Vocus and Brian Solis partnered to conducted a survey about "What makes an influencer" and how brands can increase their influence. 50% indicated that that the most important action for increasing influence was to create, post or share compelling content. I posted an article about blogging that pretty fmuch falls in line with this sentiment.
Vocus highlights two main findings from the survey:
Influence is different than popularity but… An overwhelming 90% of respondents see a big difference between, "influence" and "popularity." However, qualitative review of open ended comments on this question shows the distinction is not always clear. A follow on question also adds ambiguity with 84% of respondents saying there is a correlation between “reach” and “influence” on social networks.
Senior execs are willing to pay for influence. 57% of respondents said they would be willing to pay an influencer to help “drive actions and outcomes.” Cross-tab analysis by title, role and organization provided additional insight as to who exactly is willing to pay for influence. For example, a cross-tab analysis by title showed the executive level, such as CEOs and CMOs (63%), were most willing to pay for influence.
"Influence is the subject of some important conversations lately," says Solis. "Each time we surface questions, answers and new thinking that starts to reshape the landscape for how businesses view, define, and embrace influence."
I'd add that conversation is one of the most important elements of content consumption today, influencers spread that conversation to a wider audience. More from the survey here.