The above are the types of influencers that abound online and off, but you don’t just wake up one morning and decide you’ll be an Influencer too. There are filtering systems in place that people go through before they become Influencers. For instance, to be a celebrated author, one has to write a book, get it published, and then have it marketed in order to be sold in high numbers or attract the attention of media. Once all of that happens, said author becomes celebrated and, therefore, able to influence certain areas.
The same process is in place for academics, CEO’s, Olympic gold medal winners, famous actors/directors/cinematographers,/producers , etc. To get to these exalted positions, people have been vetted along the way. You don’t get to be a gold medal athlete without first having trained and won races from local level up to world level competition.
You find Influencers by looking, listening, communicating in the relevant areas and paying attention to who is saying what and who is listening/sharing to what they say.
There’ll be a few people, still new to social media, who may be scratching their heads and wondering what the hell an Influencer is and why should I care?
Let’s start with “Why should I care?” If your use of social media channels is for personal reasons only – to keep in touch with farflung friends and family, look up who’s who in the world of celebrity, or find a recipe, then perhaps recognising an Influencer is not high on your priorities. You’ll know some though. They’ll be your family members or friends who know all about using Facebook or Twitter and who everyone goes to for answers.
But, if you’re here (as in online) to learn or share knowledge (of any kind and for any reason) or for business purposes then knowing the Influencers in your area of concern range from mildly important to quite important. An Influencer, for you, is someone whose words, knowledge, and reliability are trusted. They’re the person you know isn’t just spouting bullshit to make themselves sound like experts. They’ve done the research or tested the product or have in-depth experience in a field of knowledge AND have a strong reputation in their area.
Laurel Papworth’s diagram above shows well-known types of influencers. People that fit in these boxes have earned their stripes and qualifications in their area of expertise, and are known for their work. You can quote these people with some level of assurety that what they have said in their blog or forum has value. Laurel is an influencer in the world of Social Media. I’ve completed several courses with her so know she is knowledgable plus, if you read through her biography, you’ll see she has been named by Forbes as one of the top 50 global influencers; Marketing Magazine named her “Head of Industry, Social Media” for Australia. So, because I’m interested in learning and writing about social media topics, I follow her on Twitter and value her opinion.
Go hang out in a forum and follow a few blogs – see who is linking or quoting who, who has awards and a respectable CV, and who is reasonably generous with sharing their knowledge. These people are the Influencers you want to keep in touch with.
Coming soon, Ways to Measure Online Influence.
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