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Influencer or Influential: Which Would You Rather Be?

Recently I learned, via Linkedin, that hertelier’s Emily Goldfischer and I were both named among the Top 100 Most Influential People in USA Hospitality & Travel by the International Hospitality Institute. An honor to be sure, and interesting timing, given that I have been thinking about doing a column that explores the difference between being influential, and being an “influencer,” a term that has made me cringe ever since it became a thing. Maybe it’s because “influencer” makes me think of “influenza” --both being decidedly viral in nature!

And yet, I find nothing cringeworthy about my esteemed colleague, Emily, also being named by IHI among the Top 10 Social Media Influencers in Hospitality for 2023. So, what better time than now to Unpack the difference, for myself as well as for you. No surprise that I am not the first person to explore this topic.

influential vs influencer

“In today’s digital age, the terms “influencer” and “influential” are often used interchangeably, but they actually carry distinct meanings,” from a post on SocialStar titled, Influencer Vs Influential: Get The Main Difference In 2023 "While an influencer is someone with a large following on social media platforms, an influential person goes beyond numbers and has the power to effect meaningful change in society.” They even provide an interesting comparison chart, so rather than reinvent the wheel…

hertelier influencer vs influential
credit: socialstar

All this got me thinking about the qualities that actually make someone influential, and while there are many takes on the subject, I especially found 15 Traits That Set Influential People Apart, by Deep Patel for Entrepreneur relatable:

nancy mendelson hertelier

1. They act deliberately.

2. They speak thoughtfully and listen.

3. They take action.

4. They're always learning.

5. They have integrity.

6. They connect.

7. They're focused on what really matters.

8. They have high expectations for themselves and others.

9. They understand themselves.

10. They focus on their strengths but understand their weaknesses.

11. They make themselves indispensable.

12. They value others.

13. They're constantly analyzing.

14. They make sure others have a voice.

15. They inspire.

Whether you influence others by example or set out to consciously be influential…we owe it to each other to use it wisely!


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