Happy Birthday: A New Take on Sphere of Influence

15 Nov

Recently I had a birthday — yes, I’m a Scorpio, which might explain some things for you — and with all those Happy Birthday comments on my Facebook page, I must admit I felt pretty special.

A few weeks prior, a friend celebrated a birthday and posted the number of “Happy Birthday” comments he received. Of course this made me curious about how many comments I might receive. So, as the big day approached I began keeping a tally. I ended with about 75 well wishes for my birthday our of about 400 friends, which is almost 20% of my Facebook friends (Thanks Bill for doing the math – you know numbers aren’t my thing šŸ™‚

As I scrolled through the friends kind enough to take the time to leave a message — I began to see a trend. Many of the names I recognized as individuals that routinely comment on my posts and vice versa. This got me thinking about a Sphere of Influence. So, here’s the question:Ā Ā Can the number of well wishes (like Happy Birthday) indicate your sphere of influence? My answer is yes. Before I tell you my thoughts on the topic, be aware that there are a number of analytics tools available out there to provideĀ some sort of scientific (albeit secretive in most instances) understanding of your sphere of influence on social media.

What’s different about Happy Birthday as a way to understand Your Sphere of Influence? I believe these are the interesting characteristics:

Level of Attention

First, many of the social influence tools out there don’t say much about Facebook. For business pages, the social media juggernaut does have an analytics page, but it does not provide a whole lot of insight into who is interacting with your page. This may or may not be something that is important to you. If it is, then well wishes tell you something more. It tells you not only who is interacting with you or your page, but also gives an idea of their level of attention.

Consider this: When it’s someone’s birthday, a reminder message appears in the right hand sidebar. Let me admit now, every birthday reminder does not move me to actually go to that person’s page and wish them a Happy Birthday. I can’t imagine I’m that outside the norm.

I take this to mean, those that actually take time to wish you well wishes — whether it’s a business acquisition, happy anniversary, happy birthday or the like — gives you a great idea of those that are regularly attending to your message.

Active Contributors

In addition to having an idea of what users are actually paying attention to your messages, the great thing about well wishes is you have an idea of who are your active contributors — and importantly what they are saying. This is a great poll of people to consider tapping for topic ideas, as well as the information and resources that you put out there. The people who know and like your material are likely to already have ideas about what they would like to see more (or less of) so, why not ask.

How to Engage Others

Let’s face it, the economy is in the toilet, the job market stinks, the holidays completely stress us out, and the list of bad news goes on — people like good news. And the opportunity to share in the accomplishments of others is a great break from the ordinary. The more good, positive, and productive news you can provide, the better you can make your readers feel. I’m not suggesting you completely wax over compelling news or information, but consider keeping a healthy balance.

Remember: Happy readers pass along information that they like to others — and for many — growing your following, readership, fan base or following is a good thing.

So, what are your thoughts about social influence? Care or Don’t Care? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.


Posted by on November 15, 2010 in business, Networking, social media


Tags: , , , ,

3 responses to “Happy Birthday: A New Take on Sphere of Influence

  1. Laura Ramirez

    November 16, 2010 at 7:33 am


    Great article. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. Darrah

    November 16, 2010 at 4:42 am

    Erika – I never thought about your sphere of influence on Social Media like that – but you are right! As you know – I had the similar situation just occur and you are right on the nail with this!

    • Erika Pryor

      November 16, 2010 at 6:55 am

      Thanks Darrah. After I thought about who sent me the messages, it all just seemed to click.


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