Becoming recognized as an influencer is the quickest way to develop social credit and new business opportunities. These days, building enough of a reputation to be considered an influencer feels like simply possessing the ability to hold a civil conversation and exhibiting a minimum level of domain expertise. The three easiest approaches to becoming recognized as someone to know are frequently using analogies, asking open-ended questions, and milking past achievements.

Relatable, Shallow Analogies

How many times have you heard someone describe their product or brand identity as “it’s like X for Y”? Effective influencers love to avoid getting specific by using familiar terms, so they let their audience internalize the intended meaning. What’s a better sales pitch?

Our company sends quality food directly to your door and if you don’t like it you can mail the leftovers back to us.

Small boys nyc

We’re the Warby Parker of HelloFresh.

Big Boys NYC

Next time you need to describe your personal brand, company mission, or just want to sound smart, lose the specifics. A detail is a commitment to a fact, but you shouldn’t be downright lying. Facts just make it harder to pivot and progress in the way that suits you best.

Ask Questions You Never Answer

So what’s holding you back as a leader, and what gets you up in the morning? How would you most effectively utilize Amazon’s factories or Uber’s global network to revolutionize your target industry? How can you make synergy work for you?

All of these questions are opinionated enough to facilitate the generation of relatable answers that contain absolutely no substance. An effective thought leader identifies the “why” behind others’ questions. It’s easy to stay one step ahead of everyone (with minimal effort), as long as you can figure out what they’re thinking. Cater towards others’ motivations, rather than the questions themselves. Ask questions that people want to answer, even if the questions themselves are horribly misguided.

Milk Your Achievements

This should be self-evident: do you remember the one award you received four years ago? Congratulations, you’re now “award-winning”! Slap any good reference on your landing page, if it’s your only one. Reviews are king, but you need to make it look like you don’t really care. The fewer reviews you feature, the larger you make the text. Simple as that.

Squidward: I have a theory. People talk loud when they wanna act smart, right?

Plankton: CORRECT!

Spongebob squarepants, “Band Geeks”

Ultimately, you want to provoke people to answer their own questions without realizing how little you actually contributed. Speak up when you praise, but whisper when offering advice. Functionally, a good influencer is a cheerleader. And as always, stay big.