The term influencer gets banded about quite a lot. I have been on a few influencer lists and have written posts on the topic in the past, particularly when The Fast Company’s “spam” project was in full flow.
A deffinition of influence is:
“The ability to alter or sway an individual’s or a group’s thoughts, beliefs, or actions.” – (Quote and graphic from influencerising.com – What is influence?)
Recently I’ve been asked in the “twitter stream if a large following was equal to influence. Jon Ingham, over at the excellent HCM blog has been talking about Social Influence, and how some people are using new media to influence people’s thinking in a social way. For whatever reason, influence is in the news.
This got me thinking as to whether the title influencer is the right one to use. If I look at my network across all of the channels, I would break down the key people (and I think of them as people rather than friends, followers, fans, audience or readers), in to categories of influence in how they affect my thinking as follows:
Sharers – These folk are the ones who post links to blogs, sites and more recently news articles that fall in to my area of interest. When I see a link from them, I trust them and have a look because I see them as “sharers” of new sources of information. Getting your posts sent out as a link by a sharer can bring you many new visitors. Spikes in blog visitors can usually be attributed to a strong sponsor who considers your post worthy of sharing. Sharers don’t just automatically post out links of their friends, the content needs to be relevent and interesting. This keeps their status as trusted sources.
Contributors – usually either bloggers or active participants in twitter chats. The contributors help shape my thinking. sometimes their writing will confirm my own thoughts, other times they make me sit up and think in a different way. The common theme is that whether it’s a 3000 word blog post or a 140 character tweet, they make me think about something. With so much information floating around, it’s has to be good to stand out. These are the blogs in my reader or the tweeters with a column in my tweetdeck. i never want to miss their stuff.
Go To Guys And Girls – the people with an area of expertise. I have got to know who is in my network with knowledge and expertise in a particular field. They are the people I go to for help or recommendation because I trust their knowledge and their willingness to help. if they recommend a product, solution or site to me I will always give it serious consideration.
Introducers – The introducers connect people who they think will have a common interest, a shared need or have the solution to a problem being talked about. They build a network by connecting others and are the people who make #FollowFriday and recommendations meaningful. I always take their advice.
Magnets – high-profile tweeters are mini-celebrities in their own, often large networks. Exchanging tweets with them, or messages on Facebook increases followers and friends. They enter in to conversations and post person to person rather than broadcast.
Reporters – I struggled over a name for these people, but they are the real-time reporters that see it as a duty to spread the messages being communicated from conferences and events via hashtags, posts, audioboos, pictures and every other form possible. Their message is not original, as its reflecting the word of others but they are the amplifiers that increase the reach of the message.
That might be a bit of stereotyping, and different people can sit in a number of camps at any one time. I think they are less “influencers” in a traditional sense, and more introducers of concepts, connections, products, applications etc that impact on the way I think. Just as valuable, and the size of their (relevent) network of contacts increases their reach, and in turn, opportunity to introduce.
The best measure of this I can come up with is daily mentions, comments and click through’s when considering how much impact they have on others. it is also how I “measure” my own network.
How do you think about your network, and who are your top “introducers?” perhaps I need to follow them to.
Keep being the ambassador of your network, and thanks for being a part of mine.
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