Yesterday, one of my blog posts focused on the difference between being popular and being influential when it comes to social media. Today, I’m returning to Vocus to highlight their in-depth study on “What Makes an Influencer?” Vocus published its study results last month.

To make the study relevant, Vocus compared two cultural icons: Lady Gaga and Bono, as it considered the difference between being popular and being influential. The way some industry experts see the social media market, Lady Gaga is popular because 6 million people follow her Twitter posts. Bono, on the other hand, is influential.

Here are the ways that the influence of a brand/person can be measured according to the Vocus study results:

  • Quality or focus of the network: 60%
  • Quality of the content: 55%
  • Capacity to create measurable outcomes: 55%
  • Depth of relationship maintained between person/brand and social contacts: 40%

As more C-Level executives become aware of the importance of influence, they indicate a willingness to fund this effort. Vocus research indicates that 57% would pay an influencer to ” drive actions and outcomes”. CEOs and CMOs indicated the most willingness to invest in this effort. In addition, about ½ of the survey group says that influence can be best managed by  creating, posting, or sharing compelling content.

As marketers sort out exactly how they want to approach social media, expect them to find ways to post more engaging content on their sites.

[Source: Senior Execs Willing to Pay for an “Influencer” to Help Drive Results. Vocus.com. 29 Sept. 2010. Web. 19 Oct. 2010]