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  • The Day That Influence Became The New Online Currency

    In the past couple of weeks, we have been witness to the furore about online influence reaching new heights. It was, for the most part, thanks to the rekindling of the public debate around online influence measuring and its effectiveness brought about by the recent release of Brian Solis’ report ‘The Rise of Digital Influence‘, the continuing (semantic?) debate between ‘influence’ and ‘relevance’, and the appearance on the market of new apps and programs seeking to cash in on online influence. And tacitly accepting what I put forward here quite some time ago: imperfect and vastly improvable as the current algorithms are, there is no way back to the old days and influence is the de facto new online currency – all with massively important and far-reaching consequences for online reputation, online marketing and above all personal branding.

    A newcomer to the list

    So far we have been accustomed to online influence measuring programs being free and somewhat (Klout) if not fully (Empire Ave) gamey. That has just changed with the appearance of Traackr, a company whose products are already being used by some major agencies and brands that promises to find the influencers that matter most to you… for a fee. Traackr complements its commercial offering with the creation of ‘alpha-lists’ (α-LISTS) of influencers around a given topic and its philosophy is embodied in the company’s motto ‘Relevance Drives Influence‘. Whatever the value of Traackr’s solutions, the fact that online influence and its measuring are being seemingly successfully commercialized can only be interpreted as a sign of things to come.

    Most individual users have come to associate online influence with Klout, and have been quick to point out some of the more or less obvious deficiencies of the ever-popular program – deficiencies that they have, at times, unfairly used to color the whole concept rather than the specific app. In defense of Klout, before we go any further, it is worth reminding critics that Klout (as indeed most of its peers) is still in Beta-phase and that its sphere of influence is almost exclusively the online medium.

    In other words: you can be massively influential offline and have a Klout score below that of someone who is simply more active and focused on the internet and the social media in their strategy. Those looking for a more serious, transparent, and maybe even scientific approach to online influence are advised to try Kred, Peer Index or ProSkore for a perhaps more satisfying tool to their specific taste or need (their algorithms are different is proven by the fact that my Klout score went down last week while my Kred score went up during the same period. Go figure).

    Urgent matters to consider

    But whatever the value of a given program, there has never been a more urgent and pressing set of circumstances for personal branders to start taking the whole concept of online influence seriously, become familiar with its philosophy and tools, and strive to be more influential within their communities by adding value.

    Before becoming an influencer oneself, identifying influencers, and being conversant with online influence, measuring is important for several mutually-reinforcing reasons. Here are five of them:

    1. It helps us to find role-models who may be achieving the same objectives we seek to achieve in our niche so that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel with our personal branding strategies

    2. If we come across real value in their content or contribution, we may become evangelists and help them spread the message just as I did in this post with Brian Solis, Traackr, Kred and others

    3. We may find powerful allies who can help us achieve our goals fast-track

    4. Our networking initiatives can be more closely targeted and focused

    5. We can make full use of objective (even if as of yet imperfect) criteria to determine our (hopefully growing) relevance and outreach within our community and what social media are yielding the best results for us

    The list could potentially go on but the message is clear: online influence is here to stay and we are just witnessing the dawn of a new era full of promise and at the same time pregnant with uncertainty – at least until algorithms and programs become more sophisticated and accurate, and the commercialization of influence starts bringing on some tangible and demonstrable benefits for brands.

    And that, dear personal branding friends, is most certainly going to include our own. It is increasingly looking likely that one day not that far ahead the first line of our online CVs or résumés will include a standardized online influence score. While what that will entail for our online personal branding remains to be seen, being proactive in this area of ever-growing importance is one of the best pieces of advice I can pass on at this point. Your personal branding success may hinge on it sooner than you expect.

    Author:

    Oscar Del Santo is a lecturer, consultant, key speaker, blogger and populariser of online reputation and inbound marketing in Spain. He has been extensively featured in the Spanish and Latin American media and is included in the ‘Top Social Media Influencers’ and ‘Best Marketing Tweeters in Spanish’ lists @OscarDS. He is the author of ‘Reputacion Online para Tod@s’ and the co-author of ‘Marketing de Atraccion 2.0’.


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    Posted in Personal Branding, Social Media
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    7 comments on “The Day That Influence Became The New Online Currency
    1. avatar
      EXPERT

      Influence is something very hard to measure. The question that numbers cannot reveal is the “whom”: whom are you trying to influence. The job hunter is trying to influence only one single person. The MLM operative wants to influence as many people as possible. Jesus influenced millions after he died, but how would one measure that during one of his sermons?

      • avatar
        EXPERT
        Oscar Del Santo says:

        I’d invite you to re-read the post, since I think you’ve missed the whole point: now for the first time we CAN measure online influence (albeit imperfectly as of yet).

    2. avatar
      EXPERT
      S. Trevino says:

      Enjoyed reading this Oscar. The Rise of Digital Influence reminds me of Tara Hunt’s (@missrogue) 2009 The Wuffie Factor, in which she describes how companies can build their social capital and business by creating trust and adding value to digital communities. She nailed it way back, when you had to put a “d” before a twitter name to write a DM.

    3. avatar
      EXPERT

      Oscar, this is Shawn from Kred. Thank you again for your supportive words about Kred and our approach to influence.

      ‘Relevance’ is something we definitely factor in to Kred, both in our invitation for visitors to include their offline accomplishments (through Offline Kred) and by giving every user scores for every community we cover in addition to a global influence score.

      We are actively working to put more indicators of influence into Kred. We always say that ‘We all have Influence somewhere,’ and we intend for Kred to be a metric that supports that and proves it out for everyone.

      Very best
      Shawn

    4. avatar
      EXPERT
      yinka olaito says:

      While this is very good piece, there are certain factors that should be considered and here are some of the things that count to reach this level are here http://bit.ly/Tjj4EZ

    2 Pings/Trackbacks for "The Day That Influence Became The New Online Currency"
    1. [...] is becoming increasingly common (especially due to the growing importance of online influence and having influencers becoming evangelists for our cause) soliciting recommendations, retweets and [...]

    2. [...] sound personal branding and social media use. And I feel partly responsible due to my support for online influence and the novel apps (highly imperfect as they still are) that seek to measure it. It is obvious [...]

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