What it takes to be influential through social platforms
This blog post is co-authored by Fiona Miller and Tim Aldiss. We’re going to explain what we think it takes for someone to be influential online and discuss our thoughts around becoming an important voice.
First up – what social influence means to Analyst Fiona Miller
Social influence to me simply means a trusted voice. The sources I go to for specific information, ideas, and creativity. Influencers could be the most knowledgeable voice in their own area, or they could simply be a trusted source that can be applied to many areas.
“Social influence to me simply means a trusted voice. The sources I go to for specific information, ideas, and creativity.”
In order to succeed at being an influencer the aim should always be to identify who you want to influence and why? Once you have sourced your audience the tone in which you transmit your voice is equally important.
“The key to influence is very much in the giving!”
This means creating meaningful content in a variety of formats depending on what your audience need. If I wanted to share some information with my peers in the music industry on engaging with social business creatively, I wouldn’t share a numbers-heavy report. Moreover, I would take time to break down the essential information. In this instance it could be useful to create a “top three do’s and don’ts list for socialising your music”.
“Alan Sugar is a great example of a social influencer who has a trusted voice without compromising his personality.”
Looking in to my own social circles, the people who influence me whether they be a brand or an individual all share similar attributes:
If John Peel were alive today he would probably be in the same league as Stephen Fry when it comes to social influence, someone for whom you may not always agree with but who will always locate information true to his or her own voice with integrity and experience.
And now to hand over to Business Leader Tim Aldiss…
I’d be the first to admit that I easily get influence and advocacy mixed up when it comes to social media and particularly the measurement thereof.
I’ll give you an example. When I first joined the BLOOM team I sent a tweet of delight at my becoming a BLOOMer! I was spotted by a friend of mine, @andykeetch, Account Director at Brandwatch. He tweeted back simply saying: “Those BLOOM guys are awesome!” Does this count as advocacy or influence?
Well in many cases it’s both! But what I’m trying to isolate is the difference between them. Here’s how I see it broadly:
- Advocacy is when someone condones something or someone;
- Influence is when something or someone sways your opinion.
Let’s now take a look in a little more detail about the sociological side of influence as this is really where it starts to get fascinating.
I’ve often said that if I ever had the chance to go back and study that I would want to study sociology. It’s such a broad field and covers everything from perception to vulnerability to what Nilofer Merchant recently termed onlyness (the unique position that we each hold in our place in life and through our careers).
“Choosing who you follow helps define how you give and receive influence. The more relevant the people you follow, the more you share influence.”
So for me I use Twitter mostly for the bridge between work and friends (same with Instagram), Facebook is friends and family, and Google+ and Linkedin (and Quora et al) are for work.
The (current) Wikipedia definition is as follows: Social influence occurs when an individual’s thoughts, feelings or actions are affected by other people.
“Being connected in the digital world is a great way of extending the genuine physical connections of the real world.”
When were you last influenced? For me it was last night when I was given a better option than Primark for the purchase of this lovely winter jumper that I was wearing when I drafted this post!