Do you know that virtually everyone is an online influencer these days?
Yes, that includes your grandfather who is perpetually commenting (and sparring) with other grandfathers on Facebook posts. Or your cool 2nd aunt who is an Instagram Story yoga sensation.
As a long-time practitioner of social media marketing, I realised one thing:
There isn’t a single way to build your online presence!
Each of us have our own unique ways to build our social media influence and personal brands.
Some are good at collecting and sharing the latest insights. Some are good at encouraging others to do their best. Yet others have a penchant for building cohesive communities.
What I discovered is that each of us have different ways of influencing others online.
Your Social Media Influence Archetype
To build your personal, corporate or product brands, you need to identify your social media influence archetype. This can be defined as follows:
Social Media Influence Archetype: The preferred content creation, narrative and relational modes which a brand, company or individual uses to grow online reach and influence.
After much thinking and brainstorming, I’ve conceived a total of 11 social influence archetypes. Many of these archetypes are related to each other – for example, most coaches also have a counseling streak in them.
What’s important to note is that they each represent unique ways of building social media influence and are channel agnostic. Like De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats, you can also mix and match these archetypes to fit your specific circumstances.
Let us look at them in detail now.
Considered a thought leader in a specific field, the creator is known for pushing out original thoughts or ideas.
Preferring long-form content formats (eg articles that are a few thousand words long, 6-part mini-courses, or 20-minute instructional YouTube videos), creators spend a lot of time researching, building and inventing.
Due to the amount of work needed to create an original piece, creators may be less accessible to their followers. Often, they prefer to hide themselves from the world until their masterpiece is complete.
An information junkie, the curator is a compulsive consumer and sharer of content. The best curators often subscribe to numerous publications and video channels online.
Sticking to a narrow niche, they are focused on giving value to their community by keeping them updated on what’s hot, newsworthy and insightful.
The chronicler is an influence archetype who tap on the power of social storytelling. She knows how to spin a compelling yarn on Facebook, YouTube or Instagram, and can keep her audiences enthralled day after day, week after week, month after month.
Sometimes, the chronicler may choose to interview her friends or other influencers. By doing so, she can tap on their collective wisdom – and more perhaps more importantly – their fan-bases!
When I think of a coach, I think of personalities like Tony Robbins, Jim Kwik, or Brendon Burchard.
A coach is somebody who shares inspiring, motivating and educational content on their blogs, Facebook pages, YouTube channels, or LinkedIn accounts.
Often, a coach has an area of specialisation – some are better in business or leadership coaching, while others zoom in on life coaching.
Like the coach, a counselor influence others by providing helpful advice.
While coaches focus on helping people to do better in their professional or personal lives, counselor’s seek to relieve pain, helping those who may feel down and out.
Providing an online listening ear, the counselor archetype needn’t just apply to individuals. Companies that require help in fixing a problem area may also benefit from such an archetype.
#6 Conductor/ Choreographer
Imagine a maestro weaving his baton at an orchestra – that’s what a conductor does. The only difference is that she does it online.
A conductor notices the ebb and flow of her online community. She knows when to publish content to stimulate discussion, when to engage with the posts of others in the community, and when to nudge others to contribute their two cents worth.
In short, a conductor is a community facilitator and an enabler.
A connector truly embodies what it means to be “social.” He enjoys networking with others, and isn’t shy to approach new individuals online.
Beyond making friends, a connector also adds value to others by sharing useful resources and contacts of professionals. An social influencer who reaches out to like-minded others, he also plays a match-making role – from both a personal and professional context.
#8 Chef/ Connoisseur
A master crafts-person who takes pride in her areas of expertise, a chef whips up delicious content that we happily consume with our eyes and ears.
Schooled in the art of photography and videography, she is able to turn a plate of food into a ravishing work of art. Or a regular cheap outfit into designer wear.
Focused on aesthetic content, she knows how to turn the art and science of visual storytelling to her advantage, enchanting her fans who take vicarious pleasure in following her daily pursuits.
Born with multiple funny bones in his body, the comic influences others through humour and light-hearted content. Depending on his areas of specialisation, he can be a cartoonist, stand-up comedian, or joke-spewing influencer.
There is much money to be made from online humour. Many of the top influencers on YouTube began their vlogging careers by sharing light-hearted content. Great examples here include mrbrown, Michelle Chong and SGAG.
A provocateur who dares to speak up for what she believes in, a contrarian isn’t afraid of stirring the proverbial hornet’s nest.
It does take guts to be a contrarian, but running against the grain can help you to stand out. However, don’t just oppose conventional wisdom for its own sake. Rather, ensure that you are consistent in what you say and do online, and be willing to admit your mistake should you be guilty of committing them.
#11 Commentator/ Critic
Last, but not least, we have the commentator.
Knowledgeable and experienced in a specific domain, the commentator shares his views on what’s hot and happening in the news. Valued for his wisdom and insights, the commentator has a good sense of what works in his industry.
A human recommendation engine, the commentator (or critic) openly shares what works (and what sucks) with his network.
So there you have it, the 11 social media influence archetypes whom you can model on.
As a next step, do spend some time reflecting on your preferred style of creating content and influencing others online. Rather than try to be all things to all men, consider picking 2 or 3 archetypes to model after. You can adapt them according to your unique contexts and circumstances.
Do you have a favourite influence archetype? Which would best suit you?