Question of the Week: Do You Consider Yourself Influential?

July 16, 2010

in Editor's Corner

One of the recurring, underlying themes in the blogosphere is influence.

Domino Theory At Work

Photo Credit: r o s e n d a h l (flickr)

This week, a few of the good posts revolving around influence included Kristi HinesHow to Find the Most Influential People on Twitter in Your Niche, which details some strategies you can use to develop relationships with people of influence, (with the ideal result being that you also increase yours).

One of my posts was published over at Big Girl Branding, If No One is Listening, It’s Time to Expand Your Circle, which outlines three sites where you can publish your work (so, going outside of your blog) to increase your reach aka influence.

Susan Murphy (suzemuse.com) wrote Why Are We So Hung Up on Influence, in which she questions whether we put too much importance in the idea of influence, particularly as it’s expressed in numbers (like Twitter Klout scores, etc.) It’s a great post and in terms of considering someone highly influential based on sheer volume, she’s right that that’s not the right way to look at it.

Lessons from The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point, Malcolm GladwellIf you’ve ever read Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, you can see that influence, as expressed in numbers, does matter (provided that you actually believe his research/observations). Getting hung up on numbers isn’t the question; that’s a question of personality and maturity. But being able to see numbers for what they are is essential.

The subtitle to The Tipping Point is ‘How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference,’ but if you stop reading there, you’d be missing the entire point. Don’t get caught up on the word little because it’s the word big in that sentence that matters most in the book. It’s calling a “tipping” point for a reason. The cause of the tipping point may be small, but without the result – the effect – it would be moot.

Numbers Matter

Numbers matter. I realize that it is an inconvenient truth. If you are paid hourly, and next week you only receive payment for 1/3 of those hours, you would notice then that numbers matter. Likewise, if your biggest retweeter decided tomorrow that they don’t want to retweet any more of your stuff, you would surely notice that numbers matter. If you have been selling 40 ebooks a month through an affiliate who receives a few thousand unique visitors a day, and tomorrow that affiliate pulls your ad down, you will see quickly that numbers matter. In those last two examples, the retweeter and the affiliate are influencers, and if they were to shut down their influence as far as you are concerned, it would become very obvious that numbers matter.

Importantly, though, we should always keep numbers in perspective, and realize the importance of both cause and effect.

You Are the Cause, Influence is the Effect

I’m going to make a huge assumption here that as a blogger, you would be thrilled if you suddenly had a lot more readers, a lot more subscribers, a lot more Twitter followers, a lot more Facebook fans, etc. If that’s an incorrect assumption, then consider this irrelevant in your case.

Assuming, though, that you would love to expand your reach, do you realize your ability to influence as it stands right now? Does it matter? Would it make a difference in sales, clientele, subscriber number? Do you take responsibility for it?

The thing about influence is that it can build; it can be set off by the domino effect. You may not be what is defined as an “[intlink id="3341" type="post" target="_blank"]influencer[/intlink],” per se, but you could possibly influence an influencer. Or you could influence someone who has the ear of an influencer. It’s quite possible. You may be already part of a domino effect that you haven’t been able to see.

Influence in Blogging and Social Media

Do you consider yourself an influential blogger? If so, how do you know that is the case?

Do you think the very question is out of line?

Also, is the term or label influence something we get hung up on, yet the meaning itself still remains vitally important? For example, if social media clout was removed as a label, would it not still be just as important to note whether some people get more click throughs from their tweets than others? Or whether some bloggers attract more readers, or get more subscribers, than you? What do you think?

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linkylinkz June 28, 2011 at 5:03 am

I love the idea you make about influencing an influencer or someone who has the ear of an influencer. This is true since we are seeking for an amount of followers we indeed needed. Copywriting Nottingham @http://www.junocopywriting.com

seo_tweeters June 23, 2011 at 6:52 am

I’m not considering myself an influential blogger, I think this can be done by the others who read your posts especially. Andy from http://www.realwebseo.com .

seo_tweeters June 23, 2011 at 6:49 am

I’m not considering myself an influential blogger, I think this can be done by the others who read your posts especially. Andy <a href=”http://www.realwebseo.com”>SEO</a> from http://www.realwebseo.com

seo_tweeters June 23, 2011 at 6:49 am

I’m not considering myself an influential blogger, I think this can be done by the others who read your posts especially. Andy from http://www.realwebseo.com

seospidy@Internet marketing August 10, 2010 at 3:03 am

very interesting topic to share I got very interesting thoughts and comments to read here at such excellent article. :)

Jean Has Been Shopping July 24, 2010 at 10:25 am

You have so much great advice here! I’ve literally spent 90 minutes following your links and absorbing their content. Bravo and thank you!

