The importance of influence sounds like the title of a book but it’s not. (Although it should be). Whether we are aware of it or not, every day we are either influencing or being influenced. It is one of the many transactions we are having with life that we are often unaware of. In the corporate world we use influence to accomplish two things; either we want to influence others to buy our products or services or we want to influence ourselves or our teams to improve our or their effectiveness. In its most distilled form, our effectiveness is directly proportional to our ability to influence the people around us.
We can both become more influential and we can create more influence around us.
For some, people perceive influence as power and power as money. In fact, online influence has never been so monetized. Being an influencer online is simply an extension to influencing people, companies, businesses or prospective clients off line.
THE IMPORTANCE OF INFLUENCE IN THE DIGITAL AGE
In the current digital age where businesses rises and fall through the window of social media, companies and brands often turn to these social media specialists, icons or influencers to influence others to purchase their goods, products or services. If these influence techniques are executed correctly, this will lead to more clients, more profit and an increased brand awareness and greater level of visibility in your desired market.
Whether you are persuading people to vote for you in the next election, instigating change, attempting to close a deal or change a mind set or belief in someone or a group of people, influence is essentially encouraging people to think or act as you do. In today’s society where social media permeates everyone’s lives, there has never been a greater opportunity to reach more people than ever before. In fact, reach is a powerful key performer indicator for influencing others online. With the emphasis on the ‘social’ element of social media, people can ‘reach’ and build groups, communities, followers and ‘tribes’ further afield than was ever possible before the dawn of the internet. In turn these followers can then spread that same message or call to action to others.
As a result, this means that our persuasive messages can reach further than ever before. It also means that we have the potential to influence more people than ever before too. On an individual level, as we begin to see more and more people having some form of influence on society, it is apparent that influence does not come from titles or hierarchies within an organization as it once did.
Instead, influence is now created by your credibility and extended even further by refining your influence message and then sharing it passionately in innovative and novel ways. This has lead to viral images, videos, stories and more and is where an idea, concept or message spreads like a virus and reaches a maximum audience. If people who have been exposed to this idea, notion, brand, fashion or message, and enjoy it or aspire to it or it aligns with their own beliefs and values then they may very well become a ‘follower’ or a ‘fan’.
EFFECTIVE INFLUENCE IS SIMILAR TO THE LAW OF INTERTIA:
Much like the law of inertia, influence is an action that starts and then maintains motion until something pushes or pulls on it. As a result, people with strong persuasive abilities can influence those people around them who are open to being influenced (starting the motion) and then propel them forward once they are engaged (maintaining that motion).
As mentioned earlier, developing influence also allows you to build a community or ‘tribe’ of like minded individuals. It is important to create a level of commitment beyond the surface level to ensure that your tribe supports you in the most difficult and challenging of times . Equally, by nurturing existing connections and creating new relationships, this will allow you to grow your tribe or community and ensure the members are both loyal and strong brand ambassadors for you too.
Further down the line and as a result of these strong foundations, your loyal community will reciprocate the leadership you have shown them and they will support you through difficult times to ensure a higher chance that your brand or company will be able to weather any metaphorical storms which would otherwise destroy others businesses, companies or brands with a less loyal fan or community base. If brands decide to align themselves with influencers one of their key criteria other than brand integrity is the engagement rate of their followers. If you have a million ‘followers’ as part of your tribe but none of them engage or interact with you, your brand, goods, products or services then the following you have built my not stick by you in times of challenge and strife.
With a loyal community of followers, you can celebrate your victories together and equally support each other in the losses. When you ask most people what they want out of life, one of the most common responses is ‘happiness’.
THE IMPORTANCE OF INFLUENCE – INCREASED HAPPINESS
Happiness is one of the few things in life which increases when it is shared. Thus it is far more satisfying to reach your goal or outcome with a group, tribe or community than by yourself. Having the ability to persuade and influence people effectively (either online or offline) will ensure that both you and your community will become more effective and achieve a greater level of success too.
I hope this overview outlines the importance of influence and why it is important to hone our influencing skills, dedicate some time to coach our team and even employ a keynote speaker like Duncan Stevens to give you the tips and techniques not just on what to do but also what to say to increase your influence and effectiveness. Get in touch with Duncan below to discuss your requirements and how he can help you and your team generate more sales, navigate challenging situations, overcome hurdles, convert more sales leads and more.