What is influence?

What is influence and how do you measure it? It’s the eternal question that PR and marketing types constantly ask themselves. A case in point comes from the guys at the Brass who’ve created a Twitter influence measurement tool not too dissimilar to our own Chatterscope and are experimenting with it as part of Social Media Week London (#SMWLdn)

For those whom social media is very much part of their day job, measuring influence from an analytical standpoint is, has been and will continue to be a challenge. And that’s because it’s inherently not something that can be measured. Influence on someone else comes down to the sum of a person’s right and left-brained take on things. Of course, we can track specific metrics on campaigns (and this is where PR professionals need to embrace analytics) but it’s important to place as much weight on the irrational, fuzzy, element in campaigns as well.

My approach on how PR and social media people can report on or track influence for clients comes down to balance. Companies and brands should have a pretty good idea of what influence they wield offline and then seek to replicate this online. The two should exist in tandem otherwise you end up with a well-known brand name that gets exploited online or more commonly an online sensation that gets forgotten about when next week’s hype comes along.