Bon Crowder July 20, 2010 at 4:20 am

I’m not sure influence is what I’m looking for. World domination might be fun, but influence seems to be one of those things that you can only have over little people-sponges or sheep, not the thinking populace.

I prefer to be the cue ball that sends the billiard balls in other directions rather than in the direction that I am going.

Don’t follow me, use me as a spring board.

Tia Peterson July 20, 2010 at 7:01 am

Awesome, awesome thought. I like that, too.

I think the term “influence” has gotten a bit of a bad rep. We use it in a certain way colloquially, but I think its meaning is far more broad.

Love the spring board analogy!

Cheers,

Tia

Gail Gardner @ Bloggers Support Bloggers November 5, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Hi Bon,

I don’t agree. Some of us – and Tia would be included in that “us” – are influential with other leaders and thinkers. We collaborate and are influential with each other.

On another level we are influential with the general public on Twitter or Facebook or among those who read our blogs. Each of us has different spheres of influence and we get to choose them if we wish.

iPhone Application Development July 19, 2010 at 3:13 am

Yes within my small circle of online friends I am influential especially among newbie bloggers. But there is lot I can do to become a kind of an authority.

Febap Liew @ Make Money Online Today July 18, 2010 at 10:07 pm

allright,
i am not influential yet in any way =P but of course I really hope to be. who doesn’t ? lol

but anyway, this hasn’t been my main priority and i am not utilizing any marketing strategy to reach such goals. I believe as i come to give out valuable insights and value, the question of making money and being influential will present itself gradually but surely.

But anyway, this does triggers a certain ‘curious’ button in me. I am wondering now, ” how does it feel like to be influential? Money making will surely come easy, isn’t it? I will be invited to attend talks, interviews, forums etc. =P.”

However, let me not go too far on that just yet. What’s important now is that I stick true to my value =). i should add this into my ‘do-do-list’. =P

cheers

ashok July 18, 2010 at 6:59 pm

I drop the word influence plenty, but I’m staying quiet here and reading through the comments and other posts. There’s a pretty specific thesis at play here, esp. when the domino effect is considered, and I do wonder about it. Sometimes I feel like we recycle a lot of ideas in the blogosphere, but there are people who have definitely influenced through ideas – Problogger’s general enthusiasm for “you can find the advertisers you need yourself, you can market directly” may be a key example.

CasementWindows July 18, 2010 at 1:22 pm

great article and a great blog

Sherryl Perry July 18, 2010 at 11:37 am

Tia, I love the point you make about influencing an influencer or someone who has the ear of an influencer. It’s so easy for me follow the really well-known bloggers and comment on their posts but unless I do something really impressive, I will probably never have an influence on them. They may never even know who I am. However, as you’ve pointed out, by building trust with people they trust – for example guest bloggers on their blogs, maybe I can eventually become an influencer myself. Thanks for another great post.

Michelle @ Italian Mama Chef July 18, 2010 at 8:10 am

Tia, I think I am influential to a small number of readers. I have a small following, which is ok, but I get about 40 hits on average a day due to my SEO keywords. I really wish I could figure out how to get more subscribers and grab people in to what I am doing. I get a lot of followers on Twitter that are nothing but a “bot” that wants me to follow back. I do get a few now and then that are real people. It seems there is just so many people out there to connect with that I feel like I fail them after a bit.
I think I’ll get the hang of this sooner or later. For now, being a powerful influence in my childrens’ lives is enough for now.

Harry July 18, 2010 at 7:39 am

I’m on my way to start becoming influential. It’s always good to share some good things to other people and they’ll do the same thing.

