Your Voice Matters: 10 Ways to Influence without Becoming an Influencer
Lessons from someone who sometimes has something to say
I met Jeff Weiner in 2017. At the time, he was the CEO of LinkedIn. I told him during our meeting that I wanted to write an article called “What Happened to Women in Product,” telling the story of how Product Management went from a 50/50 gender balance to women making up less than 10% of the field.
He made me a deal: if I posted the article on LinkedIn, he would help amplify it on the platform. At the time, I had been researching the issue for over a year. It took me another three years to work up the courage to finish and post my findings. Finally, on October 21, 2020, I put the article out into the world. Jeff lived up to his word and shared it, causing it to go viral on his platform.
For many years, I rarely posted on social platforms beyond Facebook. I had a small private Instagram account, but that was about it. Eventually, in 2019, I was persuaded by my team’s PR lead, Lisa Revelli, to create a public Instagram account so I could connect with people who used Facebook Marketplace and hear their feedback and stories. In 2022, I (re)created a Twitter account, because other authors suggested it was a great place to connect with readers.
All of this felt a bit overwhelming, so I decided to treat it as a challenge. I had already committed to writing weekly for my blog, so I started posting things related to what I was already writing. I wish I could say I had a singular purpose, like Shyvee did (check out her story here), but my journey was much less intentional. I had no plans other than to occasionally put myself out there.
I write this post to tell you that you don’t have to be a superstar to find your voice. Sometimes, posting can just be something you do because you have something you want to say or connect over. That is absolutely okay. While Shyvee’s post was about how she amplified her voice, this post is for someone who isn’t sure they are ready for that. When you're first getting started, it is okay to whisper instead of shout.
With that in mind, here are a few tips for people who are new to putting themselves out there on social media:
1. Just be you
“Be yourself” may sound cliche, but that’s because it’s true. You shouldn’t focus on copying someone else's style or following trends. Instead, simply be you. Focus on things that you care about. My first posts that took off on Facebook were about my kids, eventually gaining the hashtag #mommyschool and even inspiring a comic strip.
Authenticity and real experience are your most valuable assets because they are something you can maintain and connect with other people over for long periods of time. It is not about trying to be something you are not, or copying something just because you've heard it works. If you are first learning the ropes, post about your journey. If you have something you are passionate about teaching to others, start there. If you just want to post funny stories about your kids, go for it. Being true to yourself is the first step to finding your voice.
2. Know your why
If you know why you’re doing something, you will have a better sense of what success looks like to you. I started my newsletter because I wanted to share the lessons I’ve learned over the course of many years in this industry. Now, as I go into my third year of Perspectives, I want this blog to be a "career coach in a box" for anyone who otherwise can’t easily get access to coaching. My message is that we can all grow in our own way, no matter our role or experience.
When people write back and tell me that something I wrote changed their path, that is the biggest reward I can ask for. Two people recently reached out to share how something I wrote or shared touched them. One said that my article Are You a Maker or Taker last year helped them get out of their rut. Another shared how a a casual meeting changed their career trajectory and turned them to someone who spoke with confidence. This continues to motivate me to continue this work.
3. Aim for consistency over perfection
Most people don’t stick to something for long periods of time. There are over 2M published podcasts out there (ref), but a quarter of them don’t have more than a single episode, and nearly two-thirds don’t have more than 10 (ref). How much more success would these creators see if they stuck with it for a bit longer?
The more you do something, the better you get—and that includes finding your voice. This doesn’t have to mean blogging every single day or becoming a full-time influencer. Unfortunately, many modern platforms suggest posting daily(!) to ensure you are fresh for their algorithms, but for many of us, that isn’t feasible. This was never something I sought to do; what I wanted was to make posting a sustainable habit without getting burned out.
The best way to find consistency is to pick a cadence and just do it, no matter how fast or slow the pace is. Even if your goal is just to post once a month, or to work on something for 15 minutes each week, that is absolutely fine. When you find a rhythm that works for you, you are setting the stage for a long-term habit, and that trumps perfection every time.
4. Focus on connection, not numbers
When I worked in social media, we talked a lot about this phenomenon: the minute a post or video goes viral, creators start to chase that high. That number of impressions becomes the new threshold for success. If you usually get 100 views on your posts, and then on one, you get 1,000, you raise your expectations for future posts. Every time you outdo yourself, you raise the bar, and anything that falls below that feels like a failure. This can become a vicious cycle.
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