A Personal Question: Who are Your Influencers?

Do you think the question, “Who are your influencers?” is a personal one?  I do, because despite the measurement tools, from Klout to Twinfluence, we choose to believe in people and trust their guidance because we feel a personal connection.  Now, that’s not to say that the numbers are disregarded, because they’re not. But, it does make us think about the personal side of why we have certain bloggers in our RSS reader and why we participate in chat sessions because our influencers are there sharing knowledge.

Selecting an influencer reminds me of something I learned years ago, from one of my clients.  At the time, my agency was competing for a large account.  When we were awarded the business, I thanked my contact and he said, “It was a really close race. Both agencies were creative, both were reasonably priced, but the bottom line was that I really wanted to work with you and your team.”

That’s right….it’s about people.  Should we be surprised that social media is about people and so is the selection of our influencers?  So, I ask you…who are your influencers?  What kind of relationships do you have with them? Do your influencers have the highest numbers?   I’ll answer a few of these questions.  My influencers run the numbers gamut.  Some have tens of thousands of followers and friends and some only have a few thousand followers.  Some of my influencers are in the Power 150 and others are not.

I also place my influencers into personal buckets based on what interests me. Here are the personal buckets, as they relate to communications and business:  The Visionary, the Rising Star in the Spotlight, the Educator and the TechnoSav Professional. 

The Visionary: I have a personal connection with the Visionary as he/she helps me to rise to new levels of thinking when I interact with this person.  Whether it’s through their writing or via Facebook, I feel a strong association because of the knowledge that’s shared. The Visionary makes me think!

The Rising Star is the communications professional in the spotlight.  In the past, PR professionals have taken the role of facilitator or handler.  The Rising Star is the correspondent; the true champion who becomes media; yes, this person becomes the people we want to reach. Interacting with the Rising Star is all about energy; a force that makes you take out (or purchase) a flip cam so you can create your own media.

The Educatator is an influencer who is always there with a strong guiding hand. He/she is very approachable and keeps us moving in the right direction.  This person will take what the Visionary says, applies it to practical situations and makes it easier to understand and on a level that can easily be implemented.  The educator is someone who is helpful and no matter where they are or what they’re doing, you feel support from this person.

The TechnoSav Professional is that unique influencer who shares useful technology to help make your day a bit more productive.  The TechnoSav is not necessarily a communications professional but understands your challenges and answers your questions, translating technology into laymans terms.  You may not speak the same language but he/she certainly makes it easier for you to stay on top of the technology trends and feeds you the latest information.  As a result, you can experiment and stay ahead of the curve for your company.

I feel a personal connection to each and every one of my influencers.  More than just reading their blog posts…I’ve had conversations and laughs.  An influencer takes the connection to the next level.  And, as they grow, you grow with them (and vice versa).  Sure the numbers may change…they may increase or even decrease.  But, if you have a special connection the numbers may matter less, and the sharing potential and personal affiliation matter so much more.  Who are your influencers…or is that too much of a personal question to ask?