Let’s try to apply this wisdom to Product Marketing and Marketing Strategy. For example, your company expects a product to generate specific and positive cash flow over a period of its life, and your customers expect the product to reliably perform functions you have promised them in your marketing communications.
Traditional media is not dead now and never will be. Look closely at the survey results and you’ll see that people still want information; they are just changing the way they want to receive it. As the younger generation takes over, they might look for their news online BUT they are not abandoning traditional media altogether.
So, therein lies the paradox – in social media, popularity means influence and is being used to make marketing decisions, yet those with the most influence might not necessarily be the most popular. The time has come to stop relying on the tired definitions of influence, and develop new ways to find those in the social media atmosphere who really have influence and the power to change behavior.
Lately I’ve focused on individuals who build influence through the effective use of social media. Today I’ll talk about how Intel sets the standard for corporate social media excellence, using all manner of social media to engage its audience, inform, educate and build the brand. If you think Intel is just a nuts and bolts company, you’ll be surprised at how seriously they take the intangible world of social media engagement. I’d like to introduce you to a personal friend of mine, and one reason behind this success, Intel’s global social media strategist, Ekaterina Walter. Under her leadership, Intel has seen an astonishing 10% to 12% monthly fan base growth. Her principles for Facebook engagement include original content, not just automated, and original videos, not just YouTube links.
In my last blog, “Clout vs. Klout – Or the Real Meaning of Social Influence,” I pulled together information which concluded that the most visible people are not necessarily correlated with influence, and word-of-mouth recognition can only be harnessed by targeting large numbers of ordinary influencers. That naturally raises the question, “Who are these influencers and how DO we find them?” Is there some way of identifying those people who are connected to a critical mass of easily influenced people?
I’ve done some reading lately which has brought together and focused my theory of marketing through online influencers. Awareness Networks published a white paper entitled “3 Keys to Influence: Understanding and Leveraging Influence.”
They report several strong reasons why marketers should seek social media influence:
90% of purchases are subject to social influence
90% of consumers rely on recommendations from people they know
67% of shoppers are willing to spend more money online after seeing recommendations from friends
So, the theory goes, if we identify the main social influencers, we should be able to effect change or motivate action. That’s where the debate begins…who are the influencers and how do we find them? The Awareness Report then lists elements of influence as authority, reputation, rank, and status. While some of this makes sense, I believe they put too much emphasis on rank.
It ‘s a given – Celebrities are social. Transformed by the Red Carpet, interviews and filling the stream via Social Media. Some are using the social universe well to promote… And that’s exactly NOT what I’m talking about.
Do today’s media stars really get, or understand, the power of social media. Do they get the power of engagement that they have at their fingertips? Are they using the relationship they have with those who follow them to change beliefs or effect change? If they are not, then I stand by my belief that they are not social influencers, despite what their rankings might say on Klout or other measurement tools.