Hitting the Right Notes
Online influence can be classified into two primary types; the individual influence of mavens, salespeople and connectors who achieve visibility and credibility within social media networks, and the shared influence that comes from being part of a networked response to a common problem. There is no symphony without the conductor, the orchestra, and the sheet-music.
Any community engagement strategy organized around harnessing or leveraging online influence must be clear about the type of influence involved; is it the borrowed or extended credibility of a few influential individuals (the conductors), or is it a credibility (or infamy) earned through the ongoing interactions with large numbers of individuals in a public environment (the players)? The methods for harnessing influence are different for each type, and it is a mistake to set out to achieve one when circumstances call for the other.
As with any strategy, in engaging online influencers, an understanding of the environment and a clear projection of the desired outcome (the music) are critical. There is no point in influencing conductors who are directing a different band from the one playing your tune, or in trying to use a conductor to direct the sounds coming from a free-form jazz group. If you want to change the tune, sometimes you have to learn how to play.
This is a condensed summary of the previous post on influence.