What is social influence, and what can it mean for your brand?

Within the marketing industry, social influencers have traditionally been defined by two main factors: their reach on any given social media network, and their corresponding relevance on that network. Although these factors are important criteria to measure how effective any person can spread their given influence to drive a brand’s business objectives, they’re not the end-all be-all for an influencer strategy.

At the end of the day, it comes down to a third R to tie it all together: resonance, the ability of a person to connect with someone on social media to the extent that they can drive a purchase or action from them.



An influencer’s resonance is largely related to their engaged reach-the percentage of their social media following that actually resonate with the influencers posts, i.e. engage with the material- and often entirely unrelated to their full reach. In fact, what often happens with mega-influencers is that they have a massive reach, but their resonance with this following is incredibly limited, so the amount of actions they actually drive from their followers is insubstantial compared to the total audience size.

In contrast, a micro-influencer might only have a social media following of seven hundred people, but he or she may resonate with fifty percent of them. Therefore, an army of micro-influencers would likely have a higher conversion driving potential than a single mega-influencer would. 

Social influencers of any size need to have the sweet spot of each of the three R’s in order to be effective: reach, relevance, and resonance with their followers. Mega-influencers have recently taken a hit for this very reason: despite their massive audience size and apparent relevance on social media, they often don’t possess the resonance with followers to carry them through to an objective.

But micro-influencers are defined by the quality of their resonance, and their ability to convert friends and followers around brand objectives. Because of this, micro-influencers carry an ROI that other influencers cannot- for every one micro-influencer activated, three friends convert to a brand’s objective on average.

Not all social influencers are equal. To learn more about what the top marketers (director-level or higher) are doing for their influencer strategies, check out our latest eBook, “The State of Influencer Marketing.”
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2016 but has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in January 2018.