Enlarging and Stewarding Your Online Influence: A Recap from ENGAGE Conference 2020

I am not a social media person. Over the years, I have moved away from social media, mostly because I don’t like the part of me that wants to manipulate and control my online “persona”. I mostly use social media for work and to occasionally check in on my children.

After reading the title of this video, I fully expected to hear about analytics, hashtagging, Search Engine Optimization and other technical information. However, I was inspired and engaged by Brandon’s message that went much deeper than the tactical “how-to’s” of growing an online influence. He accurately pointed out that social media is a reflection of what is going on in the world; people are talking about the things that matter to them, their fears, their frustrations, their hopes. He pointed out the harsh reality that it can be a dark place. It reminded me of the old question, “Does art imitate life or does life imitate art?” I think the same question can be asked of social media. There is darkness in the world, and it is reflected online through social media platforms and the darkness that breeds online is reflected in our world. The Holy Spirit has used Brandon to pierce my heart with conviction; who am I to hide the light God has lit in me and put it under a basket?

Brandon shares 3 Pillars (mostly alliterated like a true pastor), to develop a platform to influence others online and 6 elements for enlarging that platform. The video is both motivating and practical. Motivation is what I really needed because I am a purpose driven person and I have been struggling with the motivation to create my own social media platform as a business owner.

I recently decided to re-launch my business as a coach and consultant after taking a break to help start a nonprofit that is focused on mentoring young adults. As I put together my business plan, website, etc., I have been dreading the creation of a social marketing plan. Marketing feels like a waste of time when I would much rather be “working” with clients. A part of me wishes I could just work for free, but cash is still king at the grocery store and my Pro Bono work doesn’t pay the electric bill. Following Brandon’s wisdom helped me see the role social media can have in my ministry, my personal life and my business.

Brandon’s 3 Pillars for developing an online platform of influence are Purpose, Personality and Content.

Purpose – Know the “why” behind what you are doing. What is your message?

There was a season in our family’s life where we homeschooled our oldest son. The most powerful advice I was given as we set out on our homeschool journey was, “Make sure you know why you are homeschooling, because you WILL find yourself on the floor of the bathroom crying at some point and you will need to remind yourself ‘why’ God called you to homeschool.” It was true about homeschooling and it is true about any endeavor God sends us out to do.

If you struggle to know your “why”, try a little strategy I learned in my coach’s training. I call it the “Toddler Tootsie Pop Tool.” You just keep asking yourself “why” until you hit the center.

Why do I want to start a coaching business? Because I want to help people.

Why do I want to help people? Because I want them to find their purpose.

Why do I want them to find their purpose? So, they will have hope for their life.

Why do I want them to have hope? So, they will have light in the darkness.

Why do I want them to have light in the darkness? So, they can know and cling to God.

For me, it usually takes about 5 “Why’s” to get to the center of the tootsie pop.

Personality – Find the unique voice God gave you.

What breaks your heart and how will people see the Gospel through the lens of what matters to you? Is it the homeless, widows, orphans, social justice, grief, mental illness, technology that helps people stay connected… fill in the blank with how God has broken your heart for the world.

I love that Brandon calls each of us to speak our truth with our unique voice instead of trying to remove ourselves from the message God has for the world. God is the author of all scripture and yet we see the personalities of each of the writers when we read the Bible. It is awe inspiring that God wants to use me to reach the world with the unique voice He has given me. I am motivated to go online and use my voice as light in the darkness.

Content – write, video, preach, record, design, and share your “why”.

I loved the 3 realms Brandon shared to inspire how and to whom you deliver your content; to lost people, to the specific group you serve and to your peers. This is a great way to think about how what you are passionate about affects these groups of people. How does your message affect those who are still not found in Christ? How does your message affect the people you are responsible for leading and serving? How does your message affect your peers in your industry and community? Create the content and share it.

From here Brandon moves from motivation to action by giving 6 practical elements to enlarge our platform.

1. Create your own website - Your website is an anchor even when social media algorithms change, your website is still standing. Have a blog as a part of your website – not as your website.

2. Create your own email list.

3. Use the homepage of your website to get people to “opt-in” to your email list.

4. Use Social Media to distribute content, join conversations and engage in larger conversations...
Twitter – great for sharing links
Facebook Page/Profile – info about your, sharing content, contact info, using ads
LinkedIn - networking with peers
Instagram - branding

5. Break content into bite-size pieces. – whatever content you are putting out – make it available as books, devotionals, articles, discussion questions, courses, etc.

6. Lead toward your products and services – give people a way to buy, hire, etc.

Conclusion

I visited Brandon’s website and found that he practices what he preaches. I learn best by example, so it was very helpful to see “how” he does what he teaches with his unique voice and in his unique way. Brandon has converted me as a social media supporter, and that is saying a lot. There is a lot of great information and wisdom in Brandon’s video. He shares from his past experience at Saddleback church, in the tech industry and as a preaching pastor. He answers the “why” we need to engage on social media and follows through with practical steps to find our voice and create an online platform of our own.