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How Influential Are You Online?

Posted by on Jul 31, 2010

On Twitter yesterday, one of the folks I followed asked who they thought were the most influential Syracuse social media people. There were a few names bandied about, but I have to admit that somewhere along the way I was hoping that someone would mention me. However, it wasn’t meant to be, and as disappointing as that was, it seems to follow an interesting pattern.

We as bloggers spend our time writing our posts, hoping to drive visitors to our sites to read what we have to say and see what we have to show. Some of us hope to make a dollar or two here and there, if not necessarily through the blog itself, then by doing speaking engagements, workshops and the like, or having someone see what we write about and decide to pay us for it. However, to get all of that, it takes influence, because that’s what’s going to determine just how many people are going to come see what it is you do.

What I’ve noticed is that I’m more influential outside of my home area than within it. Though I’ve lived in this area for 35 years, I find that I’m kind of the great unknown. Now, a part of that is my fault because I don’t get out all that much anymore, and in the days when I did get out, there was no internet. It’s hard becoming a local cause célèbre, if you will, at age 50. Indeed, the local net community in general probably didn’t even know I existed until I went to my first tweetup last year. Oh, I had a local client here and there, but all because I participated in this consulting group; any local work I’ve done has come through them.

Just to spread this even further, most of my consulting assignments in my main profession have also been out of town. Do local facilities need the types of services I provide as much as out of town facilities? Yes. Do they even look at me? No, I’m pretty much ignored, even at health care networking meetings (I finally decided to drop out after being a member for 15 years), though I do still market to them from time to time. Not memorable enough? Me?!?!?

Back on the 22nd, I did my first workshop on social media marketing in central New York. It’s actually the first time I’ve given a presentation in this area that I’ve been paid for, and I’ve given enough presentations. Goodness, I’ve been in the local newspaper, local business newspaper, once on local radio (I don’t count seeing myself in the background on the local news, though I did laugh), and it seems no one really knows who I am around here; that’s a shame.

Of course, I kind of see it as my fault. One of the things about social media marketing is that when you do it, unless you’ve finitely targeted yourself to your local area, your message tends to spread everywhere, and let’s face the fact that there’s a lot more people “everywhere” than at home. The most consistent comments I get on this blog or any of my other blogs come from people “elsewhere”. The people who have bought products I’ve created are from “elsewhere” (well, I did have one guy I knew who bought one of my products, but he’s the only one). Any web work that didn’t come from my consulting group, or writing work, that I’ve gotten have come from “elsewhere”. Goodness, the article I wrote about one of our tweetups, where I mentioned about 30 names, only got 2 comments, luckily from local people, though I know a few more did see it at least.

Ah, I know what you’re asking; what about the topic about influence online? In that fashion, we at least have some tools we can look at. For instance, I’m sitting at an Alexa rank of 112,591 for this blog. My main business site is around 392,000, my other site is around 1.3 million. For my main search terms on my main business, I come up in the top ten, if not at #1. For my other business, I’m in the top 40 for half of the terms, but if Yahoo was the main search engine I could actually claim a bunch of top 10 slots; I’m going to figure that out one day. For my main business site, it’s linked to more than 3,000 other websites, and my other business site almost 3,000; for this blog, more than 14,000 links elsewhere. As a point of comparison, I popped in some other domain names, and I don’t see anyone else linked to that many sites that I know.

So, in a weird way, it begs the question what is influence anyway, and how does one use it? I think I’ll tackle that one next week. But I’ll ask this question again; how influential are you online?

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15 Comments »

Althea Garner:

But the burning question is: Has all this improved your bottom line and if so, how? To what percentage has your income increased?

🙂
A

July 31st, 2010 | 8:36 PM
Mitch:

Althea, two questions I’d never answer in an open forum; I share a lot, but I’m not giving up my overall income. Then again, if you tell me yours… lol However, I will say this; without enough influence, I’m not earning close to what I want to be earning, and that’s problematic. But there are irons in the fire, so maybe one of them will ignite something.

July 31st, 2010 | 8:51 PM

Mitch,
That’s a very good question. I believe how influential you are online has a lot to do with your branding, how well you self-promote and how well connected you are. OFFLINE is pretty much the same but I do think your circle of influence becomes more prevalent. Are you traveling in the same circles as the “big guns” in your community? Do you even know who the “big guns” are? When a certain subject (in your field of expertise) comes up, whose names are mentioned?

