It’s a common theme with me and my #SMXChat partner Ehsan that while technology and social networking present great opportunities for marketers, they also carry risk – that of diluting our human element through the anonymity of social media and the pursuit of grandeur.

And those of you who know me, i.e., follow me on Twitter, pretty much know that I am a skeptic regarding the ubiquity of social networking in our lives. And dare I assign words to him, Ehsan might agree with a statement like: Anyway way you slice it, social media marketing comes down to understanding human nature. He says it quite well in this passage from 2014 on LinkedIn Pulse:

“As soon as you start talking about influencers and influencing, you immediately put many people off by undermining their intelligence and abilities… no one has the power to influence anyone; but everyone has the ability to earn trust. This is achievable through creating communities and be(ing) part of communities. Therefore, there is no such thing as influencer marketing; since everyone is influential in one way or another.”

This weeks’ #SMXChat discussion will explore our community’s feelings and thoughts on the topic of influence in social media marketing.

Q1) We often speak of social media having a democratizing effect. How does ‘influencer’ status fit with this philosophy?

Q2) How can individual social influence translate to value for a brand?

Q3) What’s the distinction between ‘influencer’ and paid endorser?

Q4) Should ‘influencers’ being courted and compensated by brands be transparent about that relationship?

Q5) Don’t the majority of social media ‘influencers’ have agendas that are contrary to endorsing brands?

Q6) Which would you prefer: one ‘influencer’ with 20000 followers or 100 fans with 200 followers each?

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