In a little over two weeks, we will visualize, talk about, and experience why everyone is wrong about influence, except your customers. I will use simple language and examples to describe my thinking about this topic — there is nothing contrived about true influence.

I've done a lot of research on this topic over the course of my career. I have found influence not to be attached to gender, nationality, scores, or tools. Although the external environment and internal organization of each of these data points affect relevance.

Attention and permission also have a role in influence. My friend Peter offered another insightful comment about yesterday's post (emphasis mine):

Audacity is almost a modern virtue. Though, in my experience, those who seek unsolicited counsel seldom know what to do with it nor realise what it signals about their character. It also misunderstands the modern professional. At the top of our game we sell clock speed not memory. Memory is cheap. It's even given away. Clock speed, the ability to make connections with meaning, is what matters. And they're never going to get access to that by treating me like a search engine.

A remark that helps me highlight one of the things that cannot be copied easily, according to Kevin Kelly — interpretation. My interpretations of this conversation covered a lot of ground in the last couple of years.

Some highlights:

  • In forget influentials, in viral marketing context matters, I concluded (from evidence presented in the post): Let's say you are trying to build some buzz around your product or service:
    1. Focus less on who people influence and more on how people are influenced.
    2. Think more about networks, and network structure, rather than treating everyone as behaving independently (group dynamics).
    3. Move away from the idea that buzz can be engineered to achieve some pre-established outcome, and get better at measuring and reacting to buzz that arises naturally (observation from context).
  • Asking what really affects behavior? I shared some informational guideposts and social influences to consider, given that what behavioral economics says is that emotion, context and situational factors influence our choices.
  • A post you may not have noticed about Fast Company's true influence at the time of the Influence Project storm. it was the first kernel of what became my proposed session for #SxSW-influence.
  • Connecting with real influence in your communications was an invitation to reflect on whether you connect with it in the way you hire, form partnerships, and choose mentors and teachers
  • My comments on a Forrester paper around why being a meaningful specific to build influence. How do you get to the care part? I suggested taking a look at what organization behaviors are sought and appreciated by your buyers. Things like: constant innovation and experimentation, like Apple; re-imagining the world, as in what if everyone took better care of themselves? what can you do to deliver a necessary message about health through entertainment, for example?; aligning around good, the ultimate universal meaning; presenting products as stories . And building meaning into your interactions — whether they be with a person representing your business, or what your business does. For example: communicating deeper meaning people can opt into beyond a product or service; creating alliances with other products and services as part of a market ecosystem; sharing information and knowledge; being a true representation of your brand, believing in it yourself
  • Why and how influence works gets a little bit more into the details of our upcoming discussion. While the question of how you measure influence is interesting and valid. As an attendee, I'd wonder, how do I get there in the first place? How do I create/identify/harness/enroll influence? What role does it play in my mix? 

In the end, it's all open to interpretation. These are just highlights of what I've written about influence in the past couple of years. The best, as they say, is yet to come.

Tools provide useful data points, people provide useful information. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank a few people for their participation and encouraging remarks here. Specifically:

  • Joe Fernandez, CEO, Klout
  • Azeem Azhar, CEO, PeerIndex
  • Gary Lee, CEO, mBLAST
  • Jeff Katz, product manager, Twitalyzer
  • Pierre-Loic Assayag, CEO @traackr

No need to draw complex charts or bring in the algorithm gurus. A corollary of "it can't hurt to ask" is "it can't hurt to share" — my take is it depends on what is being shared. Trust your own observations and thinking. Come as you are, and we will have all the influence we need to have in the room to make the session stimulating, enlightening, and fun.


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0 responses to “#sxsw-influence”

  1. It’s amazing to read all the content you’re producing over influence Valeria, and it’s even more amazing to see you’re willing to share all this.
    I admit yours is the blog I spend the most reading, because some of the topics you write about really requires more than one read to sink through, but I am still here so it must mean something 😉

  2. Valeria:
    I think one of the major shortcomings of how influence is calculated on the web is the lack of context.
    Guy Kawasaki has a MUCH higher clout score than Danny who owns the PriusChat forum ( http://priuschat.com/ )- but Danny is MUCH more influential regarding all things hybrid than Guy ever will be.
    So if you are trying to sell hybrids, you are much better off working with Danny than Guy – but neither Klout nor any other social media influence tool will reveal that.
    This is the next big thing in marketing – shifting from the “social graph” (your connections) to the “interest graph” (what you care about).
    I think I need to write this one up.

  3. Interests are situational, of course. That graph looks a lot like the search box at the top — it starts with a specific inquiry. I can tell you from experience that I am much more persuasive in person that online. And if you find people who have interviewed and met me, they will confirm there was a stronger connection made. Connections can also be situational based upon goals and interest 😉

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