Karen’s PR & Social Media Blog

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March 23, 2012

Exploring the issue of digital influence: Great research + report for PR researchers and practitioners

Digital influence is a key topic for many public relations professionals and researchers to explore in their business practices and how it impacts the level of credibility, trustworthiness, and perception of the client among key stakeholders.

Brian Solis recently published his report for Altimeter about this very subject and came away with some interesting pillars and variables to consider when looking at digital influence.  Some of the variables include resonance, reach, and relevance.  Within each of these three pillars of digital influence are several subcategory variables that are associated with the conceptualization of these main categories.

This is very useful to see how Solis and his team are defining each of these terms and the possibilities to use these in research projects.  In addition, the review of case studies and list of measurement tools for influence given near the end of the report is very helpful – especially for researchers and professors who are discussing social media in the classroom – definitely great resources here.  You can download the paper directly from Slideshare.

I believe that Solis and the fellow professionals and researchers who were part of this report were right on when it comes to the understanding of how digital influence is about having a similar connection with their audiences.  It would be interesting to explore if influence is indeed different if it is appearing across platforms and is there a universal formula or a set of best practices to initiate a comprehensive digital influence among audiences.  In addition, most of these conversations and discussions we are seeing with influence on social media are among corporations and brands.  What about other entities like agencies?  Does this also apply with individuals as well?  I would be interested in exploring this and determining if this is truly the case. :)

In addition, the report also acknowledges some of the growing issues with measuring influence with sites like Klout, PeerIndex, and other services is definitely a point for brands, companies, and researchers to take into consideration.  What is the difference between a Klout Score and one that appears on TweetLevel from Edelman?

Along with measuring influence – we have to take into consideration the different perceptions of what constitutes as being influential not only by the content, but also by the personality characteristics that are associated with the source of the information, the media channel being used, and the influence of culture and language into the equation.  Last point – we have to also look at the context of the situation being looked at when it comes to influence.  Is it for the long term or for how a brand deals with a crisis?  We need to further explore how influence is determined not just from positive scenarios, but we have an opportunity to test to see if there are certain fine tuned situations that need to be explored related to other potential situations like a crisis, natural disaster, and emergency to name a few.

In summary, the issue of digital influence will continue to be researched and discussed in both the professional and academic world.  Solis and the team from Altimeter have shared a very comprehensive report on the issue to stimulate this topic in these various circles while also providing a wealth of information and resources.

As technology grows, some things will continue to be the same, but some behaviors and perceptions may evolve. We just have to wait and see what happens next.

Hope you all are having a great day.

Best Wishes,

Karen

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