The Sphere of Social Influence

Words like media, blogging, social and influence along with many others are thrown around today in conversation more than ever before. As our world moves more into the digital realm and jobs are created out of the blue in new and innovative fields, social influence has a lot more value then in years passed.


Think about when the social media world wasn’t quite as powerful. We still used all the same ways to get information and were influenced in ways that with social media today is just a faster process. We asked friends where to eat, shop and go out basically a smaller version of Yelp. We shared photos of our trips and weekends with anyone who cared to see Instagram. And we convinced other to try our favorite this or our favorite that Facebook, Twitter.

The social media world may be daunting to some who find it intimidating and too fast-paced, but it’s just a quicker and more convenient way for us to connect with friends, family and the world. Critics often say that the social media world keeps us from experiencing life in the real world, but today the social world and the influence that we get from it can’t be denied, not even in the “real world”. Not only can we not turn our cheeks to it, but the more we use it, the larger our sphere of influence reaches and the more people we touch daily through our opinions and self-expression.


With so many ways to have social influence, it’s important to stay focused and stay in tune with who your target audience is. According to Michael Wu, Ph.D. Lithium’s Principal Scientist of Analytics at lithosphere,

The followers likelihood to be influenced by a specific influencer or social influence depends on four factors:

1. Relevance (the right information): How closely the followers information needs to coincide with the influencer’s expertise. If the information provided by the influencer is not relevant, then it is just spam to the target audience and will be ignored.

2. Timing (the right time): The ability of the influencer to deliver his expert knowledge to the readers at the time when they most need it. There is only a small time window along the decision trajectory when the readers can be influenced. Outside this golden window, even relevant content will be treated as spam because there is no temporal relevance.

3. Alignment (the right place): The amount of channel overlap between the reader and the influencer. If the reader is on a different social media channel, then the influencer’s information either takes too long or never reaches the readers.

4. Confidence (the right person): How much the fans/followers/readers trust the influencer with respect to their information needs. Even if the influencer is credible, the followers must have confidence in him/her. Without trust, any information from the influencer will be downgraded by the followers.


With these guidelines, it is easy to analyze whether a social media campaign is succeeding or failing. While focusing on the influencer is the easiest way to alter social influence, always keep your audience in mind and make the information as simple and easy to understand as possible while still adding value. A great quote to remember while doing this is Einstein’s “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

What rules do you follow when spreading word of mouth and having a social influence on your followers?



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