Being a positive influence

Social media | Social media influencer | Social media campaign
Whether we like to admit it or not, we’re all seeking to exert our influence every day. From trying to influence your significant other to order pizza for dinner instead of curry, to influencing your target market to purchase your products rather than a competitor’s, there are lots of little ways we try to sway the views of others. From a PR perspective, getting social media influence right can make or break your whole campaign. 

By Kirsty McMahon

The WorldPost has come together with the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute in Zurich and MIT research scientist Peter Gloor to produce its 2016 Global Thought Leaders Index. This annual index ranks the top global social media influencers of the last twelve months, as well as breaking down influencers in various language ‘webspheres’ and how they are connected with one another.

Shouting into the void 
The definition of a social media influencer is a social media user that has established credibility in a specific industry who has access to a large audience and can persuade others by virtue of his or her authenticity and reach.

This means that one simple way of measuring whether someone is an influencer is to look at how many followers they have and how far their messages reach. However, The WorldPost’s index uses software that evaluates rankings based on a more complex algorithm.

That’s why you won’t find Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or US President-elect Donald Trump taking a high spot in the ranks… but you will find Telsa’s Elon Musk.

This is because the report prioritises influencers based on their thinking, and not just those who have the most likes or followers; the strength of the relationship with their relevant audiences is also an important factor. Musk ranks at number 21 in the list of global influencers in the English-speaking websphere because of his ideas and discussion of things like travelling to Mars and the development of the hyperloop, rather than shouting about Tesla’s products.

Being a positive influence
This is a vital lesson for anyone using social media in their PR campaign — which should be everyone given social media’s increased influence and power. As with other tactics in any campaign worth its salt, the messages and the topics you discuss should be all about your customer’s future, not just shouting about yourself.

This is much easier than it sounds. For example, if you’re selling clothes, your customers are likely interested in wider fashion issues such as sustainably sourced materials. If you sell SCADA software to factory owners, your customers are going to be interested in how the Internet of Things (IoT) is going to affect their operation or how to protect themselves from cyber attack.

Using social media channels to share advice, information or champion ideas that help and excite your customer creates a positive environment that includes an audience of people that actually care about what you have to say — making them much more likely to engage and become a customer.

It’s also vital that you develop connections with other influencers in your field. These don’t have to be top global influencers like those listed in The WorldPost index. No matter what field you operate in, there are social media influencers talking about the same or similar topics as you, with access to an engaged audience.

These could be national or trade journalists, celebrities who champion a cause you support, lecturers specialising in your area or even other business owners. Investing time in connecting and, more importantly, engaging with these individuals will massively improve your social media credibility.

Of course, you can achieve all of this easily by just getting in touch a PR agency that specialises in great social media campaigns, like Stone Junction... not that I’d want to influence you in any way!

Kirsty McMahon

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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