The Importance of Social Influence on Businesses

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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

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.

Conclusion

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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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.

7 Responses

  1. Noreen Poli says:

     

    Via LinkedIn Groups

    Group: Consultants Network | Online & Social Media
    Discussion: The Importance of Social Influence on Businesses

    Without customers there are no businesses. Social sentiment as it pertains to your business is critical. The key is to know how to utlize your influencers adn how to show up authentically and engage. Then you bring it back and look at how you are doing business. Look at your current and future tracks and make the changes that align you with your cutosmer base. Align your vision so that it sows your path for where you are going.

    Noreen'

    Posted by Noreen Poli

  2. Tommy Ellis says:

     

    Via LinkedIn Groups

    Group: Professional Bloggers
    Discussion: The Importance of Social Influence on Businesses

    I use Twitter to drive almost 100% of my business. I tie it in to other sites but it is the driving force. I have seen the stats on my website drop drastically when I don't engage people through social media.
    Posted by Tommy Ellis

  3. Carol Munchoff says:

     

    Via LinkedIn Groups

    Group: Online Advertising Professionals – North America
    Discussion: The Importance of Social Influence on Businesses

    This is a very timely discussion! Influence is the natural iteration of what started out in the early days of Web 2.0 as fragmentation, then it became crowd wisdom, then we tried to figure out how to capture that momentum and now we're understanding that it's really the influence that vocal "wise crowds" have that we have to tap into. Why? Because those who you listen to, who influence you effect your brand consideration and purchase, and that's where advertisers want to be now. They get that strictly transactional advertising (click to sale) doesn't work without first getting the consideration and that comes from social influence. But how do you identify what is influential? The most objective, measurable way is to see how people engage with content. What are they reading, and how are they responding? Do they click? Do they bookmark, share, comment, create their own content? Are they posting on FB, Twitter and the myriad other social platforms out there? Once you understand how your core target audience consumes and shares relevant content, you have a blueprint for how to effectively message to them and increase your brand consideration.

    Posted by Carol Munchoff

  4. Maryann Reid says:

     

    Via LinkedIn Groups

    Group: Books and Writers
    Discussion: The Importance of Social Influence on Businesses

    You know I find social media very saturated right now with lots of people talking and selling at the same time. Can you provide against the grain techniques for ultimate exposure? Everyone is at the same place at the same time.

    To answer your last question, I think there is a fatigue happening and people want to be different and create their own spaces.
    Posted by Maryann Reid

  5. Kerry George says:

     

    Via LinkedIn Groups

    Group: Professional Bloggers
    Discussion: The Importance of Social Influence on Businesses

    We have several clients who are brand new to using social media, so they don't have large Twitter accounts or many likes on Facebook. Yet we have had powerful results in a relatively short time by using permission based emails going out to their customer base with the share buttons on them . As they post to their own social media outlets and their customers repost their emails and their blogs it is only a couple of month until enough buzz is created that new clients come in for them talking about what they heard on line. We like this better than "hits" on websites because it is tangible. The business owner knows profit was made and they are happier than hearing about a number that they can't spend. The only time we really talk about the increase traffic to the website is when we are dealing with a client of ours who is selling from their website. Then it matters more to them.
    Posted by Kerry George

  6. H. Alain Milian says:

     

    Via LinkedIn Groups

    Group: AOL Small Business
    Discussion: The Importance of Social Influence on Businesses

    Producing is very important. Yet producing without social interaction makes the environment dry. In order for a person to develop in a fuller more effective way, his/her social skills needs developing. This should not be a matter of bagels or an occasional lunch even. It's a question of trust, and continuous learning by building relationships initiated from mentors and executives.
    Posted by H. Alain Milian

  7. Carlostella Rosanna says:

     

    Via LinkedIn Groups

    Group: "Write It Down"-A Website for Writers
    Discussion: The Importance of Social Influence on Businesses

    Since when advertising started intensively in the Fifites of last Century, business is not only submitted to social inluence, but it also exerts this influence on consumers, in order to grow and expand.This is one of the defining aspects of Liberalism, which is not bad at all. The point is that consumers and customers shoul be aware of the influence that is put on them and should be able to evaluate autonomously if this influence is good or bad. I think that family and school education has a fundamental rule in this learning process. In fact, if young people acquire strategies to make their own decisions and to distinguish what is good and what is bad, a bad influence can be kept under control and a bad business is no more able to grow, hopefully. I know, parents and teachers have to work hard, but it is worth while.
    Posted by Carlostella Rosanna