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Death of Influence with a capital I

Google for all their genius are doomed. At least their dominance of being ‘The’ Internet for the last 10+ years.  Facebook Like and Twitter Anywhere will soon take that mantle as the domino effect of sites rushing to plug into the social universe means you are connected to your peers wherever you go and whatever you do. And rightly so. But what does everyone recommending content, stories, products and brands mean to those whose business it is to influence consumer thought.

The fixation of marketers in social media, as with traditional broadcast media, has been Influence. Influence measured in big numbers made up of 1st person Followers, Fans, Friends. Who can give me the biggest single sphere of influence as quickly as possible? A continuum of a mass-media approach.

Currently not everyone writes a blog or makes recommendations. It’s the reserve of a small percentage of the Internet population. But that’s not a true reflection of general human behaviour. In person we all have opinions and freely make recommendations. It’s commonly accepted as the number one deciding factor in all purchase decision making. It has been technical adoption barriers that have distorted who controls opinion online. Yes everyone could blog but they didn’t.

It’s fair to say almost everyone, at least in the Western world, now uses Facebook and a Like is fairly simple thing to do without too much demand on the user. Besides publishing to friends is far less intimidating than directly publishing to the whole world. So now everyone will be busy influencing with far greater levels of trust than ever before. With Google marketers sought to control influence with SEO. Social media;  blogger outreach and SMO. But Facebook Connect / Like heralds a big shift away from something that can be controlled and manipulated. This micro-influence will drown out anything mass and with it goes Influence with a capital I.

Instead the only way you can now possibly control influence is getting everyone on side. You will simply have to be the best. Now I know we can’t all make the best product for everyone but we can be the best business, with the best CSR, the best customer service, the best ethically led purpose, the best for a focused few. But fear not the 99% of you who are now panicking that your company may go bust knowing full well that right now you are none of the above. You now have the whole Internet declaring if they Like you and one would assume eventually ‘Disliking’ you. There also doing this for all your competitors too so its a fair game. This is market research nirvana that could allow you to be the best at least for one of the above. By listening and engaging with both camps you can work with the crowd to be better at something for someone.