When it comes to social media, we all want to become influencers in our niche. Whether it is a means of establishing a real foothold as a startup, or just gaining visibility as a professional blogger or social guru, it is on all our minds. Especially when we see those who have managed to get past the curse of obscurity and gain recognition in their field.
But how do you become the online go-to person for your industry? Becoming influential in social media might seem like a colossal task. The truth is, it can be a ton of work, and a bit frustrating. If you are serious about such an undertaking, there are some resources that can make it more manageable, and even a little bit easier.
Return of Influence
The first step is understanding the difference between becoming an influential social media presence, and so-called “Return of Influence”. The two are not equal by any means, and often people get so tied up in what is essentially a useless buzz word that they lose sight of the actual point and benefit of social media in business.
A great post about this was provided on Quora. Many responses addressed the true issue in that regard, which is Return of Investment. Metrics that try to calculate the worth of social media use only goes to undermine true value.
Social Media Influence as Social Scoring
Another rather controversial idea is social media scoring. This is the act of measuring a person’s worth through their online interactions. This means blogs, profiles like Facebook and Twitter, the results that come up in Google, posts made to message boards, sites we have signed up to professionally or personally, and a number of other factors.
Websites like Klout have been gaining a lot of traction. But they also have their share of dissenters. Where it was more of a social concept in the beginning, it is already becoming an ‘unofficial’ tool for potential employer to scope out their position prospects.
Companies can use your “social score” to see how you engage with others online, your experience with the web as a whole, your past work and – yes – even your dirty laundry. This has sparked a lot of debate over the usefulness of this kind of scrutiny, as well as the legality.
You should not mistake social scoring for influence potential in social media.
Books to Check Out
- Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Juliien Smith
What is the best way to gain popularity and influence on social media? Through trust, which builds a loyal following and positions you as both an expert and someone who can be relied upon to get it right. This book covers how to gain and maintain this trust, as well as showing you the importance of developing it in the first place. Of all the books on the subject, I would say this one is required reading.
- Social media ROI by Olivier Blanchard
Going back to the subject of ROI, this is a great book on the topic. It covers Return of Investment as applied to social media marketing. But it also speaks at length about measuring influence (and building it) on behalf of your organization. Instead of learning about it as a singular issue, you can immediately gain insight into applying ROI on a company-wide basis.
- Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky
How can influence from an individual be harnessed by an entire group through social media? You are about to find out. This popular book by New York University professor Shirky is a great introduction to the power of networks is based on a much more philosophical foundation than I had been prepared for. Which only improves on the quality of his program.
Do you know a book, blog or resource that is a must-read for building social media influence? Let us know in the comments!