Rethinking Social Media Influence

We’re a society that loves to categorize and rank things. In many respects this can be quite helpful and certainly can serve a good purpose. Given our tendency in this area, it’s no surprise that measuring social media influence has become so popular. But here’s the question we need to ask: “Does measuring promote individual influence, or does it work against it?” I believe that it works against it, and that scores should largely be ignored when it comes to developing social media influence.

Defining the problem

Influence has been broadly defined as the ability to develop a large network, have messages shared and responded to and the effectiveness in connecting with “influencers.” None of these is wrong and in fact they may be great social media goals to set. The problem presents itself, however, in the prescription and the desire to follow it in order to achieve the coveted influence score. This will lead us down a path of diminished influence in the long run, because the desire to achieve a score can cause us to become something we’re not.

The negative impact of seeking influence

When our influence becomes about scores, it can cause us to lose authenticity.
We may try and script our social media behavior or act like someone else. A key to developing true influence, whether online or in person, is being yourself.

We also can lose sight of valuable connections around us. If the preoccupation is on influencers, we may fail to connect with others that we will have a far greater likelihood to engage on a regular basis. Missed connections are lost opportunities.

Measuring up also has a way of causing us to lose judgment. We start to second guess what we share with others. Although it’s of interest to us, perhaps it’s not worth sharing because no one else has. Our excitement and enthusiasm for our content begins to wane in favor of a cycle of pleasing the masses.

The Solution

Don’t spend much time on your social score. Focus on being yourself, engage who you want to engage and in the way that you want. You’ll find that your experience and interest in social media will continue to grow, and as it does your influence will likely follow. Influence is not about scores. Engage in social media on your terms. If you do that, everything will be just fine.

What are your thoughts on social media influence?

Author: Steve Sonn

Steve Sonn is the Principal of S2 Marketing Communications. He has more than 25 years of marketing and PR experience with health care and business-to-business companies.

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