Influence VS Popularity
Influence VS Popularity
An influencer is not necessarily popular and someone popular is not necessarily influential
In the world of marketing and communication, influence is a wealth sought by all companies. Business leaders and senior executives alike will tell you: in this age of the Internet and social networks, influence is everyone’s good. Each person can be a very influential person on the Internet and lead hundreds or even thousands of people in their wake.
The influence that a public figure, a competing company, a start-up, a media (a magazine, a television channel, more recently a Vlogger) can have is nowhere near the same as what we knew in the past… Only a few years ago, only celebrities could be the muses and growth drivers of a company. From now on, all famous or not famous people on the Web can become relays, or on the contrary real obstacles for a brand, a product, a service…
But misunderstandings still remain in this wonderful world of influence 2.0, in the era of the connected opinion leader. The main misunderstanding that we will try to combat in this article is the one about the boundary between influence and popularity. How did we move from two related notions (influence and popularity) to a time when these same two notions are no longer compatible and necessarily related? Why is an influencer not necessarily popular and someone popular is not necessarily an influencer? All the answers to these questions in the following lines and paragraphs.
A few words on the influence
First, let’s take a moment to focus on the concept of influence. All too often, this concept is misunderstood by the people in charge of carrying out a company’s communication, as they believe that influence is a negative factor, that we must move closer to control. This is a commonplace you should avoid. This idea has truly become a master in the communication of a company. To be able to identify influential players in a market is to identify all the stakeholders who can have an influence on my activity. So we might as well get a head start on them by identifying them and collecting as much information as possible about them so that they can perhaps eventually be included in my communication policy.
In the field of psychology, influence is therefore a process by which an individual succeeds in having another individual adopt his or her own point of view. It is necessary to note that having influence is not necessarily a negative thing. A person may be under the influence of another simply out of deference, out of admiration, out of a desire to comply. We find in this form of influence which is not the consequence of acts aiming to put under any kind of control all the phenomena related to mimicry in society, conformism…
This influence therefore operates what is called an inflection: the one who is obliged to adapt his own point of view finally acts under the influence of another person, he acts under his influence. It is also important to note that influence can include both phenomena of persuasion (when the person who influences implements persuasion strategies), but also phenomena of imitation (when the person under influence acts rather out of admiration for the person who influences him/her).
Influential communication: a 2.0 communication for companies?
So the question can now arise in your mind, this question that aims to know why companies now have every interest in using influence communication? The answer is simple: it is the simplest form of communication to implement today, but also the cheapest form of communication. As we said earlier, in the past, influence was simple for a company to acquire, it was enough for it to choose as its muse sportsmen, celebrities who were well established and to use their image to sell a product or service. From now on, this recipe is obsolete and it is essential to keep an eye on all those who can transform themselves into talented influencers in no time. Another point to focus on is the speed at which a company can benefit, or not, from the influence of a person who is famous or made famous by the media. That is why we will demonstrate all this with two examples that perfectly illustrate the idea.
Let’s take a very simple example, but one that highlights the commercial power of influential communication: the young French company that manufactures Super Heroes comforters recently saw Angelina Jolie display herself, during one of her trips to Paris, in a photo brandishing one of the French company’s plush toys. In just a few days, the company’s order books were full, both in France and abroad. Influence is not something that the company masters. This example highlights this: Angelina Jolie, a famous and internationally loved actress, is sharing her image, perhaps even unintentionally, with a French company that nothing intended to succeed so quickly, let alone internationally. But it only took one photograph, relayed on social networks around the world for the Super Heroes cuddly toys that are sold like hotcakes, everywhere in Europe but also in the United States. What seems incredible through this example is that, finally, the means at our disposal relay information so quickly that the celebrity itself, at least the person behind the influence, cannot put forward a stated or unstated will on his part.
Influence in the world of corporate communication is a rare but extremely dangerous commodity. The example we have just given above is positive, the French company has largely taken advantage of the influence of the American actress to develop. But let’s take another less glorious example: the killer Anders Breivik, was posted on social networks and on all his photos with Lacoste brand clothing. Once its macabre ride was completed and the media all turned on its person, the French brand really suffered a nightmare in terms of its sales, the brand being brought closer to the media around the world to bloodthirsty killer. Again, this is an example of the influence that a complete stranger can have on a brand that is recognized around the world. This is why companies must be wary of the influence of their consumers.
Establishing influential communication: information elements
So, how can we successfully integrate the power of influence into our communication policy without taking the risk of suffering the opposite effect? How can I control the influence of a corporate watch when I know that a popular person will not necessarily be influential for me and that, conversely, a complete stranger to decide life or death on my company?
The role of the Community Manager, among others, is essential in the implementation of a communication policy that integrates the power of influence. It is now on the Web, on the Internet, that all trends are born, that all potentially influential people grow up and come into the spotlight. All it takes now is a few videos on YouTube, videos with thousands of views, to win an advertising contract with major brands. These brands that sponsor young web players have understood the role of influence in their communication policy and are doing everything possible to successfully acquire exclusivity over these young, dynamic influencers who have a real community behind them.
Thus, as part of your company’s communication of influence, take into consideration all the potential development opportunities for your company. Blogs, community websites, social networks, media sites and many other opportunities are available to your company to successfully gain influence with future market players.
Your customers are on social media and are using them on a daily basis. It is important that we keep them engaged and connected to your brand so that you’re always their first option.
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