Are you following each other on FB, LinkedIn, Twitter. Are you exchanging conversations?

As I venture more and more into my local community, I am quickly learning who’s who and the importance of collaborating with the RIGHT people. The circle of influence, as I see it, is pretty small but if you’re in it, you will take off on their coattails.

July 31st, 2010 | 8:42 PM
Mitch:

Hi Bev,

Actually, I know some rich people in the community, just as I know some online. Overall, I’m friendly with a lot of locals that have wealth, but I don’t think they really know what I do. That’s the part of networking where it gets weird; we’re supposed to engage people and get them to like us, which is easy, but then we have to find that time when we can sit down with them to tell them what it is we do, and that’s where things go haywire. Online, I know some fairly successful people that I’ve met through Twitter, but getting them onto the blog so they can really see what I do is something else. I have to admit that I’m not as well connected on Facebook or LinkedIn in that regard.

I have to admit that wasn’t part of my influence project, as there are 2 more articles coming, so it’s something new I might need to go back and look at more thoroughly.

July 31st, 2010 | 8:55 PM

I must say my influence online is not as great as it could be. Mainly my fault. According to Klout I don’t have much influence at least on Twitter. I know it is a horrible thing to say but why not be honest right? Anyway good post and good points!

July 31st, 2010 | 8:43 PM
Mitch:

Thanks Jenny. Klout says my influence on Twitter is 56, which is higher than any of my friends, and actually higher than some other people who I thought probably have more clout then me locally. So, what Klout is really measuring is kind of odd; I wrote about it once on this blog, and something that was weird is that it mentioned someone who supposedly had influence on me, and I couldn’t think of a single post from the guy that I’d ever seen. But maybe he sent people to me in some fashion, though I doubt it.

Still, Twitter does give everyone a shot at it, so it’s quite viable in my plans.

July 31st, 2010 | 8:58 PM

Wow 56 is great! That is interesting that Klout seems to be off on who influences you..which makes you wonder what they base that on.

July 31st, 2010 | 10:26 PM
Mitch:

That’s the strange thing about it all, Melinda. That plus there’s no idea what influencing people means from that site.

July 31st, 2010 | 10:48 PM

From my prespective I have no idea – I see the Internet as an online community making geographic boundaries irrelevant.

I get the odd thanks for helping people and 20% of my email list on average read my emails – whether that counts as influence or is it because they think I have something to offer, that I’m not sure

August 1st, 2010 | 6:07 AM
Mitch:

Peter, it shows you do have some influence, but you’re probably where I am. We don’t get much bang for our buck, which means either we have less influence than we think or we’re not using it properly.

August 1st, 2010 | 1:57 PM

I remember us discussing this at the CNY business meeting.

I know I’m not in the top 10!

I think you would have to be at the computer (and doing the right things) 24/7 to be there 🙂

August 1st, 2010 | 8:15 AM
Mitch:

Actually Carolee, I don’t think the same way at all. There are very influential people online who only write twice a week. I really am starting to think it has to do with connections to a degree; maybe I need to sit down and read Keith Ferrazzi’s book again.

August 1st, 2010 | 1:58 PM

I guess I am out of it, I hadn’t heard of Klout before seeing it above.

>What I’ve noticed is that I’m more influential outside of my home area than within it.

I am just the opposite. In fact I was just nominated as one of the best real estate blogs in Baltimore (hey a vote from you would be appreciated) I am often surprised by people who know me because they have read my blog.

I think the difference is clearly because my blog has “Baltimore” in the name. “I’m Just Sharing could be anywhere”

August 1st, 2010 | 2:03 PM
Mitch:

That’s interesting, Ned, and I think you make a good point. I’ve thought about creating a blog for local issues, and I’m moving closer to that. There was a domain name I’d wanted to purchase, but it got snapped up from under me and I stopped pursuing it. I just might go in a different direction and still get it done.

Congrats on your nomination; I hope you win.

August 1st, 2010 | 2:14 PM
Michael Welch:

Hi Mitch, you have a very nice blog here. A lot of great information and value. Keep it coming.

Thanks

Michael

August 31st, 2010 | 1:40 PM