Community Influence – Online and Off

One of the biggest differences between a Social Media Manager and a Community Manager is the offline component of the day to day jobs.  A Community Manager should know how to find their influential members on the usual social media tools, but they should also know how to find their influential members offline.

However, companies should define the term “influential” and what it means to them, because it is a subjective term. Someone who may find Justin Bieber influential may not necessarily find Tony Bennett influential.  Influence both online and off is circumstantial and based on culture.  Neither can be measured effectively & perfectly but there are a few tools out there do a good job at trying.

So where does that leave our dear community managers?  They had a few opinions…


TheCMgr Q1: What is “influence” used for in building community online? Why do we care/not care?

mbhahn Influence is knowledge. Post something believable and you might gain influence

thatgirlmegan Influence marketing has been around for ages- based on popularity by “word of mouth” (these days mostly social)

apdolan  It comes down to “who to trust” or “follow.” Highlights the leaders because they are where you want to look for targeting

Nguyen_Lan When building a community from scratch, one approach is to reach out to influencers in areas related to your brand or company.

DanKlamm  In my mind, influence is closely tied to credibility. It’s tough to build a community without credibility.

Caneri A1: Also good to post articles relevant to community you are building. Make yourself

useful to them and they’ll find you

TheCMgr Q2: Do you believe that off-line influence can actually be measured? What types of metrics could/should be included?

Jmodio  Sure it can be measured. For example, if it drives sales, that’s easily measurable.

apdolan  Offline influence seems material-driven ($, status, power). Makes you rethink the importance of online influence a bit!

VitraSin  think off-line influence can b measured by depth of response, feedback, meetings ppl r willing 2 entertain from u if u asked.

KRSchlater I think it can be measured, it’s just hard to differentiate the two these days. attendance at concerts, speeches, etc

apdolan  If you have a series of in-person events – and there is attendance: you can measure ROI in amount of promotion v. attendance #

corecorina  I think offline IMPACT can be measured; not influence. Impact can be attributed to an action, influenced by X.

JPedde I like how BlogWorld tracks how many people attend a speaker’s session. Shows that speaker’s offline draw/appeal

JPedde  Attendance at offline events/conferences would be a good indicator. Those who volunteer for things as well.

debng  Influence has nothing to do with how you feel. It’s how well you can inspire others to act.

TheCMgr:Q3: How do you source influential community members online & offline? Are communication tactics different?

momnonstop  It depends on where they are influential. Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, Offline, etc.

corecorina  We can identify which users are referring others to us, and the most active social users. Communication depends on channel.

MelWood  Referrals, on and offline conversations, user databases and good old cyberstalking 😉

SethAddisonCox Influence in earned (online and off) by a steady flow of authentic contributions…takes more than tweeting inspiring quotes.

SethAddisonCox The mentality is often backwards. Live out the REMARKABLE, and influence will come. Popularity is overrated.

TheCMgr: Q4: Share some strategies for building your own offline influence among your community?


hugeheadca  Ive found that attending offline events and GTs is very effective. Being there in person repping a brand is a powerful msg.

kellylux Tweetups! A1: @NASA uses them very effectively!

apdolan  Offline events (conferences, meetups, even phone calls) really solidify what’s already est. online. Reinforces in huge way!

Twel5 Take your conversations offline. If I’m in a city with my online peeps, I try to make sure that events or happy hours follow.

DrunkyMonken  Word of mouth at networking events, simple contests, teaser previews that create buzz and hype among users.

Did this post inspire or infuriate you?  Well, look into writing about it here.
This digest was taken from the #cmgrchat comprised of 664 tweets that took place on August 15, 2012.





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About the author

Jenn Pedde

Jenn is a Co-Founder of The Community Manager and the Editor-In-Chief. She’s also an adjunct professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. You can find her almost anywhere online, but specifically on #CmgrChat every Wednesday from 2-3pm ET.


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