Influence is more than influencer marketing or content marketing. In social media you can use your influence for so much more. What does that even mean? Is it changing behavior of people who look up to you? Or is it something more substantive?
It comes down to how you communicate. And that, as a matter of fact, fits right into social media. After all, the purpose of social media is communication.
“When we communicate, we are influencing and we are being influenced.” Dan Norris
What is influence?
Influence is the ability to change how people respond.
“the power to change or affect someone or something : the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen” “Influence.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 29 July 2016.
Influence is power to affect change. The problem with influence is that we forget the part after the word power.
And maybe, just maybe, influence is more like being a thought leader. And if that’s true, how does one become a Thought Leader (hilarious video below)? Yes, I’m being sarcastic. At the same time, someone who gives a talk about a subject which resonates in your being — to you — is a thought leader.
How many people do we influence?
The truth is everyone has influence on someone. Seriously, how many people can we influence? Five? Twelve?
How many people do we meet?
“On average we live for 78.3 years. Most of us remember people we meet after age 5. Assume we interact with 3 new people daily in cities, 365 days in a year plus leap yeas days is 365.24. In total it will be (78.3 – 5) x 3 x 365.24 = 80,000 people. Is it a lot?” Anna Vital, “Why We Live – Counting The People Your Life Impacts“
And, according to their infographic, you can make an impact on between 14-150 people. That’s a lot of people. That’s a lot of influence.
Influence and Content Marketing
Any content marketer worth her salt will be able to persuade in her writing. A public speaker will persuade in his speech. The emails hitting your phone are meant to provoke you to act.
All content marketing, whether it is educational or offers a promotion, is meant to persuade and, therefore, influence your behavior. Namely, content marketing’s job is to get you to click. Buy now. Sign up. Don’t miss out.
So don’t forget to include call to actions in your copy. I mean, as a content marketer, I’d be a liar if I didn’t say I wanted influence. Show me that click rate again, yo.
The Rise of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing continues to be on the rise. One person that has a lot of social clout could make or break your new apparel line. This type of marketing stems from celebrity endorsements.
“In the context of Influencer Marketing, influence is less about argument and coercion to a particular point of view, and more about loose interactions between various parties in a community. Influence is often equated to advocacy, but may also be negative, and is thus related to concepts of promoters and detractors.” Wikipedia
Employing the science of influence and persuasion including the principles from Influence At Work: “reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, and liking” will help your effort to influence.
These tactics can help us with our marketing efforts, increase sales, and affect affinity. Any power can be used for less-than-altruistic purposes, but most of these behaviors are just good manners.
What’s the difference between influence and encouragement?
Remember that influence is about communication? We can use our words to either give courage (encourage) or take it away (discourage). Influence is the ability to affect someone for your benefit. Encouragement is the ability to influence for their benefit.
“something that makes someone more determined, hopeful, or confident” “Encouragement.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 29 July 2016.
Unfortunately, there have been many discouraging moments in my life. Words rang in my ears, rattled in my brain, and paralyzed me — for years.
- “You’re never going to be special enough for that stage.”
- “You’re never going to play guitar.”
- “You’re not a writer.”
Do we really want to do that, just to make ourselves feel better?
I have a choice. You have a choice. We can listen to people. We can truly know who they are and guide their next steps. We can be a mentor. We can use our influence to make them bigger, stronger, more confident.
That’s the kind of influence that matters — and it cannot be measured or be included in KPI reporting.
Do we want influence or a legacy?
At the end of the day, to use an overused cliché, do you want to be known for your influence or your legacy?
Me? I choose legacy. That kind of legacy isn’t about me. It’s about them.
I want to know that people’s lives were changed — to see that previously-timid person stand with shoulders erect, hands on hip. I want people to look back and say that I helped them believe in themselves.
I want to see them thrive. I want to watch them achieve their goals.
That’s the influence I want. That’s the legacy I want.
What about you?