What Succession Can Teach Us About Audience vs. Influence
June 20, 2023
Updated Feb 09, 2024
This piece was written for our Insights newsletter, featuring Founder & CEO James Nord's thoughts on what's happening the influencer marketing industry. Subscribe to Insights here.
I cannot remember the last time I've been as excited for a season of television as I was for this final season of Succession. It was a perfect show that ended as perfectly as it could have been and an artistic achievement rarely seen on television.
This had people understandably asking,why are so many people talking about Succession and not Yellowstone or Young Sheldon, shows that have multiple times the viewership numbers? There were 1,000s of articles written about the Succession finale and only 56 for Young Sheldon.
Why? I don't have the answer to that question. Some have guessed it's the media's self-obsession. I think more likely it's just an incredible show, beautifully written, soulfully acted, and artfully shot. Without a true "why," we can still learn a lesson.
There is a difference between audience and influence, and having an audience doesn't mean you influence them. We don't need to know why Succession is more influential than shows with multiple times its viewership, but we shouldn't ignore it.
In selecting your influencer partners, you should be asking yourself, does this person have an audience, or do they have influence?
There are a number of ways to spot someone with "influence" over an audience. Here are some cheat codes:
Influencers on Fohr can ask their audience to leave them testimonials. These are among the greatest secrets we and our clients have (someone on the platform has 56,000).
Speaking to camera
Influence is often about relationships, and influencers who speak to the camera often forge deeper relationships with their audiences. This is also why YouTube and TikTok creators often have more devoted engaged audiences. Speaking to the camera makes you feel you have more of a relationship.
Community in captions
Are audience members asking the creator questions? Is the influencer engaging in the comments? Do the comments have conversations happening inside of them? There is a difference between meaningful conversations happening and 30 people leaving heart eyes.
Look at me, or look at this
Some content is focused solely on the creator as a way to show off their life – they are traveling to exotic places and wearing expensive things. They aren’t thinking about their audience much when posting. Then, there’s content produced in service of an audience. They might be traveling to the same place, wearing the same things, but the content is rooted in a way that will help their audience. An example would be documenting your trip to St. Barts vs. putting together a travel guide afterward.
Ability to move audiences to a non-feed destination
It's one thing to get an audience to follow you on Instagram or TikTok. It's an entirely different thing to be able to get them to follow you over to a destination outside of a social feed. Creators who can take their social followers over to be podcast subscribers, substack subscribers, visit a blog or join a community on platforms like Geneva are indicators of influence vs. just audience.