The Social Contact Centre

to a social networking way of working through the eyes of a Contact Centre manager

SM Influence – myth or reality?

So the focus of social networking for business is influence: to move The Pile. Defining influence, if it even exists, is harder. Celebrities clearly have influence. In early 2011, 50 Cent allegedly made $10m when he suggested followers should buy into a stock that he had a holding in. Even outside the social world an endorsement from celebrities can drive up sales of products -whether its Delia Smith using a kitchen device or books featured on daytime TV. All well and good but these are individuals wielding their power, not companies. Some celebrities’ presence on social media is now being controlled by management companies purely for this reason.

Lets assume we don’t have a celebrity on hand – what does influence look like from a business perspective? There are tools available which attempt to measure social influence – PeerIndex and Klout are the two main ones currently. They analyse the social footprint (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, LastFM, Foursquare etc) and attempt to give a weighted scorecard and a profile to users. In Klout’s case it equates influence with the reaction of your audience – how many of your tweets are retweeted but also attempts to gauge the reaction of the most influential people by the same terms. Realistically, this isn’t a meaningful measure – it begs the question “influentual in what?”. My personal Klout score is 42 and Klout believes I’m influential, believe it or not, about Jewellery, BP and sausage. I pray that no-one associated with any of those is reliant on me to spread the word.

The connection between social media content and influence is tenuous and research results vary. Knowledge Networks The Faces Of Social Media found that social media users are 15% more likely to purchase from companies that advertise on social media. The research also showed a wide variance of impact across different categories. Other research suggests that the response rate to direct advertising is less effective than traditional direct marketing methods.

Influence is controllable by us – we can control who we follow and therefore who is likely to follow us back. We can create a target list of who we would like to be our friends and followers and create content which is likely to interest them. Influencers of us are likely to be potentially the influencers of our target audiences – journalists, local information providers, industry bodies, competitors, suppliers etc. One thing which is easy to lose track of in the virtual world is geography – in the search for numbers you end up with an audience across the world and realistically, no matter how “on topic” some of these are – they are not going to be able to help you in your objectives (they may be a gateway to others who are however). The unique nature of social media is that once the relationships are established you have a vehicle for communication several times every day. You can’t do anything until you have a network and understand it well.

How you establish relationships is a whole different subject and requires openness, creativity and eloquence.


Written by greencontact

April 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Posted in Opinion

Tagged with , , ,

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