What Is Influence?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Aug 3, 2010
On Saturday I wrote a post titled How Influential Are You Online, and I ended that post with this: “what is influence anyway, and how does one use it?” I said I would tackle that question this week; this is me tackling it.
In general, influence is the power to make an effect of some kind. It can be positive or negative, which of course isn’t good, but that’s just how it goes.
If you think about Star Wars for a quick minute, Emperor Palpatine is a great example of influence. He’s a bad guy who does good things and gets people to believe in him and want him to become supreme chancellor. At the same time, he’s the most evil thing in the universe, the emperor who can get Darth Vader to do anything he wants him to do. In essence, he’s leading the same people he’s fighting against; how’s that for real power?
Reigning it back in, since none of us are going to be either of those things (thank goodness), we’re left to look at ourselves to first determine if we have any real influence over others, and if we do how are we using it. Parents, we’re keeping the discussion of children out of this one for now, so I don’t want to hear any “I’m a parent and I influence my children” stuff. Trust me, for the most part it’s not true anyway (yeah, I said it).
Let’s go back a bit to my previous post on the subject. I mentioned this thing about social media and the question that was asked about people locally. No one mentioned my name, yet I just did that workshop. What’s funny is that two days before, I went on Twitter and said I knew everyone already knew about it, but I just wanted to put it out there one more time. Two people actually wrote me to say they didn’t know I was doing it. I mean, I posted it every day at least once a day, mixed up the times, and wrote 4 blog posts about it, and still people didn’t know? And, to be truthful, not a single person I talk to locally on Twitter came, or said they were coming. Influential; I think not.
Last year when I did the webinar on social media and SEO, the product of which is sitting there at the top left, I actually had a little bit of influence, as a couple of people paid to sit in on that conversation. One I drove there because of this blog, the other because of email. Renée drove people because of her association with the Liverpool Chamber. Neither of us drove tons, but we got enough people there to make putting the event on worthwhile.
This leads us to the next part of my question, which is how do we use influence? For me, I’m looking to use my influence to get people to sign up for my workshop, at least locally. Online, I’m looking to drive people to buy or at least look at the few products I’ve created so far.
I’m also trying to use my influence to drive traffic to my blogs and some of my websites; after all, what I really want to do is to continue growing my influence as much as I can for my ultimate goal as a professional presenter, traveling the country talking to people about a host of things. I actually love doing that; standing in front of people is a rush that I know a lot of folks hate. For me, getting paid, and paid well, to talk to people would be just great.
So, I need to increase my influence so I can use it when I get there. And how am I going to do that? Well, I’m not quite sure, but I have a plan. I’ll talk about that next time.