Social Influence - Would someone please explain what it means?

Certainly you've heard someone along the way mention an association between influence and popularity, but trust me, popularity is not influence!

Below, I will attempt to break it down - what is influence and how you can prepare to use it for your business? Doing a simple Google search results in a wide range of definitions explaining social influence, but I'll try to give it to you from a digital marketer's viewpoint and offer reasoning as to how it can benefit your business.

Why Should My Business Pay Attention to Social Influence?

When your business attains enough authority and trust online, social influence happens. This can, in turn, affect your followers' decisions and or actions. This can be achieved with a thought-out content strategy, along with some old-fashioned hard work feeding your social networks. It could happen consciously or even by chance - regardless, it needs to matter to your business.

Let's consider your business' objective: more often than not it will be focused upon sales. That said, you can start to understand why social influence shouldn't be ignored. The more influence you have within your community, the greater attention it will give to you, and the more likely it will be to buy from you and share your content with its audience. 

So What Can Your Business Do To Gain Some Influence In Social Media?

Influence comes when your content begins to impact your audience. Whether it's video, image, text, or a combination, content is what drives your influence. The amount of Influence you have can vary from platform to platform, relative to the time and energy you give to its audience. (Be sure to track where your messaging has the most impact.)

Get your community to take your advice. When the members of the community trust you, it's more likely they will contribute and share your content. This will also give them a sense of security to take part in your buying process, knowing your advice is strong or that your content is worth the price.

Increasing your social influence equals more people sharing, buying, and listening to your business.

How Do We Measure Social Influence?

There are a large number of companies out there throwing big dollars at developing ways to measure your social influence. Let me be clear, none of them are faultless, so use this data with a grain of salt. Use these services as a guide to uncover the connected consumers you should target and what their potential reach is.

Klout, PeerIndex, SproutSocial, and Kred all uncover some pretty handy metrics, like who they've been influencing and how. I cannot stress enough, do not focus on the scores!

Your business can now turn online conversations into actionable insights that will improve decision making across each layer of your business. Your business should recognize negative feedback from influential sources and gain a better understanding of where you may be falling short, take actions to correct, and revise your strategy to more effectively match the needs of your customers. Any complaints or negative feedback can certainly lead to positive outcomes. By identifying them, your business can react accordingly and implement effective influence strategies -- and this can put you a step above your competition.

Once your business can identify who significant influencers are in your market, you've discovered the prospective ability to steer and shape your consumers' opinions and affect positive outcomes.  With an improved understanding of how social influence works and with the help from these new social influence tools, your business can be hands-on, control and steer conversations by connecting with influencers, and engage with your target audiences.



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