Sherman Social – Social Media Agency + Digital Marketing Agency


Positive Vs. Negative Influence –> Which One Are You?

Positive Vs. Negative Influence –> Which One Are You?

The word ‘influencer’ has been so overused in social media that it has become a challenging area to take these days seriously. Are you an influencer? Am I an influencer? What makes someone an influencer? IMO these are pretty subjective questions to answer. See, the definition of influence varies on who you are in the world. To some, it’s the thousands of followers following them. To others, it’s the amount of engagement someone receives. To me, it’s how your lifestyle inspires an active change in someone else’s life. I was recently asked to share a tweet for someone in a foreign country because of my ‘influence’. I am 99 percent sure I have very few followers from that country, and the tweet was particular to something going on in that specific part of the world. The tweet might have caught the right person’s eye somewhere. I don’t know the life story of all of my followers, and who knows if one of them was somehow connected to the cause. However, what bothered me about it was that this company was asking me to share the tweet because of the amount of followers I have. This was a huge mistake. Had they taken a moment to see where I lived, what my interests are, or learn anything about me, they would have seen that people interested in following me and what I’m discussing are probably not the people they wanted to reach with the tweet.

So often, brands and people disregard the influence of highly influential people on social media because they don’t stick out with a considerable following or a bevy of ‘interviews’ on websites. In other words, they are not how social media has tried to define an influencer. Influence is not about followers, something I can not stress enough. Influence is about how well a brand, or individual, can convince its community to make a change. Let me tell you something –> Followers have nothing to do with how convincing you are to your community.

So now that we might be on the same page about how I define influence, let’s address something more critical –> the difference between positive and negative influence. I was listening to a sermon today that emphasized the importance of relationships and how social media makes us feel more alone. Not only that, every day, there are more stories of cyberbullying that are heartbreaking. Middle school and high school were difficult enough without the addition of online ways to hurt someone.

With more people feeling lonely due to social media and cyberbullying on the rise, negative influence is overpowering the positive. Wouldn’t it be better to know that we left someone feeling a bit happier after an exchange on social media, rather than spending hours perfecting a filter on a photo and trying to convince them that we have a perfect life, so they feel less-than about their own?

Here are some ways to gut-check whether you are skewing more positive or negative these days as you influence the community you have created:

What Types Of News Are You Sharing?  How Are You Sharing It?

This is an obvious but important question. Are you sharing positive news that’s happening in the world, or are you helping to sensationalize the negative news that networks love to beat you over the head with? Now, this does not mean that you can only share positive information to have a positive influence. It just means that when you decide to share some negative news, maybe add why that piece of news is relevant to you and your idea of a solution for fixing whatever bad thing happened in the information you are sharing. I do strongly recommend sharing more positive news than negative, though.

Do You Spend More Time Reaching Out, Or Posting Updates?

It’s easy to be sure that we post our updates ASAP, without taking the time to see what everyone else is up to. You want to spend more time reaching out to your community, celebrating their wins, and being there for their losses, than you want to spend posting your updates. Let your community know you are there for them, and see what you can do to serve in their lives. This approach will not only help you strengthen your relationships but will help you combat that loneliness feeling that can come from just constantly posting about yourself.

How Are You Wording Your Updates?

Are your updates sounding like genuine updates on your life or like some propaganda to make the world think that your life is so much better than it is? Are you eager to rub it in your community’s face that you won that prestigious award, or are you proud of your work and want to share an essential moment in your career path? How you word these moments will directly affect how they come across and influence your friends. Try to be more inspirational and less boastful by adding something in there about where you started and know where you have gotten to. Thank those that contributed to the great moments in your life, and make sure you say why it’s important to you that this moment happened. By adding these buffers, you help add context to why this is relevant in your life and not just something you want to throw in someone else’s face.

Have You Asked Yourself What Your End-Goal Of Being On Social Media Is?

Sometimes it’s good to approach your own social media presence like a business. After all, your social media presence is your personal brand, whether you like it. What is your goal by being on social media? Some goals can include staying in touch with friends and family, sharing updates on your own life, spying on people you no longer have close relationships with, sharing your fantastic photography work, promoting your business, etc. Most likely, it’s some combination of these. However, if your only goal is to share updates of yourself or promote your business, you might want to take a step back. Think of how you can use the powerful voice of social media to inspire others while still sharing updates and promoting a business positively.

Are ‘Likes, Shares, Retweets’ More Important, Or Conversations You Are Having Online?

Studies have shown that likes, comments, retweets, etc., on social media release positive chemicals in the brain that make us feel better about ourselves. So I completely understand how these types of engagement can be addicting and perhaps shadow your reasoning for participating in honest conversations online. Conversations are where your influence truly lives, though. What you contribute to each discussion can help others see your opinion more clearly and, perhaps, positively influence how they think about something else. Search out ways for you to start joining conversations and not just fill up your engagement piggy bank.

Some of these things may seem like common sense ideas, but when you do a self-audit, I guarantee you’re not paying as close attention as you should be to what vibe you are putting out on social media. It’s so easy to get caught up in the negative news cycle and strong opinions that we forget people are listening to what we have to say, and it is impacting how they leave social media feeling at the end of the day. Take some time this week and think about how you are influencing the world with your voice –> do you want to be a positive or a negative influencer? After all, we are all influencers in our communities.

– Marji J. Sherman

Marji J. Sherman

Expert in NFTs, metaverse, social, and digital marketing.

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