you have an email list, use it sparingly — perhaps only send out mailings once every few weeks or each month, since too many emails can become a turn-off and even be labeled as spam.

9) Monitor the various activities you are using to build your Circle of Influence in order to assess which ones are working the best for you. A good way to do this is to create a spread sheet where you list the organizations and social media groups you have joined, the publications you have contacted. the blog posts you have created, and so on. Then, create a series of columns where you indicate what you have done, when, and the results, such as how many books or products you have sold, how many people have signed up for your workshops, and the like. After that, assess what groups and activities are most effective for you and continue to participate in them and cut back on or stop participating in the other groups and activities that are less effective.

10) Consider doing joint promotions with others with related books, products, or services in your target market, so you can engage in promotional activities together to reduce the cost and effort of whatever you are doing. For example, you can create a newsletter with a contribution from each of you; you can let organizations know you are available to do a panel together or speak individually; you can sign up to share a table at a trade show. You can also do a collective mailing to all of your email lists.

Additionally, you can think of still other ways to expand your Circle of Influence. Whatever you do, keep track of the different things you are doing and the results to see what works best and keep doing that. And in the future, I’ll have still more tips on how ton build your Circle of Influence even more.

Your Circle of Influence plays a big role in your success, whether you are promoting books, workshops, products, or services. You might think of this Circle as the community around you, rather than the much larger audience that makes up your target market. Your target market can be a starting point, and you can pitch ads, publicity, and social media posts to them. But they don’t become part of your Circle of Influence until they start to engage with you on a regular basis. Likewise, members of your family, friends, and business associates can become part of your Circle, but you have to proactively keep them involved in what you are doing so they become your supporters.

In other words, you want to create a Circle of Influence, which is variously referred to as your “raving fans,” “tribe,” or “connected community.” Today, this Circle can be made up of both face-to-face contacts or virtual ones cultivated through repeated ongoing connections.

So how do you increase and motivate your Circle of Influence to support your latest projects, such as by talking about and buying your products, attending your programs, or using your services. Here are some keys to creating and energizing your Circle.

1) Join online social media groups, such as on Facebook or LinkedIn, which are reaching your target audience. But don’t just start pitching whatever you are doing. Instead, take some time to introduce yourself and comment on the ongoing conversations. Then, after posting for a week or several weeks, depending on how often you make these postings, you can begin talking about what you are doing, share links to your website, or otherwise let group members know about your products or services. Then, if people respond favorably, remain in the group; if not, find other groups to join.

2) Consider participating in the trade associations or business groups that reach your target audience. For example, join or attend mixers of the local chambers of commerce in your area, and some might have business partner or links groups you can join. You might also find a variety of business referral and networking groups in your area. Typically, they have one person from each industry, and you might find the group members a good source of referrals. Another possibility is speaking at local chapter meetings or going to the annual conferences or business fairs of these groups. Consider being an exhibitor at these meetings, too. Once you find compatible groups with a good fit for your business, plan to continue going to the activities of the group, since a single meeting or mixer might not be enough to really connect with that community.

3) Look for opportunities to contribute to the blogs or magazines of the organizations that cater to your target audience. Commonly, you can write a single article and use it for multiple groups, since each group has its own audience, in contrast to writing an exclusive article for a publication with a national circulation.

4) Get in touch with the leaders of groups or with social media influencers in your field and offer them samples of your books, products, or online programs. If they like them, they may be likely to talk them up, resulting in multiple sales.

5) Create a blog or podcast in which you offer tips or information related to your book, product, or service, and that can lead people to want to know more by buying from you. What kind of content should you offer? A good start is to think of the problems you might solve for people in your niche, such as helping people fix up their homes, relationships, finances, or any other topic. Another possibility is to entertain people in your Circle of Influence, such as recounting amusing experiences or observations, like the crazy things your dog or cat did today. Then, too, consider inviting guests to contribute articles to your blog or be interviewed on your podcast.

6) Start a video channel, where you feature regular talks to your audience, or perhaps you might turn PowerPoint presentations into videos. You can easily keep these presentations informal. Just set up a tripod with your phone or VSL camera and start talking; then save the file and upload it. If you want to edit your video, there are simple editing tools, such as Camtasia, where you can easily snip out sections of the video you don’t like.

