How do you (or can you) measure online influence?

Every seat in the house was full when I stumbled in a couple minutes before the marketing panel began of “How Do You (or Can You) Measure Online Influence.” It was a clear indication that this large crowd was eager to find out how you can evaluate the online influence of individuals. More important than how, David Armano and Valeria Maltoni, the featured speakers of the workshop, were asked to dig deep into the heart of the matter with the imperative question, why influence?

Armano started with two key answers. The first, simply being the theory of social networking and its history in human behavior. Social networking has now evolved with the help of digital tools and undoubtedly, it has seeped into mainstream behavior, branching out to the mass. The second point is the idea of how we influence each other. The approach to shaping people begins in niche areas and becoming an expert in the subject.

The panel took it to Maltoni who adds to the idea that a lot of it starts with the development of credibility and trust as an opinion leader. The growth of validity begins by publishing relevant, engaging and current topics within a passionate community. Maltoni recommends us to, “become the catalyst of that conversation.”

The burning question put on the table was, “can we identify one tool that is good enough to cover all basis of measuring influence?” With issues such as inability to measure subjectivity, there is not one tool that currently exists. Armando predicts that in the next year or two, we’ll begin to move into scores and develop an index that lays out really good practices in engagement. However, it can be broken down into a few stages of analysis. Start by tracking which common topics you and other key influencers are talking about.  To get a snapshot of how others view you, take a look at your followers, lists and fan base and see how they categorize you.

Network with opinion leaders who share similar topics as you rather than starting with a foundation of friends. Borrow practices from the public relations sector. People must consider that their roles are formulating into that of a digital PR specialist as they are engaging with others interested in particular topics. Establish your reputation as an opinion leader in specified topics, as mentioned above. Once you’ve got that going and the word is out, you’ll be recognized as a key influencer in no time.

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