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Influential Highlights from SXSW

Yesterday, I wrapped up my first day here at SXSW.  I spent much of the day listening to panel discussions around Influence.  The highlight of the day was the “The Science of Influence” session featuring Dan Zarrella of HubSpot, Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb, Michael Wu of Lithium Technologies, and Ramya Krishnamurthy for Klout. Overall – an intriguing discussion around what influence is, how you determine it and the factors that need to be taken into consideration.  The more you listened, the more you realized how complicated it is to try to determine who is influential.


Dan Zarrella kicked things off by busting some of the common myths around influence including one of the big ones – that influencer quality is more important than quantity.  He pointed out later in the Q&A that quality is important but that an influencer needs to have a following to be influential.

Michael Wu went into more detail on the multiple factors that impact influence.  Influence as he defines it, is the ability to change someone’s mind and action.  He feels there are six linked factors of influence and just like a chain, if one link breaks you have no influence.

His six factors that make up an influencer are:

  • Credibility – their experience/expertise on a given subject or topic
  • High Bandwidth – their reach or number of followers
  • Relevance – their weight on topics related to your brand
  • Timing – when they are influential as it needs to be at the right times to potentially sway behavior
  • Channel Alignment – they need to be in the right social channel to be effective, if your target market doesn’t really use Twitter then an influencer who primarily uses it to communicate won’t really help you
  • Target Confidence – how much trust does your target audience have in them

Overall it seems defining, measuring, identifying and leveraging social influence is still a work on progress and discussions around it will continue for some time.

I’m looking forward to my second day at SXSW and sitting in on the “Social Capital: The Billion Dollar Digital Future” panel at 12:30 today at the Hyatt where our very own Mike Spataro, vice president of enterprise strategy will be sharing his thoughts along with Bill Parkes, EVP chief digital officer at nFusion, Richard Margetic, director global social media at Dell, and Zach Hofer-Shall, analyst at Forrester Research.

For our thoughts on influence check out Why Defining Influence is Easier Said than Done and Social Media – Influence, Importance and Identification.

Tags : social media

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