7) Post your videos on the social media. And keep them short — about 1–3 minutes, where you offer a few tips, do a demonstration, tell a story, or otherwise offer information or entertainment. At the end of the video or in the post below it, you can offer links to your website or landing page with more information about your products, services, and programs. As you keep doing this, a growing community of viewers will become regulars. And many will be receptive to clicking on the links in your post to learn more.

8) Develop an email list of people you meeting personally or through online activities, so you can send them regular emails or newsletters. When you meet people personally, such as at business networking events or trade shows, you can collect business cards and obtain the emails from them. If people don’t have cards, you can invite them to write down their name and email on the back of one of your cards. To get information online, one technique is to create a sales funnel sequence where you offer a free gift, such as a PDF with a few tips or a short informational webinar, and to get it, the person has to provide an email. Then, you set up an automated system to send the gift to their email and add that email to an autoresponder which will send out an email or newsletter with future offerings to them. And to get people to the start of the sequence, you use an ad or other promotion to get them to go to a landing page or page on your website. That’s where you provide enticing information about the free gift, so they will want to give you their email to get it. However, once you have an email list, use it sparingly — perhaps only send out mailings once every few weeks or each month, since too many emails can become a turn-off and even be labeled as spam.

9) Monitor the various activities you are using to build your Circle of Influence in order to assess which ones are working the best for you. A good way to do this is to create a spread sheet where you list the organizations and social media groups you have joined, the publications you have contacted. the blog posts you have created, and so on. Then, create a series of columns where you indicate what you have done, when, and the results, such as how many books or products you have sold, how many people have signed up for your workshops, and the like. After that, assess what groups and activities are most effective for you and continue to participate in them and cut back on or stop participating in the other groups and activities that are less effective.

10) Consider doing joint promotions with others with related books, products, or services in your target market, so you can engage in promotional activities together to reduce the cost and effort of whatever you are doing. For example, you can create a newsletter with a contribution from each of you; you can let organizations know you are available to do a panel together or speak individually; you can sign up to share a table at a trade show. You can also do a collective mailing to all of your email lists.

Additionally, you can think of still other ways to expand your Circle of Influence. Whatever you do, keep track of the different things you are doing and the results to see what works best and keep doing that. And in the future, I’ll have still more tips on how ton build your Circle of Influence even more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

GINI GRAHAM SCOTT, Ph.D., J.D., is a nationally known writer, consultant, speaker, and seminar leader, specializing in business and work relationships, professional and personal development, social trends, and popular culture. She has published 50 books with major publishers. She has worked with dozens of clients on memoirs, self-help, popular business books, and film scripts. Writing samples are at www.changemakerspublishingandwriting.com.

She is the founder of Changemakers Publishing, featuring books on work, business, psychology, social trends, and self-help. The company has published over 150 print, e-books, and audiobooks. She has licensed several dozen books for foreign sales, including the UK, Russia, Korea, Spain, and Japan.

She has received national media exposure for her books, including appearances on Good Morning America, Oprah, and CNN. She has been the producer and host of a talk show series, Changemakers, featuring interviews on social trends.

Scott is active in a number of community and business groups, including the Lafayette, Pleasant Hill, and Walnut Creek Chambers of Commerce. She is a graduate of the prestigious Leadership Contra Costa program. She does workshops and seminars on the topics of her books.

She is also the writer and executive producer of 10 films in distribution, release, or production. Her most recent films that have been released include Driver, The New Age of Aging, and Infidelity.

She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and her J.D. from the University of San Francisco Law School. She has received five MAs at Cal State University, East Bay, most recently in Communication.

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GINI GRAHAM SCOTT, Ph.D., J.D., is a nationally known writer, consultant, speaker, and seminar leader, who has published over 200 books.

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Gini Graham Scott

Gini Graham Scott

GINI GRAHAM SCOTT, Ph.D., J.D., is a nationally known writer, consultant, speaker, and seminar leader, who has published over 200 books.

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