Measuring Online Influence

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When approaching any online entrepreneurship you must consider your online influence, influence is your ability to reach an audience as well as your ability to convert your message into profitable actions. There are many ways and things that measure influence, Klout for example claims to analyze your social media accounts and measure your influence on those social networks as compared to peers. This tool does provide great analytics and is a tool everyone involved in social media should use, but not completely rely on. After all the tool is flawed and can be inaccurate whereas some people only need a few people to retweet, share a message or call a few actions to be considered influential if their target is a smaller niche or a more direct subset of the online population.

Website tools like Alexa, Compete, Google Analytics…etc all provide a good framework for tracking how your site is doing but remember that you don’t technically need a ton of traffic if you have the right approach to make a decent living, you certainly don’t need to have 2 million visits per month to your website or blog to make a decent living from it. I have seen this with bloggers getting 1/3 the amount of traffic on yet still able to clear 3x my site income in a single month by being more tightly focused on specific products and affiliate sales.

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One thing about influence is you have to protect it once you establish it, it has become easier than ever to have reputations destroyed online which can cost you and your business a lot of money and take a long time to recover from if you are not careful. This means if you employ or hire others to maintain a public image of your business on social media then you need to make sure they only clearly display the image you want displayed. This of course doesn’t prevent the owner from making a blunder which can lead to massive PR repercussions and few are more damaging than if you make or sell a product that many consider inferior or simply disappointing.

You must believe in what you sell and not treat your audience as just “someone to pay you” but instead believe they are someone taking a chance on your service and product and someone you are to make sure they become a loyal follower and supporter for what you are producing. We have all seen how the most loyal fans stick up for the companies and products they truly love, and everyone who offers goods or services hopes they can have their own loyal fan base.

A recent example is New Trent which is a company that offers iPad, Kindle Fire and other accessory items. They are building a loyal fanbase with their pilot program where they offer huge discounts and even free products in exchange for reviews and feedback/surveys on how they can improve their products and what they can offer that would be of interest. I think their approach is magnificent and I myself purchased a few products from them over the years, but also receive quite a few now and again to review and share feedback on. I am a die hard supporter now after joining their program and participating over the past several months.

Increasing Social Media Influence

Influence is always something you need to keep track of and have a measurement with which you can use to accurately judge your audience reach which in turn could be selling power. If you feel you don’t have the influence you need then there are some ways to quickly build audience and attention. Rather than focus on SEO or keyword optimization you will want to directly interface with customers who follow your company on social media accounts and interact.

  • Take the time to ask questions on what your potential customers want
  • Take the time to poll for support
  • Samples, trials and giveaways of your product to raise awareness
  • Answer or solve somebody’s questions related to a product you provide
  • Watch for trends, hashtags around your niche and jump in the conversations

These are just some helpful tips to engage and be more interactive, don’t rely on auto-tweets and messages broadcast on your account to represent your business, take the time to directly interact or hire someone trusted (knows the policy around communication) and make sure you have interaction every day to avoid looking like a non-active social media entity.

-Justin Germino

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Updated: March 25, 2012 — 9:48 pm