Speaking Socially, What Is Influence? #TChat Preview

Written by Crystal Miller

Just for kicks, I keep a running list of “industry buzzwords” that make me laugh (or groan) because they are often misunderstood on the application level.  “Influence,” especially as it relates to the world of #SocialMedia, has long since been on my list.  “WHAT IS INFLUENCE?”

If you asked my 14-year-old, she’d answer that influence pretty much comes with popularity.  Come to think of it, in the compulsory school setting, that’s probably true… but in the World of Work, we navigate different jungle gyms than the ones we did during our earlier education. .. Don‘t we?  While who you know, who you spend your time with and how you’re perceived certainly still holds influential relevance; what you contribute, do, and can do for others become primary factors in achieving influence… offline & in a social media setting.   Social media influence tools such as Klout, SocialIQ, and Booshaka seem to back this up… but, as with any system, if it can be ‘gamed,’ can it be fully trusted?

When you do achieve ‘influence,’  what does it do for you, anyway??  In the World of Work it’s generally accepted that influence opens doors, strengthens relationships, and builds credibility.  People tend to trust the recommendation of their friends over the advertisement they saw during the Superbowl; no matter how catchy it might be.  Facebook took that concept all the way to the bank with their “Like” thumbs-up; and now we can tumbl, stumble, and +1 any article, brand, business, or product that catches our eye.

Of course, just as Uncle Ben explained to Peter Parker in Spiderman “With great power comes great responsibility.”  Influence is, to a degree, power – so those who wield it do face the potential landmine of dealing with the responsibility that goes along with it.  In the world of Social, this often means promoting the causes and agendas of others.  This is not an inherently bad thing; but it does require the ability to balance those requests with our own needs & work.  Actually, that statement probably applies to the world of Social Media in general.  To gain and keep “social influence” online requires a time investment that must be balanced against our business and personal objectives/responsibilities; yet another potential landmine to navigate.  Yes, the connections & engaging conversations you have online may drive up your Social IQ score – but that’s going to be of little comfort if you lose your paycheck in the process… so know your end-goal objectives going in.

This week, we’ll be looking at what social “Influence” really means and how important is it within the World of Work?  Join us in our conversation TONIGHT 9/14 with our moderator @MeghanMBiro, along with Co-Hosts @KevinWGrossman and @TheOneCrystal  from 7-8 p.m. (Eastern) via @TalentCulture and @Monster_Works as we explore how we go about being ‘professionally influential’ and all that goes with it… plus, we’ll take a peek at social influence meters like Klout, too!

Questions & Recommended Reading for the #TChat Discussion:

1.       What does “influence” mean to you?    Does it matter?

Read:  “Measuring Influence is About More Than Boosting Your Ego” on Klout by Joe Fernandez

 2.       What goes into creating influence?  How does one become ‘influential?’

Read:  “Outside-the-Box Engagement Tools” on WeKnowNext by Matt Charney

Read: “The One Essential Key to Developing Your Social Media Influence” on Social Media Today by Joshua Leatherman

 3.       What are some of the most significant ways “influence” impacts the world of work?

Read:  “How Social Influence Impacts Consumer Behavior”  by David, Search Engine Marketing Group

 4.       Are there any potential downsides or landmines associated with having influence?

Read:  “What are Pros & Cons of Social Media Marketing” on Social Media Today by Matt Ambrose

5.       Do current tools like Klout accurately reflect influence?  Can “influence” be quantified in the first place?

Read:  “Is Klout a Good Judge of Your Social Media Influence”  on Social Media Examiner by Elijah Young

6.       What impact does social media and emerging technologies have on our perceptions of influence or influencing our behaviors?

Read:  “Quality vs. Quantity Online Relationships” on PullNotPush by Justin Cambria