At first blush, influence sit at the opposite end of the commodification problem. It's the GPS, portable version of your own brand -- you can wear it any time, anywhere to find your true North. Because influence starts with you and the return you derive from where you choose to spend your time, it is highly personal. Yet it is also a socially-recognized phenomenon -- influentials -- and a term adopted in social media -- as Paul Dunay describes:
"For most of us, traditional Web analytics are not sufficient to measure, track and compare the results from social media. So perhaps that requires a completely new and different set of metrics."
To measure an entirely new set of activities and, he presents, standards.
Podcasters Mark Blevis and Steve Hardiman offered some initial points of discussion for return on influence. They said (liberally edited here):
- It recognizes the potential of any channel and the communities that adopt it. In the context of social media, producers and consumers share the potential. They can both influence and be influenced by the communities in which they participate.
- It's a change in mindset. It subscribes to new-age thinking about personal and corporate brands. It follows less tightly the measurement of success based on quantifiable financial metrics and relies more on a number of key elements to derive success from influence.
- The influence of an individual participating in social media is not a function of wealth or celebrity; influence is a function of the individual’s, or organization’s, “social currency” –- their credibility and contribution in the community of ideas. Influence is authentic and cannot be coerced.
Maybe return on influence accrues on the value of contribution. If the return in traditional terms -- for example as currency -- matters less, the portable brand as influence matters more. Are organizations working on having their own versions of portable brands? If so, the question becomes one of "who" vs."what". The same question that Jim Collins has been asking for a number of years -- get the right people on the bus, I heard him say more than 6 years ago.
In that case how is the tension between individuals' true North, their own personal brands and the company's brand resolved? Do you resolve it? Does it need resolution?
UPDATE: over the years, people have done quick searches, found this post, and held it up as an example of whatever they wanted to prove about their smarts. Gotta love the use of acronyms.
ROI is most commonly defined as return on investment and is a financial term. I shave written extensively about putting the accent on the "return" part of ROI in my copious body of work. Time to do better homework when sourcing authors. Blogging has also matured a great deal.
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