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How to become an influencer and advance your business

I was recently asked by an acquaintance to provide the “secret” to becoming an influencer within a community. I responded that while I consider myself a big fish in a very small pond, the process that I follow can scale and provide big fish in a big pond results.

Pope-Francis-Catholic-Church-of-England-and-Wales-CC influencer

Pope Frances, one of the greatest influencers of our times.

The following are the six steps that I have found to be effective in creating influence within a community. I believe that anyone can follow these steps to begin their journey towards becoming an influencer:

1. Determine the industry/segment in which you wish to become an influencer:

There’s a difference between being famous and being an influencer. O.J. Simpson was and continues to be famous. Better yet, infamous. John Wooden was an influencer. In the sports industry today who do you think is more successful in influencing the community – even posthumously? Wooden, of course. Influencers must choose a community upon which they will focus and serve. They must respect that community and the community must have no reason to disrespect them. While future influencers need not be experts in community matters, they must eventually evolve into subject matter experts before they earn influencer status.

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2. Create content that demonstrates your thought leadership and expertise:

Influencers within any community/industry generally have expert knowledge of matters within their domain. The masses listen and act on the advice of influencers specifically because they are experts. Whether their expertise relates to accounting, art or lipstick, influencers are perceived as being subject matter experts. Individuals seeking influencer status must demonstrate their mastery to the community/industry. In today’s content driven world this means that expertise should be evidenced in one or more content formats, including but not limited to, blog posts, whitepapers, videos, podcasts or any other form of content that is preferred by the community. Expertise and thought leadership must come through clearly in order for the community to adopt the individual as an influencer.

3. Develop public relations to put a face to the name:

Something I continually tell attendees at my workshops is that people do business with people. And people are influenced by people. While the Internet, social media and its many forms of content are essential, at the very core we want human interaction. Individuals seeking tocreatetheirplaceintheinfluencer Hall of Fame must ensure that they walk away from their computer screens and actually meet the community they are looking to serve. Through speaking engagements, networking functions and other face-to-face interactions influencers-in-process can help generate needed buzz from those individuals that read the book or saw the video or heard the podcast and have now put a face with a name. Big time influencers will tell you that it is not possible to meet the entire community or respond to every email, tweet or message. But they will also tell you that they invest time interacting as much as possible.

influencer

Photo credits (Top L to Bottom R) Susana G Baumann at Univision 41 Studios; Susana with Yvonne Garcia, ALPFA National Chair; Susana with Nina Vacca, CEO Pinnacle Group and Pres Emeritus US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation; Susana with the NAA American Latina Leadership Caucus and SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.


4. Build your list:

One of the most valuable investments an influencer can make is to sign up for an account with Mailchimp, Constant Contact or some other email program. Consideration should be given to capturing contact information with the release of every piece of content. Show me a successful influencer and I will show you an effective contact database. In today’s social media world it is also important to develop followings in-platform. This means growing connections, likes, followers, etc. Both email lists and social media platforms are essential to the distribution of content that reinforces influencer status as well as grows influence through sharing.

5. Create collaborations/partnerships:

The biggest mistake an influencer-in-training can make is assume that he/she must do it all alone. In today’s democratized world where a dishwasher has as much of a chance of being an influencer as a billionaire, there are many opportunities for collaboration. Something that my Two Men In Your Business co-host Aaron M. Sanchez and I do frequently with our workshops is to bring in others with an expertise that fits our program. We promote those individuals to our following and they do the same with theirs resulting in greater reach and broader influence. The concept of you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours is an effective tool for developing influence.

Elianne Ramos, one of the most influential Latina in politics, with Susana G Baumann, LatinasinBusiness.us at Hispanicize 2015.

Elianne Ramos, one of the most influential Latinas in politics, with Susana G Baumann, LatinasinBusiness.us at Hispanicize 2015.

6. Remain active and innovative: 

The first five steps above represent the tactics necessary to establish oneself as an influencer. However, in order to remain successful the tactics must be consistently applied and revised based on feedback. An influencer is not a state – it is a way of life. Successful influencers are consistently seeking new ways to grow their community, new approaches to deliver content, new presentations of old content and the development of new content and ideas.

Using these six tactics will allow anyone to develop into an influencer. I credit my big fish in a small pond success to these tactics. Perhaps it’s time to move to a bigger pond!

 

Jesse Torres has been named to the list of the Top 20 Most Influential Community Bankers in Social Media. The title was bestowed by the Independent Community Bankers of America.

 

Yvonne Garcia ALPFA Most Powerful Latinas

ALPFA Yvonne Garcia, the impact of Latino leadership on global markets

 

Yvonne Garcia, National Chairwoman of ALPFA

Yvonne Garcia, National Chairwoman of ALPFA

I first contacted Yvonne Garcia to write her profile in 2007 as the Experto de Hispanos for About.com, . She impressed me with her assertiveness and dedication to her career, which has grown and blossomed into national exposure. Yvonne is the National Chairwoman for the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA), a 48,000-member organization that thrives to empower and develop Latino men and women as leaders of character for the nation in every sector of the global economy.

