It’s true that the word “influencers” has different connotations depending on its context, and some people mistakenly believe the term refers only to the “social elite.” But this semantic point misses a much larger issue: Certain people in everyday life definitely have more influence than others, based on their interests, social networks and behavior.
Moreover, these individuals are sought out by their friends and are predisposed to spread the word about things they like. (Research has shown that about 15% of individuals are “Conversation Catalysts,” who are more than twice as likely to participate in word of mouth as the average person.) As Ch communicators, we need a better understanding of who these people are and how their “conversations” are affecting the way others think, feel and act about the Good News.
We need to identify and find ways to leverage those individuals who are more likely to give advice and have large social networks, i.e., the influencers.
APPLICATION: Who are the influencers in your network of yet to believe individuals? There have been many books written about “innovators” and “early adopters” (Diffusions of Innovations by Ev Rogers), as well as those books by Malcolm Gladwell – BLINK and THE TIPPING POINT and Seth Godin in The Power of telling authentic Stories. The question is, how can we harness these understandings of how people think and make decisions? You may think these concepts are just for the western audience, but this is not true as researchers are finding that non-western people make decisions in similar ways.