I’ve been a direct marketer for 20 years. As a direct mail specialist who has literally helped organizations like the Disabled American Veterans raise almost 3 BILLION DOLLARS, $5.00 at a time – well I think it’s fair to assume I know that space. (And have a bit of an ego to go with it, which I can live with – because I’ve earned it.)
But I can honestly say, while always appreciative of other people’s insights, I’m rarely impressed to the point of dropping to my knees, bowing repeatedly as I say, “I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy”.
If I find myself in that wonderful and incredible state of mind it’s usually because of people like my friends Jonathan Fields, Jay Baer, Eric Graham, Sean Platt and Mari Smith who blow me away on a regular basis (I’ve come to expect it and look forward to it).
But today, with his article on influence at his popular blog, TheBrandBuilder, Olivier Blanchard just swung for the fences and the ball went to the moon. I’m at loss for words (which is rare) as how to even introduce it.
As I’ve over simplified with my quote “Popularity is sanity, sales are vanity. It’s up to you to decide how crazy you can afford to be”, Olivier Blanchard has just it laid out like a Harvard professor, spiced up with a George Lucas Star Wars spin, with insights few people can find the time to share in such a dynamically visual way.
If you remotely care about being influential one day, or connecting with influencers in your space, please don’t hesitate and check out this post TODAY (warning it’s NOT a light read, but it’s worth it)…
Until tools like Klout, PeerIndex and even Twitalizer take into account both sides of the influence mechanism, they won’t be measuring influence. Not really. And neither will you. Don’t be fooled by the promise of simplicity and magical measurement: Understand what influence is and isn’t. Lean what measurement tools can and cannot do. Don’t hesitate to ask difficult questions and go look for answers where no one has thought to before. Don’t fall for hot new marketing religions without first understanding what is myth and what is real. Learn to use tools like Klout like they were meant to be used: Cleverly.
And most important of all, be patient. Social media platforms and the tools that allow you to measure activity and influence there are in their infancy. Digital insights tools will get better over time. Just like it takes years to turn a padawan into a Jedi, the degree of functionality we would like to have at our fingertips won’t happen overnight. In this as with all things, patient you must be.