In a nutshell, true influence is being able to turn to your friend and say, “Try this instead” and they actually try it. For a marketer, who here is the “target audience”, you or your friend? It’s your friend because that’s the “end result” – getting this wider network of people open to accepting a new idea. Therefore, influencer isn’t the marketer – it’s you.
Algorithm for Irony
After writing a good portion of this, I realized that I wasn’t sure which audience I was writing for. It occurred to me that there is a difference between how communication strategists (the average social media manager) view online communication versus how other people (that share content for the sake of sharing) use social media platforms. The idea of trying to be influential leaves a bad taste in the mouth both because it feels manipulative yet seemingly without yielding tangible results. There is so much more to ‘influence’, and the truth is that there are new factors which arise so frequently that there is no established “formula” to convince people to take notice. Ironically, it started appearing that the more “human you are in your online interactions, the more influential you’d be. This is why strategists use labels like “influencer” and “networker” for people who aren’t consciously trying to be an online influencer.
My interest lies in how we engage people for things we care about, and what is essentially online activism. I want to address two things that I feel are completely misunderstood by most students online but also by people who use social media as they would SMS. Firstly, it’s the supposed meaningfulness of the proverbial “Like” and secondly, the real-life impact of social media; because at the end of the day, no one succeeds alone and in the field of political science and news, influence is power.
“1000 likes will cure cancer!”
I am the first one to throw a stone at anyone who claims that, “1000 likes will cure cancer!” I don’t care if that’s just a play on words, or if that’s proved to have a high click-through rate; it’s a waste of characters and .02 seconds of any person’s time. Above all, it’s an inane and callous way to perceive people and the cause they’re representing. The problem is, Facebook has also shaped and negatively affected the online behaviour of people, who are well aware that online marketers are targeting them. They’re aware that even the most altruistic organization needs to maintain an online presence to attract donations and clout. People argue that it has become a proxy for real life action and has misled people about the meaningfulness of their online interactions. This is why I love Twitter – it gives you direct access to professionals in every field imaginable, with a likelihood to start meaningful information exchanges with these people.
The knee-jerk reaction to scoff at someone who calls themselves a “social media manager” is fair – but it’s probably a sign vigrx plus australia that you haven’t yet come to appreciate the sheer scale at which we are interconnected, and how much potential you have in real-time to tap into that network. Genuine interest is what spurs us to unconsciously spread information – and this inclination to share does go beyond cat memes or even viral teary-eyed insurance policy clips.
The “Bigger Picture”
Whether you’re a marketer or not, online notoriety has become an unconscious goal of many social media profiles, but that is not the goal which I am getting at. This is where both marketers and the average user need to step back and put social media in perspective. Your “Like” doesn’t help build a well, but it does help widen the content’s visibility and reach.
Going back to scope – before the rise of these social media platforms, your possible ‘reach’ as a person was possibly 200 people (both in person and via written mail); now, it is literally 1000 times greater. It’s an inspiring thought to know that you could wield that much influence when you say anything. The real life impact of social media is harder to explain or convince someone of because there is not always tangible, immediate evidence of social media’s influence in real life. People argue that the cause and effect is not apparent. Truth is, influence isn’t a straight bullet, it’s a slow working formula which transforms opinions bit by bit. That means that you can wield social media as a microphone, and people who either respect your opinion, or who have similar opinions themselves, will stop their endless scrolling to listen. People who argue that all Social Media is, is shouting into the darkness are lack the scope to see different parties in play and their combined results.
Case in point
The #FreeAJStaff is a campaign that has been initiated by Al Jazeera to bring awareness to and cumulate public pressure around the imprisonment of three of its journalists in Egypt, held under terrorism related charges. When I scroll down the wall of the ‘Free Al Jazeera Staff’ page that I co-manage and I see these photos, from literally all over the world, of people holding this sign that has #FreeAJStaff on it – without realizing, I’m filled with a very physical feeling of hope and solidarity.This hashtag has accomplished its goal– it reached out beyond my computer screen and motivated me to get more involved with spreading its message. I felt like we actually brought people out from behind their computer screens and onto the streets, getting a reported social reach of 3,026,302 – is that not testament to what social media can do for people?
I encourage you to be open to the power of Twitter and Facebook and not just be constantly on the receiving end. At the end of the day, we just need to be reminded that no one succeeds alone.
– Hiba Ganta