7 Ways to Be a Good Influence on Others

Online influence is booming, and two of the main reasons why—you guessed it—are the money and power that usually go along with a huge follower base. A recent article by the New York Times titled, "The Follower Factory," reports:

For some entertainers and entrepreneurs, this virtual status is a real-world currency. Follower counts on social networks help determine who will hire them, how much they are paid for bookings or endorsements, even how potential customers evaluate their businesses or products.

The article goes into detail regarding how people have gone so far as to even purchase online followers via companies that provide automated accounts known as "bots" to boost their clients' status.

It is important to note that there can be considerable value in having an online presence in order to connect with people for many worthy purposes. Yet, it's not the only way. Everyone can be an influencer for the good of others—and they don't need social media to make it happen. Here are seven ways that have been effective long before there was ever something called the Internet!

1. Listen

Listening has almost become a forgotten art. Try not to think about the next thing you are going to say, and instead focus on what is being said. Ask questions so that you can better understand what people are trying to communicate in order to be of help to them (James 1:9).

2. Pray

God is sovereign, and nothing can thwart his will. Share your burdens for others with your heavenly Father and ask for his help in their lives (1 Timothy 2:1).

3. Invest

Find a way to do something to invest in people; don't just say that you hope things will go well for them. Be a mentor; teach a skill; help pack for a move; make a connection that could result in a job offer; babysit for a couple that needs a date night; cook, bake, clean, garden, or run errands for a new mom or someone who is recovering from an illness or accident (Galatians 6:2).

4. Share

Not a post or a tweet or a pin, but actual stuff. If you own something that you are not using on a regular basis, consider sharing it—either temporarily or permanently—with someone who needs it (Hebrews 13:16).

5. Fulfill

When you fulfill your responsibilities and comport yourself with honor, diligence, and humility in your family life, work, church, and community on a consistent basis, people notice. True, you won't do everything perfectly, but your commitment over the long haul to loving God and your neighbor—even amidst struggles and failures—will inspire others. As the old saying goes, "Your actions speak so loudly, I can't hear what you are saying" (see Luke 6:46).

6. Invite

Invite people over to your home for a meal, snack, coffee, Bible study, movie, or game night. Opening up your home to people on a regular basis is fertile ground for nurturing relationships and building trust (Titus 1:8).

7. Love

When people sense that you genuinely love them and want their best, they are more likely to listen to your advice (1 John 4:7).

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