What they didn’t teach us about influence in school

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Could you influence someone on twitter? When someone posted a tweet and no sales or donation come through, would that make that person NOT influential? Maybe. Would someone who has 1000 followers have more influence than someone who has 10,000 followers? It is possible.

There are a lot of talks, in blog posts, podcasts etc, about influence recently. I read on Mark’s blog (one of my favorite blogs out there) where he talked about how there is little influence on Twitter. Mark presented an interesting case about Alyssa Milano, with a Klout score of 84, sent a tweet to her 1.4 million followers with a link to the Amazon page of a book called Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks & How They Shape Our Lives and how it didn’t add any additional sales.

Mark you know you can’t talk about my Alyssa!

Could it be that Alyssa Milano is not influential on Twitter?

Could it be that we’re all in the crazy world where we thought social media have a huge impact but has none at all? Is Malcolm Gladwell right about us not needing Twitter? Could it be that blogs are better than social networking sites just like mark mentioned? Could it be we’re all living in denial?


The reason I say that is because on Twitter, blogs, Facebook, Linkedin, or even offline there is a NEED for belief, trust, and connection. But what went wrong with the tweet?

Hint: Monkey See, Monkey Do.

Influence is defined as the ability to affect the outcome of someone or something, either positively or negatively (in the case of bad influences).

In this case, a tweet to an Amazon page won’t help. People don’t want to be “sold” off unless they believe in something What could help is when you let people know that YOU are reading it or that you are using the book. People don’t want to preached or told, they want to see you doing it. They want to believe or feel connected.

What would make you buy a product? “Title of book –link- ”, or “WOW! This book amazes me on how we can connect with people –link-“. It’s just an example of course, but I would rather buy the latter. You could come up with something more convincing for sure.

If Alyssa Milano talked about her reading it, people would possibly buy because people want to feel connected, people want to follow what she does or what she likes. That is how fashion spreads from one model to her fans. From one designer to tens of thousands of shoppers (not sure about Lady Gaga’s fashion). Seth Godin talked about this as well, where he said that you need to “assemble a tribe” who would truly believe in what you do.

So no matter what medium, whether it is blogs, Twitter, or Facebook, as long as there are people who believe in what you do, then you would be able to have “influence”.

Alyssa Milano’s 38th Birthday

Last year, on Alyssa Milano’s 38th birthday, her birthday wish was to raise $38,000. Result? She raised $39,551 for Charity Water. What caused it? People were willing to do so because they believe in her, they love her, they trust her, and most importantly, they feel connected to her because it is her birthday and they wanted her wish to come true. It was something Alyssa believed in. They believe her too.

No matter whether it’s a blog, a website, Twitter, Facebook, or any other social networking site, people need to believe, they need to feel the passion, and they need to see you leading and believing in what you do in order for them to feel passionate about whatever it is that you do.

Of course there are other factors that will cause influence; this is just one out of the many. What are your thoughts guys?

photo: by ind{yeah}

  • http://sanjeev-sharma.com Sanjeev Sharma

    While it is true that we have not been taught about influence in school, but it is also true that we have been taught is that we must lead by example. If you want your students to learn the good things from you, then you need to demonstrate what you preach by doing that same thing. If that is done, then you do not even have to ask someone to do your bidding – they will just do it.

    Coupled with this is the other less understood and followed truth in sales – do not ever TRY to sell. Be a friend and consultant. Sales will automatically happen. And the reason for this is that people generally not like to be sold – because it would mean that we have allowed the seller to conquer us! And that we can never allow!

    There is a huge difference between if Barrack Obama says, “be a good American citizen” vis-a vis “let us be good American citizens”.

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