Return on influence

At last week’s D: All Things Digital conference, a big piece of news was a significant cash infusion from Digital Sky Technologies to Facebook:...

At last week’s D: All Things Digital conference, a big piece of news was a significant cash infusion from Digital Sky Technologies to Facebook: $200 million. Even in a down market, investors are flocking to Facebook.

But it makes sense; Facebook has over 200 million users, dominates its market, and sets today’s standard for social networking – people are hooked.

But, given that they haven’t even turned their first buck yet, why invest in Facebook? Because, most simply, it’s a powerful influence platform.

Facebook has created a convenient way to build and nurture personal connections, coupled with a measureable digital footprint. Because of this, we can now measure content resonance, engagement, and reach. These indicators “dimensionalize” the interconnectedness of content, audience, and the distribution mechanism. These digital, social tools give us insight into how, where, what, and with whom these nodes of influence connect and drive behavior. We can actually measure our return on influence.

Merriam-Webster defines influence as the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command. Today, most influence channels are always on, direct, audience-centric, audience-driven platforms that touch many parts of most people’s lives.

Influence isn’t about having the best “thing.” It’s about reaching the right people, with an engagement that delivers value, offering your audience a meaningful connection to your brand. Having great content isn’t enough if you don’t have, don’t know, or don’t understand the audience(s) you want to reach and how they want to engage with you.

True influence is the art of communications in action. It requires a deep understanding of nuance, building authentic relationships, and commitment to trust. The great news is, we can take those skills and now measure the impact unlike ever before. That’s my kind of investment!

Jen Houston, SVP, global lead, WE Studio D, Waggener Edstrom

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