What is social influence and why is it so important to businesses today? Influencers are talking online and we are definitely listening. The question is how much are we letting the advice steer us to greater business heights?
Measuring influence, from a social media perspective, is a trend that has gained a great deal of momentum lately. The top influencers are the very same people who are valuable from a marketing perspective and these are the people who have a very positive impact on the rest of the population. The definition of influence is the power or ability to affect someone’s beliefs or actions, a person or thing with such ability or power, the power arising out of status, contacts, or wealth and the power to produce a physical change. When it comes to social influence, however, the concept that a small number of top individuals have the ability to steer others is quite extraordinary, considering how many people there are in the world. Remember, influence is based on trust and engagement models that endure are critical.
How social influence is affects business
An influencer is a person whose knowledge and ideas impact the way that other people conduct business. There are many different ways in which a person can achieve influencer status. If a person has been in business for a long time, it is common for others to regard him or her as a person of influence. By virtue of the fact that the person is older, automatically, he or she is wise. Another type of person who might be considered an influencer is the person with whom we have been connected for a long time. Subject matter experts are also considered influencers. The higher their credibility level, the stronger their influence. All of these influencers have the power to affect people’s businesses in one way or another. Their opinions drive other business people to make decisions in one direction or another.
The responsibility of the influencer is to create buzz, drive sales and increase traffic. There are other methods of achieving those goals, however, influencers accomplish this on a much grander scale. When businesses work with influencers, the end result can be incredible. The effect that social media has had on social influence is phenomenal. It causes influence to spread at the speed of light, no matter where the people are around the world. Influence flows to every person everywhere.
How is influence measured?
It is not difficult to apply online metrics to social influence. It can be measured by Likes on Facebook and by retweets on Twitter. Interestingly enough, the size of a network does not necessarily have anything to do with the strength of the influence. When gathering metrics, it is important to look beyond simple counting to see how engaged people are with the content that you are sharing with them. The proportion of content is a strong driver when it comes to people’s influence. The biggest metric is if a person has read content and takes some sort of action as a result of that.
How should businesses engage with the most appropriate influencers?
First of all, the business owner needs to identify exactly what he or she is trying to accomplish by engaging with influencers. Once they have done that, they should pinpoint which metrics they want to use to determine how much progress they have made toward accomplishing their goals. After that, comes the identification of the influencers who can help their businesses in the most effective manner. When it comes to social influence, it is important to leave the guidance in the hands of the influencers. When building a relationship with an influencer, it is important to remember that they are people and should be treated that way.
Social influence and influencers are critical elements when it comes to the success of businesses. It is very interesting that social influence measurement has the potential to turn into a real time business application. You, as a business owner, may be the most intelligent, creative, experienced person in the universe but that does not mean that there is nothing that anyone can teach you. There is always more to learn and the business world is so fortunate that there are social influencers who can offer guidance and help so that goals can be accomplished successfully.
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About the Author.
Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).