What is influence, exactly? And what does having influence mean in today’s world? According to Merriam-Webster, influence is:
The power to change or affect someone or something, or the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen.
There is influence on a personal level, as well as influence from a business perspective. We all influence someone in one way or another, and I’ve been exploring the concept over the past year and how it dovetails with the digital age we find ourselves in today. The result is a newly published book, The Age of Influence: Selling to the Digitally Connected Consumer, which is now available in digital and print versions via Amazon.
No doubt about it, the digital age has expanded every person’s ability to have an influence on others, and that’s having an effect around the globe. Advances in mobile technology (and technology in general) have connected everyone on the planet with wider and wider audiences. You no longer have to be a big corporation with deep pockets, or a media star or a politician with a megaphone to be an influencer.
Every person who’s connected to the internet and social platforms or has a smart-phone has a bigger sphere of influence than they’re probably even aware of. A stay-at-home parent can start a blog about parenting and grow an audience that’s much wider than just their friends and family. Individuals can have an effect on people they’ve never met, and on a scale never dreamed of just a decade ago. Our “connectedness” gives us that power. It makes each of us an instrument of influence.
This book explores that power, and how businesses can utilize it by helping their employees build personal influence, and by working with outside influencers and customers to reach their ever-widening circle of connections. It delves into personal influence, and how things have changed over generations. It also explores brand advocacy, influencer marketing and content, and addresses the struggles businesses are having with wielding influence effectively.
As with all of my books, this one was definitely a collaborative effort. Inspiration has come from my Daughters, Danielle and Nicole, who are the light of my life, as well as my friend and business soul-mate, John Andrews, who’s constant support, encouragement and insight are invaluable. Many people have helped with this endeavor, including Hanna Erlandsson, my content syndication alter-ego; Bruce Dearden, a 40+ year friend; my college roommate; my buddies Michael Ohlstein and Joe Soto who keep me sane; my childhood friend Tracey Sutton, who never forgets me; and my indispensable editor, Apryl Parcher, without whom my books would not exist. Relationships are the glue that bind us together, and I cherish each and every one of them! P.S. And a shout out to Bryan Eisenberg for his inspiration with the subtitle.
Who would benefit from reading this book? I wrote The Age of Influence for everyone: parents, employees, small-business owners, executives (and yes, even politicians). Why? because each of us has the power to build and maintain personal and business influence with a growing audience, and to do it effectively, we need some perspective. It helps to understand what works (and what doesn’t), so I’ve included a chapter on what businesses are doing wrong as well as one on who’s doing it right—and some key takeaways I hope you’ll find useful.
Give it a read and let me know what you think! And welcome to the “Age of Influence,” where anyone can build an audience and effect change, advocate brands, build relationships and make a difference.