Brian Solis Partners with Vocus to Determine What Makes an Influencer

Solis and Vocus publish survey results: 90% of business leaders and marketing professionals believe there’s a difference between popularity and influence

Author Brian Solis and Vocus partnered to answer one of the most compelling questions in business today: What Makes an Influencer? The team surveyed 700 business leaders, entrepreneurs, and marketing professionals on influence and published the findings in a report titled, “Influencer grudge match: Lady Gaga versus Bono.”

Why Lady Gaga and Bono? That reference stems from a survey question asking if there is a difference between influence and popularity. More than 90% of respondents believe that there is a difference and one respondent wrote, “Lady Gaga is popular, Bono is influential.”

“Influence is the subject of some of important conversations lately,” said Solis. Defining influence is just the beginning. Understanding perception and expectations around influence and influencers helps us identify where we need to focus time on education and innovation.”

A sample of the survey results include:

  • Senior executives are willing to pay for influence: 57% of respondents said they are willing to pay an influencer to help drive actions and outcomes.
  • The top contributing factors that make a person or brand influential include the “quality or focus of the network” (60%), the “quality of content” (55%), the “capacity to create measurable outcomes” (55%), and the “depth of relationship” a person or brand has with social contacts (40%).
  • 50% of respondents said that the single most important action a person or brand can take to most increase their influence online was to “create, post or share compelling content.”
  • When panelists were asked to create their own definition of influence in 140 characters or less, the top words were “ability,” “action,” or “people.”
  • The results of the survey were presented to a Webinar audience on September 23, 2010, and the report was officially released on September 29. A copy of the complete report is available for downloaded here: .

    About Brian Solis
    Brian Solis is globally recognized as one of most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has influenced the effects of emerging media on the convergence of marketing, communications, and publishing. He is principal of FutureWorks, an award-winning New Media agency in Silicon Valley, and has led interactive and social programs for Fortune 500 companies, notable celebrities, and Web 2.0 startups.

    Solis actively contributes his thoughts and experiences through keynote speaking appearances, books, articles and essays as a way of helping the marketing industry understand and embrace the new dynamics fueling new communications, marketing, and content creation. His blog,, is among the top 1.5% of all blogs tracked by Technorati and is ranked as one of the leading voices in the Ad Age Power 150 index of worldwide marketing bloggers. Solis also runs and contributes to TechCrunch, BrandWeek, and WebProNews.

    Solis’ latest book is Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web, published by John Wiley & Sons. Previous books include Now is Gone with Geoff Livingston and Putting the Public Back in Public Relations: How Social Media is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR.

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