The Difference Between Control and Influence

by Nicholas Scalice on February 19, 2012

The Difference Between Control and Influence

Many folks who are new to social media marketing tend to think that having control over their social content is key. Well, guess what? You’ll never have control. Those who engage with you will.

What you can do instead is have some significant degree of influence over the conversation that is already happening online. It that sense, while you won’t be able to control the message, you’ll at least be able to steer what is being said about you or your brand in a positive direction.

Having control over the conversation is a thing of the past. You are no longer the sole gatekeeper to your brand’s reputation. The social web has allowed your customers, clients, friends, fans, followers and competitors to say what they want about you, your brand and what you offer. In the corporate boardroom, I can just imagine how this thought does not go over well with most c-level executives.

Marketing  in the days of past was largely about controlling your message. It was about convincing your audience to react in a certain way. In this sense, it was a very unauthentic one-way communications method.

Fast forward to today and you’ll see that marketing is a two-way street now. Often, it is more important to listen to what other folks are saying about your brand than to simply keep churning out content. As I’ve always said, good brands listen, but great brands listen and respond.

So, what does this have to do with control and influence? It’s simple; don’t try to control the general conversation about your brand. Instead, be authentic and give folks a reason to say good things instead of bad or neutral things about you.

It’ll take some time, but if you’re giving your fans a reason to praise you, they’ll often do it. That’s what Gary Vaynerchuk was talking about when he mentions “The Thank You Economy.” You just have to prove to your customers that you care about them more than anyone else. In that sense, you’ll gain influence and these days influence is a lot more powerful than control.

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Nicholas Scalice

Founder at FastBlink
A native of Boca Raton, Florida, Nicholas founded FastBlink in 2009. He has a diverse background in direct sales, affiliate marketing, domain name investing and content marketing.

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