The very notion of “agency” is becoming a footnote in today’s technologically reshaped marketplace and media. And it is within this environment that the bold, if not always adored, Katharine Weymouth, publisher of The Washington Post, has decided to act as others sit idly. Ms. Weymouth and others at WaPo decided to host sponsored “salons,” bringing together reporters, lobbyists and corporations for quiet conversation and, one assumes, a deeper understanding of each other’s interests. Call it influence if you must. It is, after all, only new to discuss this type of paid access, not to grant it. Denying such is as charming and annoying as newsprint itself.
As your role grows in scale and influence, so too must your ability to listen. But listening is one of the toughest skills to master — and requires uncovering deeper barriers within oneself.
“Design does matter. And not necessarily in a way that people realize.” - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
If you could promote change and function in a socially responsible way without sacrificing revenue and innovation, wouldn’t you?
No amount of advertising, tweeting or direct mailing can impact customers the way an objective peer review can. That’s because in the era of social media and online reviews, it’s not what you say about your business that matters; it’s what others say about you.
Does a negative post on Twitter have infectious germs powerful enough to influence the behavior of tweeters? Maybe. Then again, maybe not.
There are many people who have gifts for selecting the best items, and helping you buy wisely. This has always been a hot trend. Reviews have an impact on buying behaviors. Aside from trying to game or buy reviews, which I don't recommend, how can you find what really affects behavior? Social influences is part of that. Which is why tools that allow people to display what they read, listen to, and buy are making such strong inroads. For example, my boards on Pinterest are a mix of things I have done, and things I might like to do.
Influence is bliss… The socialization of media is as transformative as it is empowering. As individuals, we’re tweeting, updating, blogging, commenting, curating, liking and friending our way toward varying levels of stature within our social graphs. With every response and action that results from our engagement, we are slowly introduced to the laws of social physics: for every action there is a reaction – even if that reaction is silence. And, the extent of this resulting activity is measured by levels of influence and other factors such as the size and shape of nicheworks as well as attention aperture and time.
Influence has been a hot topic here for the past few months. But what determines someone’s influence on Twitter? Number of tweets? Number of followers? Number of followers' followers? Researchers from Northwestern University seem to have found the answer, and it’s a lot more complicated than who follows who. Ramanathan Narayanan, a Ph.D candidate at Northwestern University, and his professor Alok Choudhary developed a project that tracks influence on Twitter based on specific topics.
With the insane amount of data out there, it's tempting to skip the human element altogether and rely solely on statistics. But performance metrics alone can't tell you what motivates your audience to start a blog, share a video or post about their breakfast on Facebook. And it can't tell you the exact point when first-time moms realize their new little bundle of joy means a 54% increase in laundry, leaving them running to the appliance store. These are the types of insights that result from a consistent two-way dialogue with an audience over a long period of time.
By now, we're used to letting Facebook and Twitter capture our social lives on the web -- building a "social layer" on top of the real world. At TEDxBoston, Seth Priebatsch looks at the next layer in progress: the "game layer," a pervasive net of behavior-steering game dynamics that will reshape education and commerce.
Scott Monty is the global digital communications chief for the Ford Motor Company, and full disclosure, a force to be reckoned with in The Influence Project. He currently ranks at number 43. He likes to say that Ford subscribes to a combination Woody Allen/Yogi Berra theory for social media where 90% may be just showing up, but what's critical is what you do when you get there. Monty talked to Fast Company about Ford's strategy for combining online and traditional advertising, breaking out of comfort cliques to expand a customer base, and the trials and opportunities presented by living in a 140 character society.
Sure, trust is part of the relationship, and authority, and all that good stuff. You'll be chasing the popular kids (even those who demur) until the cows come home if you keep thinking that influence is about you. It's not. And you don't need the following of a celebrity to build something of significance. What you need is to identify areas of relevancy among your customers and prospects, build community, and allow others to amplify your influence -- as you meet their needs. Identify, build, allow -- no voodoo or pixie dust here.
Once, TV was the symbolic water-cooler that drove consumer conversations. It still is. But the tube is being upstaged by the web, which now nearly matches it in terms of influence on conversations, according to a new study from Yahoo and Keller Fay Group. Keller Fay has taken the air out of the online buzz balloon for years with survey research finding that most discussion about brands still happen face-to-face, and are influenced far more by traditional media than what happens online. But that is changing.
Avnit posited that the number of followers of a Tweeter is largely meaningless, and Cha, after looking at data from all 52 million Twitter accounts (and, more closely, at the 6 million "active users") seems to have proven Avnit right. "Popular users who have a high indegree [number of followers] are not necessarily influential in terms of spawning retweets or mentions," she writes. We asked Cha about the findings, published by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.
