How’s Your Influence In Digitally Connected Networks?

David Armano is extending his reach with a new article on Harvard Business Review’s blog, “The Conversation.”

Armano, a Senior Vice President at Edelman Digital, offers up six pillars of “the new influence” in his piece: Reach, Proximity, Expertise, Relevancy, Credibility and Trust.

I didn’t learn about influence from a book written by Malcolm Gladwell or by studying influence theory. I learned about it from years of active participation on the social web. It’s becoming more clear to the business world that this new kind of influence is more is critical to understand and harness. The increasingly skeptical but empowered public uses the Internet to bypass the middle men (like institutions) and go directly to the source.

In other words, a brand can’t rely exclusively on the old push models–advertising and PR, in particular–to create lasting and significant positive impressions among key constituents.

A better, more modern approach, is to do the heavy lifting required by social media marketing. Today, checking the brand’s Facebook page for new interactions has to be part of the marketing team’s daily routine. And brand managers need to develop keen listening skills if they’re going to actively participate in the community around the brand. Without active listening the brand has no awareness of who in their circle actually has influence. The old assumptions were the brand has influence and the media (where a brand runs ads or PR initiatives get turned into stories) has influence. There may be truth in those assumptions still, but it’s not the whole truth.

The whole truth from a marketing communications perspective requires a brand to open a new chapter in the playbook, study that chapter and begin to pursue the findings therein in the real, digitally connected world, where word-of-mouth courses through the network at lightning speed.

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