Why are Influencers Good for You and Your Brand?

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Image courtesy of Stefano Maggi at Flickr.com

Ever since the beginning of time, there have been people who have exerted their influence on others, the impressionable ones. Therefore, the idea of “influencers” is not a new one.

It is clear that there have always been people who influence the behavior or opinion of others, and this is happening in social media today. The mistake is to think that the influence of somebody can be valued or identified in quantitative terms. Thus, if we compare two different Twitter accounts, where Richard has 1200 followers and Thomas has 350, we could say that Richard is far more influential than Thomas, just for the simple fact of having almost four times more followers. Well that statement would be simply ridiculous.

The origins

In order to understand something, we must go back to its origins. Why was the idea of “influencers” born? The theory of influencers was basically created by an error and a desire.

The error: several years ago, Malcolm Gladwell in his book “The Tipping Point”, introduced the idea that there were people who exercised more influence than others in the context of social media, and he related the existence of these influencers with the viral distribution of content. Gladwell said was that through these characters, only by reaching them with a message, it could be distributed in a multitudinous way.

Later, a computational sociologist call Duncan Watts, who ratified the dynamics of the degrees of separation in the digital environment, set out to prove Gladwell’s premise through a serious experiment.

To that end, he created a message, which was distributed in similar circumstances through influencers and “ordinary” people -that is, those who have between 200 and 300 contacts- to see how many users it would end up having an impact on. The result was almost the same: Influencers were not really influential.

The desire: Many of the people who got to social media came from mass communications, where influencers were supposed to be. The fact that they existed in the digital environment was good, since it would allow them to continue doing what they had been doing in the mass media, but now in the context of social media.

Previously, all you had to do was locate a celebrity, now you have to locate an influencer. That wonderful and brilliant person says something, everybody imitates them and then we proceed to create a slideshow with the newly-found case of success.

For those who are just getting started, we’re talking about a person or group of persons that are usually experts on a particular subject, who have gained recognition and credibility through their important actions in social media. These actions may include good quality and frequent posts, speaking their minds, showing power of persuasion, among others.

Their influence is achieved by adding trust and experience to their personal brand.

These are the types of persons who can be influencers, among others:

  • Bloggers: Those who are capable of convincing others with their contents and create interaction, given the fact that their posts fly through the social media space.
  • Tweeters: People who share, reply, link and generate simple contents on Twitter, which ends up in replies and retweets.
  • Facebookers: People who share topics on Facebook that are interesting to them, causing likes and comments as well as several other kinds of reactions.

It is very important to know how to define the way in which they affect the return on investment.

Influencers can play an important role in your brand due to the fact that users trust influencers when it comes to purchasing, getting advice or making decisions regarding a service, product or brand. The more influential they are, the more impact they can have in the success of your business.

You have to ask yourself how much time, effort and money are you spending on those who don’t have an influence with the messages of your brand, in hopes of spreading information about your product or service? Is this really an effective way of using your time?

It is important to learn how to identify influencers in social media, they can help the strategy of your brand in different social platforms.

How to identify key influencers for your brand?

There are platforms known for their measurement of online influence that are vital. Here at Reputation Defender we’ll take a look at some of them.

  • Klout: Its main goal is to build a deeper understanding of personal influence and to gauge the influence of others on the web. Not long ago, Klout started offering a service called Klout for Business. With it, businesses can receive complimentary analytics reflecting how and where the influencers are creating engagement with your brand. Read more at https://klout.com/home
  • Kred: It allows you to know the influence of users through an index based on their posts, scope and impact created, as well as the activity recorded on other platforms. Read more at http://home.kred/
  • Ecairn: It was created to identify the influencers who lead relevant conversations about your brand. Read more at http://ecairn.com

How should we understand influencers?

What everyone should know is that people who exert a certain influence on others exist, they have existed and they’ll always exist. What we should know is how this is understood and how to check what their real influence is. This cannot be achieved through quantitative values.

The user who exerts influence does it for the specific bond that develops with those who are influenced by him or her, in a particular social graph and for a certain thematic universe. Beyond these considerations, the influencer is as influential as any other person.

Thus, if we follow a person whom we admire for the trips they make, what they tell, how they tell it, etcetera, whatever this person recommend us in regards to traveling will seem like an important opinion to us and to anyone within their circle of followers.

This means that the influence is a qualitative value which is independent from the number of followers that you have, and it’s also independent from the size of your social graph. If that person has an influence on 10 people who make up their social graph, it is without a doubt an influencer.

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