In social media, influencers outshine popularity

LANHAM, MD: In the noisy and traffic-riddled world of social media, there is a difference between being popular and being an influencer.

LANHAM, MD:  In the noisy and traffic-riddled world of social media, there is a difference between being popular and being an influencer.

According to a survey by PR software company Vocus, 90% of respondents said there is a big difference between popularity and influence, but 84% acknowledged there's a correlation between reach and influence on social networks.

For example, movie celebrity Ashton Kutcher may have over 5 million Twitter followers, but that doesn't necessarily make him a valuable PR influencer.

Vocus teamed up with digital and social media PR shop Futureworks founder Brian Solis and surveyed 739 people, including PR pros, marketers, SEO professionals, CEOs and CMOs. Of the respondents, 30% are executive level.

Sixty percent said it's the quality and focus of the network, and 55% said it's the quality of the content being created, which also leads to measurable outcomes.  Fifty percent said the single-best thing a person or brand can do to become an influencer is create, post and share compelling content.

In other words, a person can be popular, but if their social network is impersonal and lacking depth, and they don't create or share juicy content, chances are they're not an influencer.

Also, 57% of respondents said a person with only a handful of friends or followers who is tightly connected with those individuals has a more measurable effect on social media strategy outcomes.

More than half of respondents (57%) said they would be willing to pay an influencer to drive outcomes, 63% of whom are executive level decision makers, including CMOs and CEOs.

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