Have we forgotten the personality of an influencer?


Personality Disorder: Avoidant

We had an interesting meeting on a project we are working on for PBA / Brighton & Hove City Council.   As typical for a council marketing project, sat around the table were representatives from different agency and client pods which made for an interesting conversation on how and where you find influencers.

Social Media Influencer metrics have been covered frequently online (if you google defining influencers online you have 21.9m articles to view!) We seem to have some agreement now of the best quantitative metrics to use and the numbers help us find our way in an electronic social world and target our efforts to the right people.

But what about offline?  People don’t walk around with numbers above their heads so how do we find influencers in the real world and what learnings can we transfer online?

I have mused what I would find important as influencer traits, ultimately this results in trust, but I think trust is made up of one or many of the following:

Shared values – Can I relate to them on a level?  Do they mix with similar people?
Aspiration – Are they the sort of person I aspire to be?
Experience – Are they speaking from experience?
Knowledge – Are they well read in this area?
Authority – Do I have respect for them?  Do I look up to them?
Relationship – Do I know them?  Do they know me?
Character – Are they a charismatic person? Do I feel good in their company?
Connections – Do they literally know a lot of people?  Do they know whats going on?
Expectation – Do they/  have they fulfilled my expectations in the past?

Outside of these personal qualities comes probably the most important factor which is of course context.    The context of the topic area, the time and place of interaction, the need sought, the problem posed and the desired response.

An initial selection of influencers offline for this particular project have lead one company we are working with to select scout leaders, parish leaders, neighbourhood watch group leaders, WI leaders, media journalists and the like. But this is only stage one, the real influencers will become apparent only after talking to them and observing the subtle traits demonstrated as they interact in their social circles.

These findings will help us (in our online capacity) to remember, be aware of and better understand what truly makes an influencer.  To spend time listening and observing is one of the most important parts of selecting influencers it would seem.

Qube have a honed approach in calculating how ‘useful’ and ‘social’ community targets are, looking beyond pure reach (or in bound links to the techies!) to account for engagement, historical performance, ratings and context too.  This marries a whole load of numbers with some subjective conclusions drawn from a period of listening.

Online, I fear we risk stripping an influencer of their personal real life qualities. Although valuable we don’t want to get blinded by numbers efficiency and by embracing the human side to a social media strategy it can help everyone involved get a more out of the investment made.


One Response to “Have we forgotten the personality of an influencer?”

  1. Great Stuff. Thanks for the information

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