Gaining and Measuring Social Influence in 2012

By on December 19, 2011

Social influence was a hot topic this year, so today we’re going to take another look at exactly what it is, and how you can prepare to get some in 2012. There are a lot of definitions available on the internet explaining what social influence is about, but we’re going to give it to you from the viewpoint of a social marketer.

Why Does Social Influence Matter?

Social influence happens, when you’ve gained enough authority and credibility online to influence your reader’s decisions or actions. This comes from a great content strategy, and a lot of work feeding your social campaigns. It can be intentional or unintentional – but it does matter.

If you look at any social marketer’s ultimate goal – sales – then you’ll begin to understand why social influence is important. The more influence you have over your community, the more they will listen to you, buy from you and share your content with the world. It’s an ongoing process, and it does fluctuate.

How Do I Gain Social Influence?

Social influence is gained when your content starts to make a real impact on your readers. Whether its video, image or text content – it all contributes to your overall influence. This ‘influence’ can differ from platform to platform, depending on how much effort and time you’ve spent stimulating and entertaining your communities there. As such, you need to keep an eye on where your business messages make the most impact.

The first step is getting your readership to take your advice. Once they trust you, they will be more inclined to become a social contributor, and share your content with their communities. They’ll also feel confident taking part in your buying process, because they know your advice or content is worth buying.

When you increase your social influence, more people begin sharing, buying and listening to you.

How Do I Measure Social Influence?

In 2011, a lot of companies came up with ways to measure your social influence. First of all, these are basically flawed, so take the results with a pinch of salt. View them as guidelines, and you can get a general idea of your social reach.

Klout is the front runner, and measures your overall influence online. All you have to do is add in all of your social accounts. It tells you handy details, like who you’ve been influencing and how. There are several other social measurement sites around that can give you an indication of how influential you are.

Check out Peer Index, SproutSocial and Twylah for detailed break down’s of the way you are influencing your community. Don’t take these scores literally though, they change very quickly. When you’re contributing a lot, they’ll be high – when you’ve slowed down, they’ll drop. Don’t become obsessed with the numbers!

Think of creative ways you can boost your social influence in 2012. It will improve your social sales funnel, and that means more growth in the new year!

Do you think measuring social influence is important? We’d like to know what your thoughts are!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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