I don’t know if you can remember your days at school where how many friends you had was something to be valued in the school playground.
If you only had one or two friends you were viewed as something of a loser.
Being the leader of a group or “gang” you were seen as influential and could wield power and make your followers take action through coercion or through your influence.
The school yard became our our first introduction to the world of influence. Being chosen to collect the milk money, be a cheerleader or a class president, were all indicators of power and influence and being in the position to make a difference to contribute and make things happen was something that we started to value.
The art and science of being influential is also valuable for both corporate and personal brands as it allows you to affect peoples actions and words that can spread your brands message and drive revenue and attention.
Wikipedia says “Social influence can also be described as power – the ability to influence a person/group of people to one’s own will”
and this power has been valued by humans since we emerged out of the mists of time.
As we move more of our lives online and interact digitally globally with our desktop and mobile devices such as smartphones and iPads the power and the ability to be influential online is starting to be seen as a valuable asset worth having and growing.
There are 3 key benefits that social networks bring to digital influence that did not exist a few years ago.
- Digital influence is also highly valued as it provides people the platform and means to influence globally in ways we have never been able to do before the rise of the Web and the social networking and technology tools at our disposal
- Accelerate and amplify that power and influence that previously took decades to develop to days, week and months using global digital social channels such as Facebook, YouTube or Twitter
- Reduce friction to influence by making it easy to share online using tools such retweet and Facebook share buttons
Today we can at a glance see the potential influence of people and companies by the “quantification of attention and influence” that is revealed through
- How many friends or fans they have on Facebook
- The quantity of subscribers to a blog
- How many people leave comments on posts
- The number of Twitter followers they have
- How many YouTube views the video has received
- LinkedIn connections
In fact some book publishers are now requiring their authors to have a minimum of 2,000 Twitter followers and 1,000 Facebook fans prior to publishing. In addition to these obvious and public statistics and credibility buttons there are tools on the Web that allow you to measure other Web influence indicators for websites such as
- Traffic volume to websites and blogs showing, unique visitors, pageviews and hits (Compete.com)
- Inbound links from other websites (Yahoo Site Explorer)
So how do you influence people online in a digital world?
It is something that I have been exploring and a poll I have been running on this blog over the last year has to date produced over 1,700 votes on the topic of “What Makes a Brand or Person Influential on Twitter” that has shown that the 2 keys to being influential on the Twitter digital channel are
- Quality content
- The ability to make other people take action
Hubspot recently sponsored the Influencer Project which was organised by Thoughtlead that asked 60 influential thought leaders to state one proven way to increase your influence online.Here are some of their thoughts on what they see as being important in being influential in a digital world.
- Create valuable content on YouTube, blog post or an eBook that helps people solve their problems – David Meerman Scott of Webinknow.com
- Be really transparent about everything that you’re doing, sharing a lot of that information, being really open. And that will help you build your digital influence – Mike Volpe of Hubspot
- Consistency demonstrates commitment. So, for the people that you’re trying to serve, if you are consistent, they’re going to keep coming back – Michael Port of MichaelPort.com
- Follow better people so then you will read and view great content then enabling you to produce great output (content) – Robert Scoble of Scobleizer.com
- Creating relationships with outstanding strategic partners Carol Roth at CarolRoth.com.
- Make connections with people online, and then go and meet them in person in the real world offline – Scott Porad of ScottPorad.com
- Create content that stands for something—what Joe calls “Higher Purpose Content Marketing” which is remarkable, divisive or inspirational – Joe Pulizzi founder of Junta42 and The Content Marketing Institute
- Lead your customers with the latest trends in your industry Laurel Touby – founder of MediaBistro.com.
- Develop and nurture multiple circles and multiple spheres of influence – Chris Guillebeau from the blog The Art of Non Conformity
- To increase your digital influence, just start talking to people – Laura Roeder from LauraRoeder.com
If you want to learn more I would urge you to to visit these leaders blogs and websites you will be inspired by their valuable content.
Is influence something that you value and aspire to?
Image by BotheredByBees