The meaning of influence in networking

Photo by LordNikon

Photo by Lord Nikon

These days in business marketing, and especially on-line, we hear a huge amount about influence. How much influence does a marketer or networker have?

In social media, some measure influence in terms of their Klout or PeerIndex score. Actually they are very crude tools, especially Klout. What they really measure is how much we Tweet or post on Facebook. PeerIndex does index blogging, but all these tools really measure is how much noise we make on-line.

It is the same with off-line networking. We may put out our message to the room and we may do so in a very loud voice. We might go to every networking meeting there is in our area and eat breakfast out every day of the week. However it does not mean we will get loads of business.

The confusion is between, on the one hand, being seen everywhere trilling our message on Twitter or over our scrambled eggs, and on the other, our networks actually listening to us and taking notice because they believe we have something to offer. It is easy to shout the loudest and most often, but more difficult to get over our message that we are people to be trusted with business.

We do not want our Tweet or a fried breakfast message being taken with more than a pinch of salt. We need to be genuine, sincere and ourselves to get that trust, don’t we/

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Showing us the way with enthusiasms

 

English: Radio Caroline bus

English: Radio Caroline bus (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Courtesy of Sarah Darling

The long and winding road

Do you sometimes look over your shoulder and wonder how you got where you are? In terms of learning our personal and working lives become inter-twined. Always along the way there are people whose enthusiasms permeate our souls and set us in certain directions. We carry the knowledge and excitement and interest which they instil in us and even if we don’t do things their way, their influence is what sets us in the direction we have gone.

Of course the adults around us as children build the foundation of our morality and beliefs before we start to think for ourselves, but our interests are rubbed off from people we come across, whether they are famous, or colleagues, or acquaintances.

Reaching for the stars

I have always had an interest in astronomy; at least since I saw Patrick Moore in a black-and-white Sky at Night. His infectious enthusiasm rubbed off on me and turned on my awareness of the Universe out there. I started to read science fiction at a young age starting with Angus McVicar.  I read Fred Hoyle‘s book about the “steady state” theory of the Universe, now superseded by a very different model.

Then there was pirate radio. My hero disc jockey on Radio Caroline was Johnny Walker. I thought he was really cool, and yes, we did say “cool” even in those days. It inspired an interest in pirate radio to the extent I was a pirate myself. Later I became a legal radio “ham” because I acquired an interest in the science of radio.

Possibilities

Then when I started working in tax, there was a guy whose first name was Tom. He had a very comprehensive knowledge of tax and was seen as the oracle. He showed me what was possible. Sadly our relationship somehow soured. I never really knew what put him off me. It was that way round. Yes, he became a block to my career, but the ball was in my court to move on. It wasn’t his problem and I was sad that I could not stay in touch. I am still grateful for my time with him.

After I left that firm, my career took off,which is what I had intended.

I went a few years without another major influence. I made some dear friends with the national firm I joined who are still my friends today.

The new dawn

Later, after my career in employment ceased in a rather unplanned fashion, I tried to reorientate myself for the self-employed world. I went on sales courses, but they always made me rather uncomfortable. Then someone said I should read Zig Ziglar. I saw how easy selling could be. I saw that selling was about giving comfort to the prospect at the same time as giving comfort to me. Previously I had always worried that the prospect would end up not wanting my services and would hold this against me. Zig’s way is to make sure your prospect has what she wants, and that is what you want. Later, I read Dale Carnegie and saw where so much of these ideas might have come from. Everyone should read Zig and Dale Carnegie if they want to get on in business.

Marketing was hard at the beginning. In 2003 I joined Ecademy. Within a couple of weeks I met Thomas Power. I am very glad I did. He may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but tea is a matter of taste. I met Penny Power too very soon, but Thomas’s knowledge of and enthusiasm about everything we should be doing on-line to market our businesses was hugely influential for me. I learned so much so quickly. 2003 was 1BF (Before Facebook). So thank you, Thomas and Penny, for the last nine years, and thank you Andrew Widgery for bringing us together.

Of course I met my wife in August 2000 and she is a lovely influence at home and keeps me calm and focussed and on the rails. I am very lucky.

Thank you Patrick and Johnny and Tom and Zig. Anyone would think I had won an Oscar with all this thanking. I would not have what I have without all those people though. I might have had something else, but I like what I have. Of course I have missed a few “thank yous”. I will catch up one day.

Who has influenced you to achieve, and excited you with their ideas?

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Why we don’t need social media for business

Losing the plot?

Well, we tend to forget that social media is (are) a means to an end. Or maybe it was just me. I can’t speak for you.

Like lots of people I have embraced Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, signed up for newsletters and blogs of interesting people, and of course bought things from various people and businesses. The result is that my email inbox is being inundated with lots of stuff, most of which I never read.

In addition to subscribing to blogs via email I also collect new posts vis Google Reader. Do you know what? I almost never look at Google Reader so miss out on most of whatever I thought I might like. Sad, isn’t it?