Your brand has 10,000 Twitter followers and 2,000 fans on Facebook. Does that mean your social media marketing efforts are paying off? Maybe not. As the old adage goes, it’s quality, not quantity, that counts. Recent data that Meteor Solutions collected from across more than 20 brand marketer clients shows that the type of friends, fans and followers a brand amasses on social media sites matters more than the number. On average, approximately 1% of a site’s audience generates 20% of all its traffic through sharing of the brand’s content or site links with others. And these “influencers” drive an even higher share of conversion. These very important Internet users can directly influence 30% or more of overall end actions on brand websites by recommending the brand’s site, products or promotions to friends.
Recently, I spoke to a crowded room of senior marketers at a CPG retailer, one of the executives asked “What’s an indicator a company is advanced in the social space?”. I gave three answers, and one of them was “Developing a thriving advocacy program to fight your battles”. The executives, which were used to traditional advertising and direct marketing had a lightbulb go off as I showed them this framework.
Everything you've been hearing about teen girls living on Facebook, friending their favorite brands and influencing hundreds of future purchases with the single click of the "like" button? A new report from Euro RSCG suggests it's all wrong, and that teen girls share shopping secrets the way they always have -- with only their closest friends, and even then, not online. "Facebook and MySpace are very public," Karina Meckel, director of strategic planning, tells Marketing Daily. "But while 8 out of 10 girls use social media, we've found that teen girls don't like to talk about shopping there. When they find a good deal, they're interested in tipping off a few close friends, not broadcasting it. These girls aren't moving and shopping in flocks, as many marketers believe. They closely select very small, intimate groups -- it's a sisterhood."
There’s no question that Toyota is in deep trouble with its current recall crisis. But could these issues actually be helping its brand? Shockingly, an analysis of Toyota shows that its Social Influence Marketing (SIM) Score saw an uptick in January. Who’d have thought that a crisis of such significant magnitude could actually help a brand’s perception? This seems to be true, at least in the short term, even though sales may be dropping. Let me explain how.
One of the greatest challenges I encounter today is not the willingness of a brand to engage, but its ability to create. When blueprinting a social media strategy, enthusiasm and support typically derails when examining the resources and commitment required to produce regular content. Indeed, we are programing the social web around our brand hub, which requires a consistent flow of engaging and relevant social objects. Social objects are the catalysts for conversations — online and in real life — and they affect behavior within their respective societies.
The opinions of young adults--which today have solidified into values--are not to be ignored. Not only are people in their 20s powerful voices within their communities, but they're also consumers. These first adults of the millennial generation (roughly, the people born between 1981 and 2000) are bellwethers for a group that's already estimated to earn more than $200 billion a year, of which they spend about $127 billion in the U.S. alone.
Social Media is rooted in relationships, the dynamic interaction and collaboration between real people. We learned and continue to learn how to communicate in public forums, evolving our personal views on privacy and uncertainty as we transform from digital introverts to social extroverts. This is our industrial revolution and its reward for participation is relevance. The socialization of online societies democratized the publishing industry and equalized influence.
In the World According to Twitter, giving away access to information rewards the giver by building followers. The more followers, the more information comes to the giver to distribute, which in turn builds more followers. The process cannot be commanded or controlled; followers opt in and out as they choose. The results are transparent and purely quantitative; network size is all that matters. Networks of this sort are self-organizing and democratic but without any collective interaction.
Measuring individual influence in Social Media is as coveted as it is elusive. While many tools claim to calculate authority, it is the definition of influence that requires clarification in order to grasp the relevance and differences of existing tools and services. For the sake keeping this discussion on track, let’s define influence. According to Merriam-Webster, influence is having the power or capacity to cause an effect. San Francisco-based Klout is no stranger to measuring influence on the Social Web. The company launched at SXSW Interactive 2009 to help Twitter users discover the voices that the world listens to (on Twitter anyway). Essentially, Klout measures influence at the topical level, sorting individuals who demonstrate the ability to drive action within respective social graphs when discussing particular subjects.
Senior marketers, ask yourselves: Is marketing's inability to get the type of traction it seeks within your organization real or self-imposed? In other words, do you actually have control over the perception, power, influence and abilities that marketing can truly bring to the table? A recent study by Prophet and the Association of National Advertisers revealed several alarming findings that point to the need for marketers to start taking back control of the dialogue, and their destiny, within their own organizations. Some of the more startling findings: While almost 70% of those surveyed view themselves as visionary marketers or leaders, the vast majority of them state that the way they actually spend their time is heavily focused on tactical behaviors, such as working the budget, operating month-to-month and being guided by a short-term marcomm plan.
