This will be easier if you’re in a smaller organisation/community, if you are somewhere with low turnover of people, or if you’ve worked in the same organisation for some time. Yet even in smaller groups, it’s not always clear where the spheres of influence are.
A play on the word ‘clout’, meaning social or political influence, the different types of influencers have been captured in a matrix by KLOUT that could also be useful for offline/real world application in organisations and communities.
Finding the influencers can help you to better disseminate and amplify your messages, and encourage buy-in and involvement.
Let’s look at each quadrant of the Klout matrix in detail:
The top half is plotted along an x axis of sharing-creating (those who disseminate-those who produce content or ideas), and the bottom half is plotted along an x axis of casual-consistent which relates to the frequency of input to the communication that shapes group culture.
The y axis of the left half of the diagram is along participating-listening (those who are involved-those who are tuned in to various interactions) and the y axis of the right half is along broad-focused, in terms of areas of interest or expertise.
To me, there seem to be two distinct groups of types, so I’ve included another code of my own to further identify how each could help the change agent – D (disseminating information) and I (influencing opinion) and allocated them where I think they fit.
Of the following types of influencers plotted in the KLOUT matrix, you may have many, few, one or none of each in your organisation/community.
The Broadcaster (D) – they circulate a lot, about a lot, which is shared a lot. They are likely to have a greater, more diverse reach than those who provide a source of information more focused on their own area(s).
The Curator (D) – they sort through enormous amounts of information, filtering and unearthing the most useful stuff which they share widely. They could be found producing an internal publication, but they may be lurking elsewhere.
The Syndicator (D) – they provide the latest news ‘worth watching’ on a specific topic, or to a specific audience. They are useful if trying to connect with a ‘subculture’ in your organisation.
The Feeder (D) – generate a consistent stream of updates of useful, focused information.
The Celebrity (I) – the pinnacle of influence in terms of referent power, these folks have ‘make or break’ power, so make attempts to connect with them on a personal level and get their buy-in (or at least keep them neutral).
The Tastemaker (I) – the trendsetters and style-makers of any group, they turn heads and attract attention. They have the potential to leverage buy-in from others.
The Thoughtleader (I) – they are on the cutting edge of new ideas, thinking and connections in your organisation’s field. People look to them for insight into current and long-term approaches.
The Pundit (D, I) – they are leaders and do-ers and their opinion is deeply trusted and widely accepted. Look to pundits as champions for your initiative.
The Conversationalist (D) – adept at drawing out information through friendly interactions with others, these folks have ‘the good oil’.
The Dabbler – not highly influential, but although they may not have much organisational clout right now, don’t discount them altogether – they may still be building their capacity.
The Observer – similar to the Dabbler, they are less powerful as influencers, however as silent watchers they may be a good source of intelligence about goings-on.
The Explorer (I) – looking for new ways to do things, new ways to interact, they are the innovators and so by definition, an ally of the change agent.
The Networker (D) – they have good networks and are willing to leverage them to help others, they are effective in disseminating information through, and beyond, your organisation/community.
The Socialiser (D) – the hubs of ‘what’s happening’, they are able to connect to people on a personal, social level – which can often carry more weight than working through a purely professional connection. Who do people gather around at get-togethers, morning teas or after work drinks?
The Activist (D, I) – your advocates. If you can get them on board, they will be committed in their support for your initiative. However be aware that others may find these people over-exuberant or irritatingly earnest. Choose the support of an activist wisely, else your ‘activist’ becomes someone else’s ‘eco-nazi’.
There are a variety of potential influencers around you who can help support your initiatives. If you are unsure of who they are, you could ask others you trust for help. There may even be influencers around you who fulfil one or more of the above types.
What would you find if you took the KLOUT matrix and mapped who they are in your organisation or community? Give it a go!
You don’t have to be ‘big’ to create an impact – you just need the right amplifiers.