Having a clear-out

So anyway I run a business; well I own three actually. I have got past doing everything myself of course, to free up time to run my business and spend my time more valuably. I still have to use the time though, so it is no good eating into it reading a lot of stuff that probably isn’t really useful.

What I am doing about this? Well, now each time I see a new post I think about whether I need it. If I don’t I unsubscribe. I have done a lot of that recently. That’s not to say that there is not content that I do value. However if I spend all day reading other people’s blogs and what might be useful information, I can’t take it all in and still have time for my serious business life.

What is easy to forget is that social media interaction, and blogs where we like to comment, involve people. It is the people we need to think about and not the game

I am not the only one who is cutting down, but he is not one I am going to unsubscribe from.

We can employ others to do our work or we can subcontract and either way manage our businesses. But we can’t do that when we are eating into our time reading stuff we might never need and using on-line networks in a less than efficient way.

People matter

I am staying with Twitter. I like Twitter and I have made valuable new contacts there. I have helped people. I have gained business via Twitter. I just don’t need to post 25+ times a day or worry about irrelevancies such as Klout scores. In networking I have always preferred quality over quantity and I think that includes my own output. People know who I am. Better still, I know who other people are whom I would turn to.

So it isn’t social media that we should worry about. It is the people we meet through participation.

Have you got too busy with the social media game, can you manage the fast pace, or are you cutting down too?

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Rabbit, rabbit!

the Lamborghini logotype
Image via Wikipedia

I hadn’t intended to return to the subject of web influence but elsewhere on “the internet” there are people including quite well-known pundits telling us that we should be working on our Klout and PeerIndex ratings because they are supposed to influence how people see us. Apparently the scores affect whether we are invited for interviews in California. Well, maybe it’s the latest thing in Hollywood, but have you been to Hollywood? It really isn’t the real world, is it?

Rabbit

Not every fad will storm the world. It is easy to look up people on-line, and generally the only factor in advance of an interview or business meeting is whether you can find out something about the person. It is not going to be about how big a Klout score they have unless it is crucial to take on someone active in social media. Even then, one should still consider whether the person has true influence or whether they just Tweet links at the rate of one a minute, the on-line equivalent of rabbiting about nothing. Frankly those in the last category don’t have my respect and even if I like them on a personal basis I will miss the quality links amongst the dross. There will be dross in Tweets at the rate of one a minute, too.

Dog

So pardon me if I don’t set much store by these indices. I am not being a dog in the manger. My scores with both these measuring tools are fairly respectable according to the aficionados. I prefer simply to measure my influence through feedback from my network and how many enquiries I get re new business.

I don’t need to be judged by people who set store by some measure of fashionable noise making any more than one should be judged on whether one has an IPhone or a Lamborghini. What do you think?

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Measuring web influence?

Twitter logo initial
Image via Wikipedia

When some people talk about their personal relationships, we want to cry out “Too much information” but when on-line that’s what we get. It is so difficult to filter out the noise. We are constantly being urged by various web pundits and bloggers to follow certain paths. Many of these opinions may be the right ones. We have to be selective because otherwise the noise will drown out all the information we could use.

Resources

It is the same with different web tools and social media sites. There are just too many to give the time to all at once. I avoid most of the invitations I get to join new social networks and try to ascertain those that are most likely to be useful. I will dive properly into Quora and BranchOut when I have time, which for a tax practitioner certainly is not in January, no matter how I manage my time and outsource.

However, of all the tools we do use, how do we know how much on-line influence we have? We can use sites which purport to measure influence, such as Klout, but they are very crude. My Klout score as I write is 46, which according to Klout is pretty decent. “Jon Stow is a Specialist

You may not be a celebrity, but within your area of expertise your opinion is second to none. Your content is likely focused around a specific topic or industry with a focused, highly-engaged audience.”

All well and good, but I think a site such as Klout simply measures how much noise one makes. I have been very active on Twitter and Facebook in particular the last couple of weeks (as I write) but noise isn’t influence. Some people might be covering their ears as far as my noise is concerned.

How does it feel?

The only real measure of influence as far as I am concerned is the number of website and blog hits I see, the comments on the blogs and the number of conversations or (more critically) responses I have to initiate conversations on other people’s blogs, my blogs and Twitter. These are climbing steadily while my Klout score has varied between 18 and 51.

In the end social media influence must be not how other people measure it but how it feels. Pain and pleasure are subjective feelings influenced usually by multiple factors. One’s on-line influence may be measured by clinical factors such as website and blog hits, but the manifestation is the number of sales we are making through our internet influence. I am pleased to say that these are climbing well from almost nothing a couple of years ago, but on this receiving end, subjective personal measuring of new business is really the only way I can truly know. It’s as subjective as just knowing whether or not we are happy. I certainly am, but definitely not complacent. What do you think?

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