Category Archives: influence

Social Media Intervention for Engagement and Intelligence

Event-related communication has always been at the heart of social media, from Twitter’s debut at SXSW in 2007 to the everyday sharing of check-ins, meals and parties in Foursquare and Facebook, to Oreo’s big marketing win with a single tweet during the 2013 Superbowl.

As my colleague Daniel Honigman pointed out to me today, for brands trying to gain attention through social media, simply being event-driven does not ensure engagement. Daniel noted the social media efforts around the 2013 Oscars as an example of event-based communications that underperformed expectations because although they were clever, they were also contrived and (unlike Oreo’s superbowl message) not naturally related to the actual unfolding of the event.

So relevance and timeliness are the required characteristics for successful social media engagement, both in the proactive publicity-seeking outreach mentioned above, and in the other common form of social media communication: crisis response. Continue reading

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The Elements of Influence

Many current discussions of online or social influence are focused on the “how” of measuring influence, exploring how the ever expanding wealth of digital data sources can be mashed-up to provide accurate estimates of a person’s ability to persuade others. These are valuable discussions for our current position on the social intelligence technology curve, and large investments are being placed behind efforts to program a better influence calculation.

The smart money in this race (or more likely slow climb) to accurately measure influence in order to better drive business results surely recognizes that “influence” cannot be measured on a single, universal scale. Continue reading

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Reciprocity, Engagement and Value in Social Networks

Yes, another post about Empire Avenue – but only because it presents such an interesting little laboratory to examine the valuation of social media activity.

In this week’s leader-board analysis, I noted that some of the leading brands in EA were not making purchases in their investors or other EA players. This lack of reciprocation seemed antithetic to something the social sciences have clearly shown to be a powerful norm in most cultures; a drive to return or repay what another has provided.

Unsurprisingly, this social norm translates nicely into most social media practice. Social media interactions should be based on perceived mutual value or shared interest, so while social media engagement does not require 1:1 exchanges (of follow for follow for example) when there is no perceived value in the connection – reciprocation is nevertheless a very good strategy when first building a network as these brands are doing in Empire Avenue. Additionally, while no one should feel compelled to connect with (or invest in) network members who don’t add value, it would still be expected that there are some valuable connections in the network – so there would be some level of reciprocity. Several of the leading brands seem to see little or no value in making or returning most/any EA connections. Continue reading

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Hitting the Right Notes

Online influence can be classified into two primary types; the individual influence of mavens, salespeople and connectors who achieve visibility and credibility within social media networks, and the shared influence that comes from being part of a networked response to a common problem.  There is no symphony without the conductor, the orchestra, and the sheet-music.

Any community engagement strategy organized around harnessing or leveraging online influence must be clear about the type of influence involved; is it the borrowed or extended credibility of a few influential individuals (the conductors), or is it a credibility (or infamy) earned through the ongoing interactions with large numbers of individuals in a public environment (the players)? The methods for harnessing influence are different for each type, and it is a mistake to set out to achieve one when circumstances call for the other. Continue reading

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The Hidden Side of Influence

A simple definition for an “influencer” is someone who has the leverage required to drive an outcome. Very often that leverage is held in the form of information. In the web2.0 world, information-driven influence is frequently understood as the extent to which information can be made public by any single source, that is, the “information network” or “reach” of that source of information. This trend is illustrated recently by stories about the use of the Klout service to determine VIP guests at the Palm in Las Vegas, and the buzz about the new “Hashable” application.

Many definitions of influence leave off here – essentially making “influence” equivalent to “reach”, and overlooking other fundamental variables in the influence equation, the information and the informant. Simply having the capability to reach people’s ears is useless if you are not credible and/or have nothing helpful or useful to say. Continue reading

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The Influence of Framing on "Influence" and the miio Factor

My experience on the new site miio over the last several days has opened my eyes to what a difference terminology can make. The social psychologists refer to this form of cognitive bias as “framing”; the idea is that initial context will shape all following perceptions, experiences and behavior.

Twitter was built around the idea of “followers”. And given the ego-boost that comes from feeling that you’re building a devoted following, is it any surprise that the most important measure around social media became “influence”? In the case of Twitter, in the minds of many, this seems to have far too often been understood as a euphemism for “importance”.

Now, with the mercenary nature of influence-mongering exposed by the Fast Company Influence Project, the conversation has been shifted from influence to trust… Continue reading

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The Practice of Influence: Brian’s Hybrid Theory

The write-up on Barcelona Principle Two below presents the importance of measurement in order to understand markets and exert influence to achieve business objectives. In that context, I thought it worth commenting on Brian Solis’ blog today introducing his Hybrid Theory Manifesto.

I particularly like Brian’s definition of the hybrid workforce: “a workforce of cross-breeds , experts who master an array of marketing artistry, social sciences such as psychology and sociology, creative vision, business dynamics, service, and communications. These individuals do not displace the authorities in their respective disciplines, they simply extend their capabilities into new media and corresponding domains and markets.”

This description of the emerging “social communications” practitioner, and Brian’s take on the new communications environment, where “attention is earned and engagement is a privilege” illustrate why the Barcelona Principles for PR measurement require immediate understanding by all PR practitioners. As organizations develop their hybrid workforce in response to changing social expectations, everyone, will need to understand how what they do fits in to the new workplace, and will need to show how they contribute. Work that is done without measurement-based planning and evaluation cannot hope to connect with a practice built on social sciences and business dynamics. The Barcelona Principles are the pylons on which PR teams can build their bridge from a siloed practice, to the hybrid organization.

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