Editor's Note: The Age of Influence(rs)

Aug. 9, 2023
If you don’t think you are an influencer, chances are you’re connected to one

This article originally appeared in the August 2023 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, don’t forget to mention Security Business magazine on LinkedIn and @SecBusinessMag on Twitter.

The executive management team here at our publishing company has a recent but interesting best practice of “coffee with X” sessions. I am sure they are not the creator of such events, but in a large company, I highly recommend them. They are simply an open forum for 5 of 6 of your colleagues to join with an executive to chat in a less-formal setting.

Not only has this given me a chance to meet colleagues who may work in other offices or in different departments (also with whom I would never interact), it is also a chance to delicately air grievances I might have with certain blanket corporate policies – but more importantly, a chance to talk about and get varying perspectives on trends in our industry.

I just did a “coffee with” session with our Executive VP, so it is fresh in my mind, and the trendy topic was the role of the “influencer.”

Now it might be just me, but the term “influencer” has become polysemous. Stumped ya! It means that it has a lot of definitions. I tend to think of “influencers” these days as many do – in the terms of social media, specifically in the A/V mediums provided by YouTube, TikTok and podcasts. To me, it has a negative connotation, probably because I have no desire to be “an internet personality.”

I told the group that I don’t think of myself as an influencer. I am a gatherer of information and I pass it along to you in various formats. After others began to chime in, it got me to thinking: Wait a minute, am I an influencer after all?

So here I am, looking up how others define a term that can only be described as polysemous.

According to Werner Geyser, founder of the Influencer Marketing Hub (influencermarketinghub.com), “an influencer is someone who has a following in a distinct niche, with whom he or she actively engages. The size of the following depends on the size of his/her topic of the niche. This person has the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his or her audience.”

So, I was right! I’m no influencer, because while I certainly check the first box, I really don’t think I check the second one.

But wait: “Influencers in social media are people who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. They make regular posts about that topic on their preferred social media channels and generate large followings,” Geyser writes. “Micro-influencers are ordinary, everyday people who have become known for their knowledge about some specialist niche. As such, they have usually gained a sizable social media following amongst devotees of that niche.”

These damn polysemous words…I still don’t know for sure, but I have an inkling that I might just be an influencer.

Geyser continues in the post: “The nature of influence is changing. Micro-influencers are becoming more common and more famous. Some have risen from virtual obscurity to being nearly as well-known as traditional celebrities.”

Bringing it Home for Security Executives

Why is this important to you as a security company executive? Because your social media following can be more important than you think.

As a busy executive, your LinkedIn profile may be super dusty, and you may never login anymore. But even if you don’t buy into the social media trend and don’t wish to be an influencer, it is time to take a hard look at your follower list. There are plenty of micro-influencers in the security industry, and if you aren’t one, I bet you are friends with one who just might be a happy customer as well.

Thankfully, that person is clearly defined: A potential influencer for your business. 

Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of Security Business magazine. Email him your comments and questions at [email protected]. Access the current issue, full archives and apply for a free subscription at www.securitybusinessmag.com. 

About the Author

Paul Rothman | Editor-in-Chief/Security Business

Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of Security Business magazine. Email him your comments and questions at [email protected]. Access the current issue, full archives and apply for a free subscription at www.securitybusinessmag.com.