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This guide is based on Mixergy’s interview with Mark Schaefer.

Mark Schaefer knew that influence played a huge role in marketing, so he created content that boosted his consulting business and was named as one of Forbes “Power 50” social media influencers. It was all done using influence marketing techniques, so we invited him to teach you how to do it.

Mark is the author of Return on Influence: The Revolutionary Power of Klout, Social Scoring, and Influence Marketing, and is the founder of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, which creates marketing strategies and offers social media services at a fraction of the cost of traditional agencies.

Here are the actionable highlights from the interview.

1. Build your network so you can connect with potential clients

Mark’s client, a Nashville-based management consultant, reached out to prospects by joining a LinkedIn group for chief financial officers of Nashville.

Take Action:
To find leads, join groups that are relevant to your business or profession on platforms like LinkedIn and find targeted users on Twitter using a service like Twellow.

2. Create compelling content to engage and reel in your audience

Mark posts social media cartoons on his blog every Friday, which keeps his audience entertained while he covers topics that they find relevant.

Take Action:
Look for popular topics on Quora, then write posts that are relevant, interesting, timely, and entertaining.

3. Stick with it to figure out what works and grow an audience

Mark says that it took Chris Brogan, who is now one of the most powerful social media bloggers on the Internet, three years to get his first 100 readers.

Take Action:
Learn and try out different writing styles, engage with readers, and continue to create content even if growth seems slow.

4. Ask clients why you’re different and use it in your marketing efforts

Mark worked with a telecom firm and surveyed its customers to come up with the following point of differentiation statement that’s used for marketing campaigns: “Only we are the voice of authority.”

Take Action:
Ask customers what your company’s points of differentiation are by doing interviews and surveys and asking them to complete this statement: “Only we…”

5. Interact with your audience to build personal connections and loyalty

Mark addressed the concerns of a reader who complained frequently on his blog, and now the reader tweets recommendations for Mark’s books every day.

Take Action:
Respond to comments from your audience, address any concerns they may have, and act on feedback to improve your website, firm, and services.

6. Be likable and reciprocate so you can become a powerful influencer

Mark says social media blogger Gini Dietrich grew her audience and influence by being real and open in her blog, where she shared parts of her personal life like a video of her spending Thanksgiving with her family.

Take Action:
Be more likable by letting loose, contributing to communities, helping people out sincerely, and most importantly, by being yourself.

Want to make sure you get results?

Watch the full interview now
Written by Hazel Chua, based on production notes by Jeremy Weisz