Vocus and Brian Solis partnered for a study titled “Influencer Grudge Match: Lady Gaga versus Bono!,” which sought to find the difference between popularity and influence, and how to build online influence. The white paper resulting from the research says 57 percent of respondents would “pay an influencer to help ‘drive actions and outcomes.’” At the executive level, like CEO or CMO, the stat goes up to 63 percent.
According to the press release announcing the research, more than 90 percent of respondents said there was a difference with one respondent answering “Lady Gaga is popular, Bono is influential.” Between August 25 and September 10, 739 people from around the world were surveyed for their thoughts.
“Influence drives, motivates, is steadfast, and causes people to take action, while popularity is hip, perhaps amusing and wanes easily amid a fickle audience,” reads the white paper.
Brian Solis includes a definition of influence in his blog post about the research findings. “Influence is the ability to cause desirable and measurable actions and outcomes.”
Respondents to the survey were a little more ambiguous about the difference between influence and popularity, but the white paper does identify some qualities that increase online influence, including “engage in dialogue, listen, and respond” and “create original and compelling content as an expert.”
What are your thoughts on the difference between influence and popularity? The comments are open.