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How to Become an Influencer in Your Industry Zero in on your audience and grow your online presence through these steps.

By Imran Tariq Edited by Eric Peck

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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When we talk about "influencers," myriad images come to mind, from dancers on TikTok to YouTubers with brand sponsorships or Instagram accounts with a large following. These influencers are generally personalities who attract a following through their lifestyles, humor or physical appearance, and because they dominated the industry first, it's challenging to view ourselves as potential influencers if we don't have what they have. For one, building a following has always been seen as challenging, and if everyone could do it, they likely would.

But there is an opportunity that a select few have zeroed in on: becoming influencers in their industry. And, unlike the flashy social media pages that have been held as the "Gold Standard," these industries go beyond "fashion" or "travel photography." This can include industries like cosmetic surgery, graphic design, wedding photography, or in Glenn Vo's case, the dental industry.

Vo is the author of Industry Influencer and the leader of a seven-figure dental practice that he grew through cultivating meaningful online relationships. He did this through his Facebook group of dental professionals, a group that numbers 30,000 strong. Vo sat down to discuss how anyone can become an industry influencer in their field and expand their clients or patients to heights they had never before imagined.

Related: How to Use Facebook Groups to Grow Your Community and Increase Your Reach

Determining your "triangle of genius'

Although it may seem daunting to become an industry expert in industries that appear to be oversaturated, you too have something to give. To find this, Vo recommends using what he calls the "triangle of genius."

"The Triangle of Genius contains three components that will help anyone find what their specialty is, even within broader industries," Vo says. "These components point to your genius ability."

The triangle of genius contains your strengths, your passions and industry needs. Jot down a few things you're good at within your industry. Then, your passion ensures that you're going to work for it.

You chose the industry you're in for a reason. Why? What compels you to put in the extra work and effort required to succeed as an industry influencer? Finally, "industry needs" refers to the gap in the market where you have an opportunity to start something new. In Vo's case, "I saw a need in the market for dentists to reduce their spending, so I created a platform to help negotiate discounts and deals for dental professionals looking to reduce their overhead."

Building an online reputation

Once you have zeroed in on your unique genius, it's time to get to posting — either in a blog, in Facebook groups, and on your social media pages — with one major consideration. "One of the major misconceptions about posting consistently is that there will be attention or traction right out of the gate," Vo explains. "Think of building an online presence as building a little trail of breadcrumbs. Building authority takes time. It doesn't matter how great that first blog post is, it isn't going to bring in an audience in the way that you imagine."

Vo believes in what Neil Patel puts forth, that the seven major reasons that you wouldn't start to get some traction online are:

  • That you have no strategy;
  • You aren't publishing enough content;
  • You are confusing "content' (with a value-add) with a sales pitch;
  • You don't know your audience;
  • Your voice isn't coming across as genuine;
  • You aren't promoting what you do; or
  • Your audience isn't optimized.

Vo says that ensuring you're reaching your audience through the avenues where they commonly consume content is one of the most straightforward, yet overlooked, aspects of successfully marketing online.

"Who is your target audience, and where are they?" Vo recommends asking. "Using myself as an example, I found that most dental professionals were on Facebook and in Facebook groups. Of course, this took a bit of investigating — and you should take the onus on yourself to investigate where your audience is."

Continue to expand your online influence

Once the groundwork has been properly laid, it's simply about continuing to expand the avenues by which you're reaching your audience. "It is always about quantity over quality," says Vo. "A few really well-done posts or blogs are going to radically outperform a slew of hastily done ones."

As far as the type of content you should be creating, simply seek out with the desire to help. "There is a careful balance in all content," Vo adds. "It can't be an outright sales pitch, but it should also be promoting something. Seek to be helpful to the reader, and don't be afraid to finish up the content with a call to action about how they can work with you or learn more — whether that's via 1:1 coaching, a program or a downloadable product."

Related: What Matters More, the Quality or Size of Your Social Media Audience?

The reason to care about becoming an influencer in your industry is because this is the way of the future. Consumers are looking online more than ever to verify the credibility of the professionals and business owners that they're considering. The more impressive trail of digital breadcrumbs you have, the more that potential customers or clients will come to trust you.

Imran Tariq

CEO Of Webmetrix Group

Imran Tariq is the co-founder and CEO of Webmetrix Group, a digital marketing and reputation-management company. He is an author and voice on CNN and CNBC. Tariq also works with seven-figure companies and helps them drive traffic to become market leaders.

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