What Is Influence? Influence is what gets people to act. Whether it’s a recommendation from a friend, a powerful advertisement, or a newspaper article, influence drives people to do something – for better or for worse. For influencers, the power to drive people means that they are looked to as early adopters and trendsetters. For marketers, being able to identify influencers and court them means that they can create brand ambassadors for their product. And for those who wish to see change in the world, the influencers are what drives it, influencing their friends and social circles to take action and do what is necessary to complete their missions. Benefits of Influence Being able to influence others is a heady thing, and being able to work with influencers can create the change needed in the world – a revolution that begins with just a few influential people. Social influencers change the way people think and act. They are able to tap into emotion and logic to get results. They use creativity, leadership, and storytelling to inspire those around them. How Do You Harness Influence? Influencers are all around us. From the blogger snagging thousands of hits per day on her blog to the grandmother chatting in her sewing circle and the little boy showing off his new Lego set, everyone has the potential to influence. These are the consumers, hobbyists, parents, and friends who discuss what matters to them – everything from carpeting to politics. Rosa Parks, a social influencer, had something that no other protester of her time had, and that allowed her to influence an entire movement. If the influencers like what they see and become passionate about it, they in turn influence their social circles. Now, more than ever, influence can go both ways—in favor of and against—with a few mouse clicks across Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. For marketers, that means courting the influencers with product samples and creative methods of engagement. For the influencers, that means knowing you can make a change in the world, whether it’s starting a revolution or introducing your friends to a new exercise. Click here to purchase Ja-Nae Duané’s book, “How to Create a Revolution: A Step-by-Step Guide from History’s Social Influencers” and learn more about social influence. Click here to learn more about Ja-Nae Duané. Graphic by Ronnie Fieg.