Each has a different spin on what an influencer is and how to measure influence.
I encourage you to check out their writings. Mark’s book is an examination of online influence scorers and the impact they have on marketing and the workplace.
Jure, on the other hand, has a bone to pick about how these “scorers” such as KLOUT and KRED define influence.
In short, he says their measurement system is flawed because they’re measuring the the wrong thing.
They define influence as the ability for someone to drive actions as opposed to change behaviours.
I was very pleased this week to have Daniel Hebertjoin us for our weekly Google+ Lunch Hangout (for subscribers to my G+ Tips Newsletter) where coincidently, the topic of the day was “Influence”.
I wanted to get a sense of how people in general feel about the issue.
Do they even think about it?
Daniel defines influence as:
Influence is the art of creating action. In the case of social media, this could be creating action personally, or on behalf of a brand.
Does this mean an influencer is someone who can persuade you to share, “like” or retweet their content?
This is pretty much how KLOUT measures influence.
When influence is taken “offline” does the definition change?
Is it the ability to change “behaviour” as Jure suggest?
Maybe the definition of influence changes depending on the context – digital verses in real life (IRL), Facebook “friend” versus real friend.
As a kid, I was influenced by my parents, my teacher and my peers.
They were personal influencers who definitely had an impact on my behaviour.
Unless you knew them personally, there’d be little chance that they’d have any influence over you.
My York University Canadian History & Culture Prof., Paul Kennedy may though.
He has his own radio program, Ideas and is well known among the CBC, NPR literati.
So, if I introduce you to him online and he then recommends you attend a lecture series, you just might because we’re friends and you trust me. And he has the social proof to give you confidence in his expertise.
Mentors change my behaviour, they’re people I look up to.
That’s why I subscribe or sign up for their sessions.
Do I consider them influencers? Certainly.
Would they be considered so by KLOUT? – If they have a substantial online presence.
I may have retweeted their posts or shared their articles, but until I invested something more than a click of my mouse, they have little affect on my life choices.
Online influencers can motivate you to do something, real influencers motivate you to become something.
Update: Daniel kindly clarified his position on “influence”. It’s included in his comment below but I want to be sure you see it so am reproducing it here:
The art of creating action doesn’t stop at retweets and likes – comments, signing up for newsletters, entering a giveaway, downloading a file, buying a product, writing a follow-up response, etc., are all actions that Klout cannot measure, but are definitely part of influence. Action and behaviour tend to go closely together when it comes to online influence. Perhaps my definition should be changed to “Influence is the art of creating action, or changing behaviour…”
Ray Hiltz is a Social Media Strategist specializing in Google+ Local search and content marketing.
He helps small businesses establish online reputation and trust by putting the spotlight on their greatest asset - people.
Ray host the #RayBunch show, a weekly web and podcast featuring news and opinions with a regular panel of marketing and business leaders.