I’ve been thinking a lot about influence and the currency it has in our culture.
As defined by Webster, influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself. Share of Influence is the social metric, a combination of who is doing the talking, about you, and in what way and then what the influencer can cause people to do. It’s not as clear cut as it sounds though, and most solo entrepreneurs don’t spend a ton of time trying to track the measurements. They just want the status.
When it comes to social media, a lot of the value is given—not surprisingly in this culture—to the vanity metrics, the numbers. Seventy-thousand followers definitely sounds sexy but how engaged are they really? What is their sentiment, your reach? How many have been convert into subscribers? How much did you have to pay in ad dollars to make that happen?
What if you had a handful of fans, and one of those fans was really dedicated. What if they went on to be president, citing your work as an influence? What if you had a handful of fans, and just seeing you represented, gave some another woman permission to be herself? What if the daughter of that woman, witnessing her mother stand in her value, went on to discover a cure for Alzheimer’s? What if? You might never see or know that follower, but isn’t the currency you spent in her life valuable?
When you commit to being a leader, you commit to being an influence but it’s about more than metrics, it’s about meaning. Meaning is intangible and subjective and it may not be felt immediately. Meaning is a currency spent over time, one that leaders invest regardless of whether or not they seem an immediate return.
Leaders are in it for the long haul. What about you?