Millions of updates are shared on social media every day and years worth of content is spread along with it. When we log in to Twitter we are greeted with “What’s happening?” On Facebook it’s with “What’s going on?” Social media demands content from us and is driven by user-generated content, but it adds a lot of noise across the social media channels we are using and on the social web.
Some organisations sport hundreds of followers and unique visitors to their blog every month while others have thousands of followers and generate so much more unique traffic. Which one has more influence? Of course you will think that the organization with a larger audience has more influence, and in some cases, you might be correct. But, digital influence goes so much further than the number of people following you or the traffic you are generating to your blog.
Influence is not popularity
Having many “likes” on Facebook and followers on Twitter doesn’t make you influential. Many celebrities have thousands of followers on Twitter and other social media channels, but if you are selling portable toilets to construction companies, tweeting about a celebrity would really offer little more than just a ripple of brand awareness. Influence only happens when the influencer and their target audience are aligned, making exchanges relevant and useful.
Influence is about the topic
No matter how you look at it, influence has everything to do with the topic being talked about and the follow-up action that is generated. Is the conversation relevant and meaningful to the audience being targeted? Does the conversation spark them to take any action?
If you are selling kitchen accessories, having celebrities (especially the well known chefs) tweet about how they are using your products can significantly boost the awareness of your business. A highly relevant audience together with a clear action to take makes for a success story and an increased online influence.
Target your audience
If you find something that works in one of the social media channels that you are using, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work on your other profiles as well. Some people have built up huge amounts of “likes” on Facebook, but are far less focused on Twitter. Others are only focusing on building a community around their blog and not worried about any social networks. It all depends on where your target audience spends their time online.
Whether you are an individual interested in building your digital influence or a business looking to build up brand advocates, influence is so much more than just a numbers game and a Klout score. Examine your followers, “likes”, and blog comments. How connected are you with your target audience? If you only have 500 followers, you may be more influential than you initially thought.