This year, over 3000 ALPFA members gathered in the Big Apple to advance the role of Latinos not only in the national stage but also in the world markets. “We had a record-breaking convention this year in New York,” she shared with LIBizus. “Not only has it been the largest convention ever but the one with the most memorable highlights,” she affirmed.

Among the memorable programs was the Women of ALPFA Day, which featured an invitation-only breakfast with guest speakers discussing the global gender gap; panel discussions and workshops focused on soft skill development for Latina leaders; and the Women of ALPFA Luncheon where the accomplishments of Latinas were highlighted and celebrated.

“Our honoree this year for the Latina Excellence Award was Nina Vacca, Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle Technical Resources, and Chair Emeritus of the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce,” Yvonne said. “She talked about her journey to over 2000 attendees during the Women of ALPFA Luncheon,” she said.

According to the ALPFA National Chairwoman, Latinas in corporate are making headways and preparing for landing leadership roles. Knowing the personal sacrifices Yvonne made to build her professional career, a topic of our first conversation back in 2007, I was curious to know if the path has become somewhat easier for the upcoming Hispanic women eager to climb the corporate ladder.

“If anything, I believe it is harder now,” she said. “Although we are more aware of the importance of supporting Latinas to ensure more diversity in the workplace, they are now demanded to make even more sacrifices, working longer hours not only in their day jobs but also contributing to professional organizations,” she said.

ALPFA is committed to lead the support for Latinas through a more concerted effort in finding the right mentors to help those in the pipelines. “This is the commitment we ask from top corporate management; there must be a mandate from CEOs to mentor and train our women in order to build not only technical skills but also to develop leadership strength and charisma,” she added.

At her day job, Garcia, presently the Senior Vice President and Global Head of Client Solutions and PMO of the Investment Manager Services group for State Street Corporation, has global responsibility for developing new client relationships, deploying cutting-edge technology and operational processes, and delivering complex consulting engagements for existing and potential State Street clients.

Nina Vacca, Yvonne Garcia, Josefina Bonilla at the Women of ALPFA Luncheon.

Josefina Bonilla, Nina Vacca, Yvonne Garcia at the Women of ALPFA Luncheon.

She was born in Queens, New York, from the marriage of a Lebanese mother and a Dominican father, who came from the Dominican Republic in 1961. Yvonne had diverse experiences growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood but spending the summer months at her father’s country of origin. She learned Spanish as her first language.

Since she was a child, she was interested in the concept of money. At age six she organized a book sale in front of her house. She played with stamps making believe the papers she stamped were bank transactions. Always a saver, even when her brothers asked her to borrow money she would charge them interest.

Yvonne graduated with an MBA from Boston University in finance and marketing and a BA from the Sorbonne in Paris, France, where she lived while studying its economy and culture.

Beginning at the very bottom in sales in 1995, answering calls from customers in Spanish for a small community bank, she was promoted to the department of international staff given her fluency in English and French.

Yvonne Garcia ALPFA Chairwoman Closing Remarks

Yvonne Garcia ALPFA Chairwoman Closing Remarks

She then moved on to Merrill Lynch as a Financial Adviser and decided to continue her studies obtaining a master’s degree in business administration from Boston University, focusing her career in Finance and Marketing. By that time, she had also started a family and had a small baby. Yvonne found a new passion in marketing that, despite being also demanding, allowed her to manage her time in a more flexible manner.

Yvonne was appointed as Vice President of strategic assistance of the Construction Bank of China in America. In this role, Yvonne and her team were responsible for the creation and implementation of sales processes and service within the bank’s capitalization centers, which included implementation of roles, responsibilities, and tools for the sales force and the management team.

In the midst of her travels to China, Yvonne also spent more than seven weeks in North Carolina, where she acquired her certifications as Six Sigma Green and Black Belts.

She recalls China as the largest professional sacrifice because she had to leave her son to travel to China for three weeks in a row, but was also her greatest professional achievement.

She was then offered a position at Liberty Mutual as the VP and Director of Marketing to consumer market segments. In this role, Yvonne was responsible for the creation and implementation of integrated marketing strategies that resulted in the penetration of selected consumption targets throughout the country.

Student of the Year Award ALPFA Convention 2015

Student of the Year Award ALPFA Convention 2015

“I found this role through my network of ALPFA, which opened the doors for this opportunity,” she recalls. ALPFA’s is committed to grow aggressively to 100,000 members within the next two years. Anybody who is seriously devoted to their professional career must consider joining this national organization,” she added.

And she concluded, “Moreover, as the ALPFA Chairwoman in this year’s convention, all the sacrifices I made were well-rewarded when I saw the happy faces of over 40 students who received scholarships in recognition and celebration of their academic achievement and demonstrated leadership skills. We witnessed the talent of Latino students from across the country; they work hard through the year to deserve such important recognition.”