Kok Siong @ Cancer Research July 18, 2010 at 2:07 am

I think i’m not influential in blogosphere now. However, this will be my aim. I wish to be influential in cancer niche in short future. I am confident that i can do it! Thanks for reminding me something Tia! :)

Gera @ Sweets Foods Blog July 17, 2010 at 5:34 pm

In my case, I think I can always improve the influence (apart of other blogging things).

The funny is the definition: are more RTs, subscribers, Klout? All it depends of the niche. In my foodie – area (not the social media one), can you believe that lot of people don’t notice about those parameters?
Many don’t use twitter or facebook. Feedburner, what? But they give -paramount importance- to comments and friends at Google connect!
For the big foodie-folks the parameters are the standard with the other blogging niches, because they have reached a big status and influence.

Have a great weekend.

Gera

Mag July 17, 2010 at 11:28 am

I do not consider myself influential, yet, but I am working on it. You have to have done something above other people to be this.

Jean Sarauer July 16, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Tia, this is really an important point and it’s something we don’t give enough attention to. I learned my lesson in this in my first few weeks of blogging.

A new reader contacted me and told me how she’d done several things on her blog a certain way because of my articles. Now, in this case it was all good because I’d taken care with what I’d written, and things were going well for her. But, it made me stop and think–what if I’d just slopped any old advice on the page? What if I made her journey harder instead of easier?

Because we’re online and have established blogs, newcomers to the blogosphere will especially be influenced by our actions. That’s why it’s important to act with integrity, to do our best, and to change our minds in public if we’ve found another way is better than what we’d previously recommended.

Well, enough of my yapping on here for one night. Haha.

Tia Peterson July 16, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Oh, Jean. You are hitting the nail on the head and I’m happy that you’ve gotten the message I’m getting across here. :) Now take your imagination further and imagine that if your advice was sloppy, and that person started a huge domino effect and spread your bad advice…. well you can see how that goes one way.

And then, the other way is that we both know that she’s probably not the only one who took your solid, awesome advice to heart. The ripple effect of your influence probably goes much, much further than the eye can see.

You’ve demonstrated here taking responsibility for influence. We are almost all influential here. It’s time we recognize it!

Perfect response. :) Thanks for leaving it.

Jeff @ flat screen tv wall mount July 16, 2010 at 8:36 pm

I hope that we can influence people. If, I am having a hard time doing that, I should try a little harder.

Tia Peterson July 16, 2010 at 8:56 pm

Me, too. I really agree with you on that. I want to be influential. I wouldn’t be doing this otherwise.

The Bad Blogger - Content Not For Losers July 16, 2010 at 3:06 pm

I’m not sure about myself, but for one thing I’m sure is… it is not how big the numbers are but how potential the numbers are. Look: If 100 people follow you because they are influence by you, well great for you, but I rather have 100 people that trust me then be influence by me.
You see, as far as being success, I rather have those 100 to BUY from me then getting influence by me.
I’m not saying getting influence are wrong but sometime influence doesn’t really count as big as trust, is just that influence is sort of like “what I do, you follow, and you will be what I am” and trust is sort of “what I sell, you believe and you buy.”
Second option is what every one wants…. doesn’t it?

Tia Peterson July 16, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Hmm. Well, I actually define influence the way that you define trust. Or, it could be looked at that influence comes first, trust second.

Good points!

Kathy@ Kathy Blogger August 2, 2010 at 5:59 pm

In my book trust and influence are inseparable. If you do not have the trust of your visitors then you do not have influence over them. They will not buy what you are recommending. The only way you can really separate the two is if you are using stealth marketing tactics where you mention a product without giving any real opinion of it.

Kristi@Blogging Tips July 16, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Thanks for including my post from Stay on Search. I think that if you monitor the successful people in your industry, you don’t have to match their actions, but you’ll learn a bit from each one and find things you would like to apply to your own social networking strategy. I’ll have to go check out the other posts since they’re right on the same lines.

Tia Peterson July 16, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Susan’s post is more relevant than the one on Big Girl Branding, as it has a lot to do with influencers. It’s very interesting.

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