Are you waiting for the Big Moment?

Many people spend their entire lives yearning for the Big Moment.

It’s like actors who only live for the Academy Awards, athletes who are obsessed with winning the gold medal, politicians who lust after the highest office.

Others want the perfect mate, the dream house, the Big Payday, and now thanks to the Fast Company Influence Project (Sorry, I’m not going to link to it) to be 2010’s Most Influential Person Online.

Individuals who have participated in this project seem to believe that if they obtain this title something magical will happen that will completely transform their lives. Once this “Big Moment” happens they’ll be better off. They’ll be influential.

Influence is not achieved this way.

Cultivating influence is a slow process. It takes time. Sure, you can make quick decisions, see fast results, optimize, and change things on the fly. However, real influence just takes time. You can’t start a blog and gain influence right away. It takes time to create content, find your voice, develop a community, and earn respect and trust.

You create influence by inspiring and enriching the lives of others. Influence comes from teaching others. By having meaningful conversations that educate based on the content you create online (text, audio, video, images). People then consume your content, comment on it, Digg it, share it, and encourage others to take part.

But more importantly, they’re better off (not you).

Instead of asking people to “click on your influence link” (courtesy of Fast Company), create something useful. Anything. Write a blog post, record one more podcast, produce a video. Visit someone’s web site / blog and tell them you appreciate their insights.

In other words, do what influential people do.

Create something great. Put in the time and commitment to providing your target audience with a unique experience. Listen to online conversations. Hang back and just listen to the flow of conversations. Then, when you’re ready, start adding value and push the conversation forward.

Influence isn’t a “project”. It’s not achieved in some magical “Big Moment”. Influence is created on a daily basis and lies in the smallest of moments, events, activities, interactions, and situations.

About the Author:

Mitch Fanning recently became VP of Strategy & Business Development for Fruition Interactive. He’s spent 10+ years (and put in his 10,000 hours) working with businesses of all sizes, from global brand (NBC.com, Nestle) to Canada’s fastest growing Internet companies ranked in the PROFIT 100, creating, selling, implementing both traditional and digital marketing opt-in strategies.

Inspired by the post What happens when you fake authenticity by Kent Wakely

Photo credit: Fod Tzellos

Women jump the online video gap

Pew Internet‘s recent State of Online Video report didn’t generate a lot of buzz when it was released last month. And, fair enough, the fact that online video viewership has doubled since 2007 ain’t exactly front page news.

What I found interesting, though, were the numbers on online video creation.  There are some trends there that are potentially game-changing.

First: women have almost completely erased the gender gap when it comes to online video production.

In 2007, a mere 6 percent of women Internet users had uploaded video for other people to watch online versus 11 percent of men. Fast forward three years, though, and the picture is much different. According to Pew, now 14 percent of women Internet users are posting video online compared to 15 percent of men. It shouldn’t be long before the trend lines meet up.

Women now just as likely as men to upload video

[Read more...]

What happens when you fake authenticity

There are a couple of keys to social media success that we talk about a lot here. Consistency. Engagement. Relevance.

But none has such tragicomic effects when it’s ignored as Authenticity — and it’s amazing how many smart people try to fake it.

Take for instance, the recent case of Fast Company, the Website and magazine that “help a new breed of leader work smarter and more effectively” by “uncovering best and ‘next’ practices”.

Fast Company has enjoyed a pretty good reputation among people where the spheres of business, entrepreneurship and technology intersect. The magazine was born amid the dotcom boom of the late 90s and has lived to tell the tale.

But last Monday, they launched something called the Influence Project, an attempt, in their words to “find the most influential person online”. Which sounds — and actually could be — great.

But within hours, FC was being called out for running a link-baiting pyramid scheme — running a scam — by exactly the kind of influencers they were trying to reach and leverage.

The crux of the problem was the way the project was structured. Would-be influencers were asked to register for the project and then they were given a link to send to their friends and colleagues to click on. And, well… that’s it.

Powerful influencers felt that they were being asked to pimp out their reputations in order to drive traffic and boost search rankings for FC — they felt that FC wasn’t being transparent about what their goals were and they felt that if they were going to be asked to use their influence it should be towards something more meaningful than this trivial thing.

They felt that Fast Company was being inauthentic about their goals for the project and was asking them to compromise their own authenticity. And the word spread like wildfire.

The stunt has generated buzz for FC and they have some notable defenders, like Guy Kawasaki,  but the consensus among most influencers is well summed up by Oliver Blanchard commenting on the Conversation Agent blog:

I dug Fast Company a lot more back in the day. I still like it now, a lot, but I don’t love it like I used to. Great writing is one thing, but relevance comes from understanding the subjects you write about (or turn into projects) thoroughly. Fast Company’s relevance just took another hit with this, and that makes me sad.

It makes me sad, too.

The perils of rented/bought lists

On LinkedIn’s Digital Marketing group, Karen Whitaker asked:

Can anyone recommend some inexpensive mailing software that offers full reporting (opens, clicks, forwards, soft and hard bounces, replies etc) that does allow purchased lists to be used?

Karen, if — and I repeat, IF — you can conclusively verify that the purchased lists are compiled using double opt-in with full disclosure you may — MAY — be able to convince a full service mail deployment provider to work with you. These would include ThinData (http://www.ThinData.com ) or Cheetah Mail ( http://www.cheetahmail.com/ ).

Most self-service providers like MailChimp, Constant Contact and Vertical Response won’t work with purchased lists because most of those lists are not compiled according to the legal and ethical guidelines for our industry.

Self-serve providers don’t have a business model that allows them to work one-on-one to identify the rare exceptions to the rule, whereas the higher-cost full-service providers do.

All of which should be a caution against using bought or rented lists — they’re mostly crap.

As an alternative, I often recommend partnering with list owners — publishers, companies in adjacent verticals — and having them send messages to their fully qualified lists introducing you to their community. That way you’re doing true permission-based relationship marketing.

A new chapter: Mitch Fanning joins Fruition as VP Strategy and Business Development

I’ve been thinking a lot about the early days of Fruition Interactive lately.

Thinking back to those first early days when the company was basically just me and a credit card and a dream. And thinking about some of the milestones we’ve reached since then: our first client, our first  design associate, our first developer hire, our first marquee client, our first project manager hire, our first 6-figure engagement. And, looking back, I’m really proud of the people and clients that have come to us and I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved together.

It also feels like the end of Act I. That’s because Act II is set to begin.

[Read more...]

3 tips for small business social media success

eCommerce TImes is running a useful series of social media tips for small businesses. Among the tips:

Social media are growing increasingly intertwined. Twitter and LinkedIn can be tied together so that your tweets automatically show up on your LinkedIn news feed. YouTube — and just about all other sites with content — have links accompanying every article, video or photo to share across multiple platforms. So if you have a decent video camera and the wherewithal to create a series of instructional videos, you can post them on YouTube and share them on your Facebook page and your LinkedIn profile to drive viewers’ attention to the videos.

The piece hits the basics adequately enough, but falls short in some key areas. You’ll want to do more, for instance, than just monitor what people are saying about your business in social media circles; you’ll want to engage with people who are talking about your business via social media.

via E-Commerce News: SMB: Socializing the Storefront, Part 2: Navigating the Scene.