Pope-Francis-Catholic-Church-of-England-and-Wales-CC

6 Steps to become an influencer and advance your cause

Pope Francis, a massive influencer, in front of the Vatican.

Pope Francis, a massive influencer, in front of the Vatican.

I was recently asked by an acquaintance to provide the “secret” to becoming influential within a community. I responded that while I consider myself a big fish in a very small pond, the process that I follow can scale and provide big fish in a big pond results.

The following are the six steps that I have found to be effective in creating influence within a community. I believe that anyone can follow these steps to begin their journey towards becoming an influencer:

  1. Determine the industry/segment in which you wish to become an influencer.There’s a difference between being famous and being an influencer. O.J. Simpson was and continues to be famous. Better yet, infamous. John Woodenwasaninfluencer. In the sports industry today who do you think is more successful in influencing the community – even posthumously? Wooden, of course. Influencers must choose a community upon which they will focus and serve. They must respect that community and the community must have no reason to disrespect them. While future influencers need not be experts in community matters, they must eventually evolve into subjectmatterexpertsbeforetheyearninfluencer status.

    USHCC Nina Vaca, one of the most influential Latina business owners, and  Susana G Baumann LatinasinBusiness.us in Las Vegas 2014

    USHCC Nina Vaca, one of the most influential Latina business owners, and Susana G Baumann LatinasinBusiness.us in Las Vegas 2014

  2. Create content that demonstrates your thought leadership and expertise.Influencers within any community/industry generally have expert knowledge of matters within their domain. The masses listen and act on the advice of influencers specifically because they are experts. Whether their expertise relates to accounting, art or lipstick, influencers are perceived as being subject matter experts. Individuals seeking influencer status must demonstrate their mastery to the community/industry. In today’s content driven world this means that expertise should be evidenced in one or more content formats, including but not limited to, blog posts, whitepapers, videos, podcasts or any other form of content that is preferred by the community. Expertise and thought leadership must come through clearly in order for the community to adopt the individual as an influencer.
  3. Develop public relations to put a face to the name.Something I continually tell attendees at my workshops is that people do business with people. And people are influenced by people. While the Internet, social media and its many forms of content are essential, at the very core we want human interaction. Individuals seeking tocreatetheirplaceintheinfluencer Hall of Fame must ensure that they walk away from their computer screens and actually meet the community they are looking to serve. Through speaking engagements, networking functions and other face-to-face interactions influencers-in-process can help generate needed buzz from those individuals that read the book or saw the video or heard the podcast and have now put a face with a name. Big time influencers will tell you that it is not possible to meet the entire community or respond to every email, tweet or message. But they will also tell you that they invest time interacting as much as possible.

    Nelly Galan (R), influencer and founder of the Adelante Movement, with Susana G Baumann, LatinasinBusiness.us

    Nely Galan (R), influencer and founder of the Adelante Movement, with Susana G Baumann, LatinasinBusiness.us at Hispanicize 2015

  4. Build your list.One of the most valuable investments an influencer can make is to sign up for an account with Mailchimp, Constant Contact or some other email program. Consideration should be given to capturing contact information with the release of every piece of content. Show me a successful influencer and I will show you an effective contact database. In today’s social media world it is also important to develop followings in-platform. This means growing connections, likes, followers, etc. Both email lists and social media platforms are essential to the distribution of content that reinforces influencer status as well as grows influence through sharing.
  5. Create collaborations/partnerships.The biggest mistake an influencer-in-training can make is assume that he/she must do it all alone. In today’s democratized world where a dishwasher has as much of a chance of being an influencer as a billionaire, there are many opportunities for collaboration. Something that my Two Men In Your Business co-host Aaron M. Sanchez and I do frequently with our workshops is to bring in others with an expertise that fits our program. We promote those individuals to our following and they do the same with theirs resulting in greater reach and broader influence. The concept of you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours is an effective tool for developing influence.

    Elianne Ramos, one of the most influential Latina in politics, with Susana G Baumann, LatinasinBusiness.us at Hispanicize 2015.

    Elianne Ramos, one of the most influential Latinas in politics, with Susana G Baumann, LatinasinBusiness.us at Hispanicize 2015.

  6. Remain active and innovative.The first five steps above represent the tactics necessary to establish oneself as an influencer. However, in order to remain successful the tactics must be consistently applied and revised based on feedback. An influencer is not a state – it is a way of life. Successful influencers are consistently seeking new ways to grow their community, new approaches to deliver content, new presentations of old content and the development of new content and ideas.

Using these six tactics will allow anyone to develop into an influencer. I credit my big fish in a small pond success to these tactics. Perhaps it’s time to move to a bigger pond!

Jesse Torres has been named to the list of the Top 20 Most Influential Community Bankers in Social Media. The title was bestowed by the Independent Community Bankers of America.