Archimedes famously proclaimed the ability to move the earth itself if only he had a lever long enough and a fulcrum to place it on. He perhaps understood the true nature of influence long before its manifestation in paid, earned and owned media.
Take television, armed with its traditional wide-reaching impact on visibility and resonance, can be compared to the Sumo wrestler. His physical strength and prowess is obvious, but when a 130-pound Jujutsu master turns him to putty, we can begin to understand the power of leverage.
When something is much more powerful than it appears, or when its effects are surprisingly non-linear, we are forced to question with our basic understanding of physics. This is equally applicable to the world of influence marketing, where the actions of the few can impact a much larger whole.
The nucleus of a brand can evolve due to the impact of a surprisingly small number of super influencers, whose leverage can be ten times that of the second tier influencers; whose leverage can be ten times that of third tier influencers; and so on.
This kind of leverage can be perplexing because it is a geometric relationship instead of a linear one.
We’re in the midst of an evolution in how we integrate influence to amplify our marketing, which is exactly why influence is now as much about measuring the ability to drive action as it is about leveraging its impact.
Actionable influence is about sustained engagement with your brand by the people who matter most to you, who have platforms of their own from which to help evangelize, and who are willing to put their own personal capital into the brand.
It’s a process, sometimes a lengthy one, to move influencers to advocacy; some influencers will be easy to move along, and others will move more slowly, if at all.
My advice to companies looking to leverage influence?
Influencers are most effective when contextually relevant. If you’re searching for true consideration and third-party endorsements, then you need to be looking to increase your share of influence on the topics that matter most to your business, and to your customers, by impacting conversation around these topics.
Larry Levy is co-founder and CEO of Appinions, an opinion-powered influence marketing platform that helps agencies and brands identify, analyze, monitor and engage with relevant influencers
©2015, The Tomorrow Project, LLC