Spiros Margaris is among the most influential online voices in finance and technology in the world. With an extensive background in traditional finance, he combines experience in the hedge fund industry, portfolio management, equity research with a deep working knowledge in fintech, roboadvice, and other leading-edge innovations in the financial space.
As a pioneering entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Margaris has personally founded and invested in dozens of successful companies. Margaris has more than 20 years of national and international experience in investment management and research for family offices, HNW and UHNW individuals, institutional clients and innovation and technology management.
It should come as no surprise that I met Margaris on Twitter and have gotten to know him through sharing information related to our common interests in financial technology innovation.
I have met many influencers online and I am fascinated by their back stories – how they have come to recognize the value of online social networking in their professional lives. I am equally interested in the strategies and tactics that online influencers use to achieve their success. So, I reached out to Margaris with a series of questions and he generously provided his insights.
In summary, for Spiros Margaris as with other online influencers I’ve interviewed, the recipe for online success includes the investment of considerable personal time and a genuine desire to build new relationships and promote the good work of others.
Our exchange is below.
JP: Why do you feel social networks are an important place to build influence?
SM: Social media, in particular Twitter, is an important Fintech influence. LinkedIn and Facebook, to a lesser extent, are perfect mediums to connect and exchange thoughts with experts in various topics and with people with similar interests. These forums allow for instant and constant knowledge exchange and learning if you are receptive to what social media can offer. Of course, like anything, it needs some common sense to filter out what is not useful or relevant. Fintech influencers are a great source for finding great curated content to read and reshare.
How much time do you spend “social networking” each week? (And how do you find this time in your schedule?)
I think my social networking time — reading and spreading content — is around three to four hours a day, seven days a week. I network very late at night and early in the morning, and I also network whenever I find the time during the day.
I am often tired since I do it every day and late at night. I believe if you do not put the effort and time into your Tweet or social content, people will notice and eventually you will experience a diminishing influence. Let’s not forget, it is social media, so try to be as social as possible. I am lucky it is in my nature to be social — that’s why social media is the perfect medium for me to share my thoughts and opinions.
Where do you find the excellent content that you share? (Who are the people you curate and what are the news/information publications that you rely on?)
I have always read a lot — and I still do. The content I Tweet comes from all kinds of newspapers, trade magazines, university research papers, consultants, and great blogs by people I admire and respect. I like to mix the content I read and Tweet so that I don’t get bored and hopefully not bore the people who follow and Retweet me. In regards to the thought leaders I follow, there are too many to mention here and I don’t want to leave anyone out. The best way to identify the thought leaders that I follow is to look at my timeline.
How to you share content?
I use Buffer to schedule my social media content when I am not publishing it live.
Do you use any social intelligence applications to identify other influencers?
No. With time and experience you get a good feeling about the influencers and people you should follow and Retweet.
Are there any tactics that you find particularly effective for generating online engagement? (For instance, I would think that tagging photos in Twitter is one such tactic that really increases engagement.)
Tagging should only be used in moderation and you should only tag people who don’t mind it too much. I am quite successful with Tweets where no one is tagged. I do not use tagging to increase engagements but rather to share content with like-minded influencers.
Would you say that you get positive ROI from your investment (personal time and resources) into social networking and, if so, what are the benefits?
I can definitely say that I get a very positive ROI on my time and resource investment into social networking. I can interact and exchange my thoughts with other great thought leaders in Fintech and other interesting industries, such as Insurtech, AI, and IoT.
How do you measure your ROI from these online activities? How does your online reputation and influence translate into offline, real-world benefits to you or your business?
I monitor and measure my Twitter impact with the Twitter analytics tool and my overall social media impact with my Klout Score.
How this translates into offline, real-world benefits is a little complex. I think most top influencers have access to interesting people in their industry who can generate all kinds of business opportunities for all kinds of participants. Real-world examples are opportunities to advise and invest in Fintech startups, helping startups find funding, and advising financial institutions in finding the next Fintech partnership or strategy.
What does it take to be a real influencer?
If you want to be a real influencer, then you must try to make other people shine. You must try to help others get broader exposure of their great content, rather than your own content. That’s more important than anything else and is the true power of social media.