How to Influence the Influencers

Rebecca Lieb's picture

How do you influence the digital influencers? What is influence, anyway? And if you can rally influencers to your side, cause, brand or point of view, what’s the best way to approach the task? What can realistically be achieved? And how do you measure results.

There’s no dearth of talk about online influence, but until now there’s been precious little actionable advice. With the publication of my colleague Brian Solis‘ new research report, “The Rise of Digital Influence,” (it’s subtitled “A ‘how-to’ guide for businesses to spark desirable effects and outcomes through social media influence), marketers are provided with frameworks and action plans to get both strategic and tactical in their approach to effectively harnessing the elusive, but oh, so desirable impact a community of influencers. Brian helpfully defines digital influences as, “the ability to cause effect, change behavior, and drive measurable outcomes online.”

A feature of this research of particular interest is a long, hard look at the tools that purportedly measure influence, e.g. Klout, Kred, and PeerIndex. Based on game mechanics (and people all to ready to game the system), I’ve looked on these tools with suspicion, particularly after Klout listed me as influential on the topic of the Calgary Flames (maybe you’re aware they’re a hockey team, but I had to google it). Do these new services that capture social media scores equate to influence? No, says Brian – but that doesn’t mean they’re not useful. “The measure here…is not influence or the capacity to influence, but instead visibility with the possibility of causing effect.”

The report contains an Influence Framework as well as an Influence Action Plan to help brands and their agencies identify connected consumers and to define and measure digital influence initiatives via an included step-by-step process. Vendors in the influence metrics space are also compared, feature-by-feature, in a helpful grid.

“The Rise of Digital Influence” is a watershed in digital influence. It’s going to stop airy-fairy conversation about “influencing influencers” dead in its tracks and instead supplant vague and aspirational jargon-laced talk with substantive, strategic processes.

And, like all Altimeter Group research, the report is available to read and to share under Creative Commons. Thanks for passing it along if you find it helpful.

Cartoon credit:


Brad Grier's picture

The report is a very good read, and a valuable resource for any communications practitioner looking to understand the roles played by various social media orgs and services -- Though I may offer one minor correction from an Empire Avenue perspective -- We've found that engagement and relevance are far stronger measures than the elusive 'Influence' metric.

We had a little chat about Influence vs Engagement on Pandodaily with Erin now the title is a little mis leading as we kinda ditched Influence about 18months ago but hey...

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postcard magnets's picture

Wow. An incredibly thorough -- and important -- presentation about social network influencers.

I'm sure the political campaign world has become familiar with these concepts.

And I wonder what impact all this will have on who decides to run, how they will campaign, on how we decide who to vote for.

Rob Cottingham's picture

Hi, Rebecca!

I'm glad you liked my Klout cartoon and shared it with your audience! Unfortunately, the cartoon as it was posted on was cropped to remove the logo and credit.

Would you mind using the full version of the cartoon (attached below), and changing the link to point to ?

(By the way, if you're ever having trouble finding the original source of a cartoon or image, is a fantastically useful resource.)

Many thanks, and sorry for the inconvenience!

RebeccaLieb's picture

Rob - apologies for the misattribution! Of course I'll rectify this as quickly as possible. Thanks for calling it to my attention!

Rob Cottingham's picture

Thanks so much, Rebecca!

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Rebecca Lieb

Rebecca Lieb is a strategic advisor, consultant, research analyst, keynote speaker, author, and columnist.


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