There is no denying that Twitter has had a huge impact on how marketers are thinking about using social media tools for marketing. One thing that is most interesting about it, however, is how the site has managed to avoid overcomplicating itself with more features. Twitter is simple, and it just works. Of course the one overused word that has been used recently to describe Twitter is that it is a "firehose" of information, shooting out at a speed and volume that has threatened to make it unusable for many people. So when I had a chance to try out Twitter's new Lists feature (which I had been looking forward to seeing for some time), I was not only surprised, but also excited about what this will mean for all of us who use the site. Here are just a few reasons why I think lists may revolutionize how you use Twitter.
Nearly everyone reads. Soon, nearly everyone will publish. Before 1455, books were handwritten, and it took a scribe a year to produce a Bible. Today, it takes only a minute to send a tweet or update a blog. Rates of authorship are increasing by historic orders of magnitude. Nearly universal authorship, like universal literacy before it, stands to reshape society by hastening the flow of information and making individuals more influential. As an open research question, we asked whether it’s possible to objectively track this change and accurately predict the eventual threshold point of universal authorship.
It seems that everyone is excited about social networks. But not quite in the same way as Harvard graduate student Erez Lieberman, whose evolutionary graph theory is encouraging people to think about social networks in a different way: as an evolving population. Lieberman developed the theory with Harvard mathematics professor Martin Nowak, who helped to lay its foundation through the observation that while most of evolutionary theory deals with populations that have either simple shapes or no structure at all, the world around us is full of evolving systems with all kinds of internal structure – whether it's the networks of cells present in the human body or the social networks that occur in cyberspace.
I recently gave a talk titled Free the People! at the Potomac Forum’s Government 2.0 Leadership, Collaboration, and Public Engagement Symposium in Washington, DC that generated enough interest for me to post my slide deck and write a summary for a wider audience. These thoughts constitute some of my early ideas about “offensive social media” for organizations (this talk was particularly geared towards a government audience, but the fundamentals apply to the private and public sectors more broadly).
Deservedly or not, industry gets accused incessantly these days of greenwashing. That industry can't be trusted to make truthful green marketing claims and provide information that is credible, straightforward, and useful is not surprising for several reasons.
If you are involved in creating digital strategy or working with social media from a professional point of view, you are bound to hear the word “influence” bandied about. Maybe you have been asked to work up an influencer outreach program for a new product. Perhaps you are thinking about commissioning an influencer engagement strategy to help you tap into the pot of gold that the social graph represents. Whatever your reasons, consider this first …
When marketers want to reach users of social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, or Cyworld, they have two choices: buy advertising or start a viral campaign. New research by Harvard Business School professor Sunil Gupta suggests that viral may be the way to go in these connected worlds. But first it's important to understand both who influences purchase decisions in online communities and which groups of users can be influenced.
With the rapid adoption of social media, we have accelerated into a network economy. In a network economy, connectivity enables value to be created and shared by network members. The larger the network, the greater the potential benefits. In the digital world, network activities take place on an open platform that enables participation and cloud computing (think Wikipedia and widgets). In networks, some members are more connected and active, and therefore have more influence. These influentials are important members because they add significantly more value to the network. In the digital world, they blog, twitter, upload videos, experiment with new gadgets, and create widgets. As early adopters, they tend to be trendsetters that are followed by their friends and sometimes the masses.
Traditional influence has followed a systematic top-down process of developing and pushing “controlled” messages to audiences for decades, rooted in one-to-many, faceless broadcast campaigns.
Welcome to Twittermania. First it was Oprah — now Ev and Biz are on the cover of Time. Is the hype justified? Yup: Twitter isn't just changing how we communicate — it is changing how we innovate.
Despite the best efforts of the design community to the contrary, design is still struggling to influence companies in meaningful ways. The fault lies mostly within the design profession itself, which is unable to supply leadership equal to the current demand.
Own Your Choices is claimed to be the "first-ever choice making community". At first, the website was part of the Own your C campaign, and meant to encourage teens not to smoke. Currently, it aims to reveal how personal choices affect others and characterize one's self. In particular, the website focuses on starting the conversation around topics such as tobacco, health, self-image, culture, alcohol, relationships and school. Users are invited to connect with peers on these issues, to share their opinion and influence the conversation. And by accident, the interface seems driven by simple dynamic graphs of the statistics resulting from the data-gathering surveys.
Losing control is a primary reason stated by brands who are unwilling to open themselves up to the conversation - and a major reason why most continue to use social media as little more than a brochure on the web. And yet the illusion of control is just that – an illusion. By not involving yourself you actually do more to remove control than if you did.
Influence is difficult to ascertain online. What about that guy on Twitter with 25,000 followers? Isn’t he influential? What about that woman who has 5,000 RSS subscribers? She has to be influential, correct? People who are truly influential become conduits for human based filtering and content discovery within their communities, as members of the community look to the person of influence to connect them to people and content they should trust, and fuel positive community growth.