Book Review of Mark Schaefer’s Return on Influence

In his book, Return on Influence: The Revolutionary Power of Klout, Social Scoring, and Influence Marketing, Mark Schaefer demonstrates the changes happening in business and marketing due to the growing concept of social influence. He also shows you how you can increase and take advantage of your personal online influence score.

In the first chapter, “The Rise of the Citizen Influencer,” Schaefer discusses how it’s not only the celebrity that has the power of influence anymore. You don’t have to be a famous actor, singer, or athlete to receive celebrity treatment from businesses these days; all you need is social influence. This social influence is measured by rating systems (like Klout) that use complex algorithms to measure your online influence and give you a score based on these measurements.

“An advertising image may be fleeting and ignored. A television commercial is viewed with suspicion. But a Citizen Influencer like my friend can have a long-lasting influence in his or her sphere of connection and engagement with just two sentences of original content.”

The fact is that people are trusting ads less and less. People are much more likely to look to the opinions of their friends, peers, or other social influencers before buying a product or service. Schaefer highlights through real-world examples how word-of-mouth communication—such as opinions and reviews from those well-trusted peers, friends, or social influencers—has become such a powerful form of persuasion. As social media has enabled anyone to publish information and reviews that are easily searchable and permanent, it has become crucial for marketers to listen to, understand, and join in on these conversations in today’s digital era.

Schaefer illustrates how instead of just investing millions of dollars on celebrity endorsers, commercials, and other forms of mass communication, companies can now utilize the huge power of online social influencers. Successful companies are now identifying top influencers on social media and targeting these people with enticing incentives in hopes that they will spread positive word of mouth about their brand or product. Identifying and targeting these key influencers is becoming of utmost importance to businesses today and is becoming a powerful form of marketing.

This book really demonstrates all you need to know about the power of social influencers today and how you can take advantage of this power. In Schaefer’s words, this book “will shift the way you think about your personal power, the ability to leverage the power of others, and the importance of the new class of Citizen Influencers to the world of marketing and advertising.” It is definitely worth reading.


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