Social Media Influence

There’s no doubt about it. Thanks to social media, we are more connected than ever. Many interpret this as being more connected to your high school friends or to your family, but it also applies on a much, much larger scale. Everybody is connected to everybody in some form now, be it through an actual friendship or through a distant common hashtag.

Given this, an appropriately-placed hashtag or “@” can connect someone to those previously considered “untouchable”. Many have already taken advantage of this idea. So, why haven’t you?
This is especially prevalent within Twitter, but we also see it taking over Instagram and Facebook. Ordinary people, like you and me, are able to communicate directly with celebrities, authors, musicians, and other public figures. These people, with their millions of followers, have incredible influence within social media. Influence that can be used to our advantage if done properly.

Jimmy Fallon Polar Plunge | Centerlyne Web DesignFor example, Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, used Jimmy Fallon’s influence and fame to promote their Polar Plunge fundraiser for Special Olympics Chicago. The post itself will gain some notoriety given the hashtags used and the @jimmyfallon tag. But even more important is now that Jimmy Fallon has been asked to participate in a charitable event, this post can achieve two possible outcomes: Fallon either needs to reply or go ahead and take the plunge. In either case, the event will gain incredible exposure.

If he replies, he will most likely retweet this tweet or tag @ChicagosMayor in a reply. Regardless of what he chooses, his followers will see either one. Like most fans, they would interact with Fallon, either egging him on to do it, or telling their friends about it. The point is, the original post will spread like wildfire. The main goal, promote the Polar Plunge and raise money for Special Olympics Chicago, will have been achieved.

Now, let’s say he actually takes the plunge. Would celebrity news networks be interested in that? Most likely. Will he mention that he did it on his talk show? I’d be willing to bet on it. In both of these cases, the Chicago Special Olympics will gain incredible exposure either on television, online, or in print. Again, the main goal of the original tweet has been achieved.

What if he ignores it? Well, that would fall back on him. The Special Olympics is such a well known organization that if he were to disregard this invitation, he would most likely lose a large chunk of followers and fans who support the Special Olympics.

Now, I don’t follow either Jimmy Fallon or Rahm Emanuel on Twitter so don’t know what actually happened with this tweet. But the strategy behind it is what interests me. This is a prime example of using another person’s influence to boost your post and presence on social media. At the very least, an influential person’s followers are bound to boost your post if you mention them. Keep in mind, however, that overdoing it can ruin your reputation online. If you are unable to successfully promote your own stuff and keep trying to piggyback on celebrities’ fame to do it for you, your followers will quickly dwindle along with your reputation. Save this stuff only for when what you are promoting is truly important. Don’t tell Beyonce or Barack Obama to attend every small town Farmers’ Market that you try to promote on Twitter. It gets embarrassing after a while.
– Alec England, Columnist, Centerlyne

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