pop·u·lar·i·ty ˌpäpyəˈlerədē noun1. the state or condition of being liked, admired, or supported by many people.
in·flu·ence ˈinflo͝oəns/ noun1. the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.
What is the real difference and does it matter? If you are popular aren’t you already influential? Not always. The same holds true with the reverse, you could be influential without being popular. It boils down to changing people’s lives. Do you have the ability to affect real change? If so then you are influential. The tough part is that popularity is easy to gauge, likes, retweets, shares, conversations, but influence is hard to see. My best advice is to have something important to say and say it loud. Don’t back down from your position if it is the right one. You may be surprised who you influence and why.