Last night I attended another of the Link Humans Social Media London Meet Up which aims to bring together obsessive social media nerds like myself. Each month there is a different speaker who is influential in their field of social expertise. In this instance the topic was social influence itself. This is a tough concept to articulate and who better to do it than a social influence indexing platform like Peer Index.
If you followed the #smlondon tag you would have seen several aggressive tactics used by those attending. Don’t look at me - I did my usual tweets to cover the event but it soon became a grilling session which I had not prepared myself for.
My tweet sparked many questions in the room on Twitter but not out loud - at first. Trust was the main concern. Does trust define social influence? I think it plays a part however behind the social handles on Twitter, how much do you really know about those that you follow? Are they really experts because they mention #specific tags in all their tweets? I think not. You take what you agree or disagree with and run with it. It’s only fair that a tool like Peer Index measures ‘popularity’ of tweets and associate them in topic groups.
I put my twitter handle in Peer Index and found it interesting that social media was only second on the list. I’m more influential in news and media because it’s those tweets which receive the most attention and reach. The case is that we are all influential but in different areas because we enter different conversations. Instead of squabbling about how to define influence, I wanted to understand my influence better - more importantly how I enhance it.
The key point brought up by @fhuszar was that it’s about altering opinions.
But what does this mean for brands? How do you become influential in a desired topic… on purpose? In all cases ‘social’ I believe it’s understanding the system of measurement - data can give you real insight, but if you understand how your data is measured then it is a lot more useful to you. Once you understand how an influential topic works you can surely exploit it by mimicking its behaviour. In this instance it would be understanding desired communities’ conversation - but having something real to contribute to the conversation.
The power goes back to the community. They decide whether or not to amplify your content. If you have the community on board with what you are doing and saying (be it true or not) then you can achieve social influence.
A prime but painful example at #SMLondon was when @craig_hughes_ brought up the not so distant Starbucks Tax evasion scandal. The problem arose when an innocent viewer decided to speak up instead of Tweet his views about the power of media - not social media. The newspapers, magazines and news on the television did bring the Starbucks tax… loophole to light but what really powered up this debate was the social conversation around it. This was one of those situations where you realise you cannot doubt the power of social - as much as you doubt it at times. Unfortunately this particular discussion got ramped over by those who were getting finicky about tax laws and not social influence of the example in question.
Despite the several tweeters on my tail that night, I did enjoy myself. Fair enough I think the @Kred marketing tweets were a cheap shot - but I sure did have fun really playing with the concept of influence and what it means. And now I endeavor to get cracking at improving mine!
Recently I’ve attended several events all offering social and digital media gems portrayed as trade secrets. The truth is that if you work in this ever changing and growing industry, you probably already have a firm understanding of how this rodeo runs. So why do I go? Because I think that you never stop learning, and you get great insights of how others understand and use digital platforms for brands.
I thought that to benefit my friends, colleagues and other like-minded digital souls I’d outline some key findings from these recent expeditions.
Due to continuous commitments it has taken me some time to get my act together and put some relevant posts together to share the interesting insights I found. What I hope to cover in my next posts are:
1. TFM&A Growth and value of Social Business
3. Silverpop Email Marketing Growth and Relevance
4. London Bloggers Meetup Why Marketers Should Love Bloggers