Five Characteristics of an Influencer
You know that feeling you get when you pick up the phone to call your cable or phone company? You’d almost prefer to go to the dentist I bet! Its easy to get frustrated with those automated systems, especially the new “voice recognition” ones that I find myself pressing lots of random numbers in the fruitless hope that I will inadvertently shut down the entire thing. Alas, none of that works, but we’ve all tried anyway haven’t we? If we could just reach through that phone line to a competent individual, we’d be much more likely to behave when we do find a person.
The problem is that we are not in control. We have no voice. We are not even being heard and no one is listening. Historically, companies have never listened to us. This is one of the main drivers behind #occupywallst. Companies have always broadcast their message to us through the tv, radio, mail, magazines and ads anywhere they could stick them, including our childrens clothes, our video games, movies and even our phones.
The real power in social media is that it gives everyone a voice, even if that voice is sometimes wrong. There is no single person behind social media. It is group chaos at best. But one voice can influence and direct big chunks of the whole thing. It’s kind of like a flock of birds. One bird decides to change direction slightly and at first one or two may follow, but then the entire flock goes along, all within a few milli-seconds of each other.
The question on every corporate marketer and government leader mind today is, how do you control this flock that loves you one moment and is ready to tear down everything the next? There is no answer to that question of course, as long as people have free will, but we can strive to be influencers of the flock.
So what is an influencer?
- Trustworthy. They are a trusted source of information with original thoughts and aren’t just retweeting stuff other people say.
- Thought Leader. Has a loyal following of readers. The type that actually interact and react to what you say and aren’t just followers because it’s cool.
- Has Impact. Can impact other influencers that amplify your words and ideas far beyond your own audience.
- Interactive. They regularly interact with their followers. Interacting in real-time is extremely important these days.
- Goes to the audience. They use the the same tools (usually Twitter, Facebook, Google+) as the crowd. It may not always be the sites you are used to. It may be private communities or bulletin boards.
Can you claim being an influencer? Actually everyone is an influencer, it just depends on how far your influence goes. If you want to influence this generation or the next, if you want the flock to follow your lead, it is something earned with hard work. There are rarely any shortcuts.
For you pastors out there, it means getting out from behind the pulpit. For you business leaders, it means being honest and actually interacting with your customers for the first time. Finally, for you parents, it means being courageous role models your kids can look up to and emulate. On a side note, if you want to see how influential a person is online and whether they meet the above criteria or not, check them out on klout.com.
From → Social Media