In the world of online marketing, social media influence has become its own currency. I carries with it a value that can be used as capital. Brands and businesses seek out social media influence for its use in brand exposure, in advertising, marketing, and public relations. There are many brands that are using resources to run blogger outreach programs and they are looking for those with Klout, their Kred and any other measuring stick used to mark their social media influence value on a score or a chart.
Social media influence is powered by trust. Many influencers are only as powerful or influential as the trust they have earned from their social media network. In order to unlock that network and leverage the trust, you must first establish a relationship with that influencer. They have to feel comfortable to allow you into their realm. Much like introducing your date to your family for the first time, you have to gain the trust of that relationship. Once the relationship is established you will be allowed into their locked group, their network, their family.
The ultimate problem is once the relationship is established and once you have been introduced, the next step is obvious, you want to sell your wares. You have invested by establishing the relationship. The issue is that once you make the pitch to the network, the relationship trust meter is drained of its power to some extent. You have leveraged their trust. From the opposite side of the coin, you have let them in, they have made their pitch, but now you have drained off some of the trust from your network. Can you gain that trust back? Are you now labeled as a sellout?
This is the dance that the triangle must dance. You have the seller wanting into the locked network, the network that has been identified as the consumer and now pitched, and the social influencer now chasing the influence check. Hopefully, they all have heard the music, loved the dance number and the group has been involved with a win-win-win. Can the dance be established again? Chances are if your trust was real, when it is used in these circumstances if can be and will always be available again. The best way to keep the trust is authenticity and transparency. if you have established true trust, that is something that will be understood by your network.
Leverage is a bad word and is derogatory when used with trust. The two terms together are like an oxymoron. Trust isn’t something that you can buy, sell or trade. Social influence follows along in that vein too. Influence is a currency. You can use it and earn it, but you can’t leverage your influence.