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Slide 1:    -      What does PostRank do in relation to influence?    -      A bit about the Connect service    -      Why...
Slide 5:    -      Today most of what we pay attention to online results from finds in social media. And           really,...
Slide 8:    -      So, how does this relate to what I do?    -      PostRank has been gathering up all those online activi...
Slide 11:   -   An example of how audiences can work differently now.   -   Brands and agencies are often really keen to g...
Slide 14:   -   An influencer is often associated with the “central” node or high profile node in the       network, but m...
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Communitech Community Management P2P Presentation: Building Influencer Relationships (notes)


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Notes to accompany the Building Influencer Relationships presentation from Communitech's Community Management Peer 2 Peer Group get together, April 18, 2011.


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Communitech Community Management P2P Presentation: Building Influencer Relationships (notes)

  1. 1. Slide 1: - What does PostRank do in relation to influence? - A bit about the Connect service - Why should brands be interested in influencer outreach? - The dynamics of communities - How to reach out to influencersSlide 2: - This is a Mary Meeker slide she did just over a year ago that highlights how incredibly out of whack ad spend is in relation to where consumer attention is now focused. - Time spent by consumers on print, radio and TV has been dropping dramatically and a significant amount of attention has been diverted to the internet. - Ad spend hasn’t nearly caught up to that, and there is a massive undiscovered opportunity – $50 billion dollars – in knowing where and how to most effectively advertise on the internet. - “Advertising” takes on a number of different forms, though, and it’s not all AdWords and banners, though a lot of brands are still stuck with that mind set, relying on impressions and click-throughs to try and grow market awareness and purchase conversions. - Ad blindnessSlide 3: - Backing up a bit we’ll look at the origins of the concept of online influence, which was thanks to Google in the late 90s. - How many links existed to a particular site (and its content)? Sites most linked to must be more relevant, popular, or interesting than other sites. - PageRank bubbled up the sites and stories with the most links to them to the top of the search results. - That meant those stories got more pageviews, which led to the online advertising ecosystem, which dictated paying more for sites with high pageviews. - So how have things evolved to today?Slide 4: - In the mid-2000s three significant tech developments caused fundamental shifts in online activity. - 1) Web 2.0 enabled the audience to not just READ content on a site, but interact with it, e.g. comments. - 2) Blogging took off, and now anyone online could create and publish content easily, with just as great a potential reach as already big sites. - 3) Social networks exploded, enabling friends to share, like, bookmark, dig, tweet, etc., engaging in a variety of conversation that wasn’t new at all, but had a new format and potential online. Additionally, these networks enabled folks of like interests to form communities, often focused, and then function like traditional groups of friends and influence each other. - Social networks enabled us to “connect” with people, whether we’d ever met them in person or not. Social circles could include “real life” friends and internet-based friends. - While the ties to the internet-based friends are often looser, in many cases there are few functional differences in the relationships or the degree of influence the participants exert on each other.
  2. 2. Slide 5: - Today most of what we pay attention to online results from finds in social media. And really, the younger people are, the less use they often have for traditional media and the less trust they have in it. - 80% of the interaction with online content of all kinds stems from social media – we saw it tweeted, bookmarked, dugg, or otherwise shared by some community member (and shared content ourselves). - What our peers and communities have to say is powerful, and we pay much closer attention and respond much better to messages that come from people we know, rather than from slick (or sometimes painfully awkward) brand campaigns.Slide 6: - Engagement and influence online is also FAST. Publish something, and half of all the attention and engagement it’s going to get happens within the first hour. - Given the page and volume of online publishing, typically if we don’t see something on page 1, we don’t see it (e.g. your Facebook feed). - It’s a challenge to make sure your message gets prominence (e.g. how Facebook gives more prominence to things you’ve shown more attention to in the past). - We are also naturally more likely to pay attention to people we know, or who have proven interesting and valuable to us in the past. They function as a bit of an attention magnet. Brands want to leverage that.Slide 7: - A few interesting recent stats published by Scribd: - Average number of Twitter followers is almost 63 per user. Average number of followees is about 44. (High follow counts get a lot more attention, and a lot of people we follow are a lot more “popular” than we are, so that might seem surprisingly low given our frame of reference.) - On Facebook, the average item gets over 217 likes, and users “like” things an average of almost 30 times. - On Twitter, you’re not just following real-life friends. Celebrities, industry gurus, friends of friends, topic area experts, politicians, businesses you like. - Certainly you have a personal relationship with some of these people, but not all of them, even if Oprah did re-tweet you that one time. - However, you still chose to follow them, and you still pay attention to what they say, at least sometimes, so there’s a cross-pollination of info and opinion that can travel far and wide. (She told 2000 friends, and she told 2000 friends…) - And with interconnections among social networks, you can tell your Twitter friends and at the same time post to Facebook and other sites and reach more people. - 60-80% of all buying decisions are now made WITHOUT information coming directly from the brand. It comes from peers. (. (SOURCE: Francois Gossieaux author of "The Hyper- Social Organization”). - As you can imagine, news like that would scare the crap out of brands.
  3. 3. Slide 8: - So, how does this relate to what I do? - PostRank has been gathering up all those online activities we perform with content that interests us for about 4 years – the comments, tweets, diggs, bookmarks, etc. (over two dozen social networks). About 7 million stories (e.g. posts) and 25 million engagement events per day. - We’ve tied that to information from and about the people producing the content we’re interested in, and we also organize content by topics and other useful categories. - So we can tell who influencers are, what they’re writing about, which communities they’re influential in, which communities they’re active in, who their audiences are, how big their audiences are, and what social networks their audiences are active on, among other things. - In a nutshell, we can tell if you’re influential, to what audience, and on what platforms. - Can you be an influencer if you don’t have a platform, don’t create content? Possibly, but hard to be credible. - Brands and agencies come to us and want to find and do business with specific people, but until now, finding the right people has been very manual, painful, and resource- intensive (e.g. Excel spreadsheets that are out of date in six months). - Companies will also fail in the execution of developing relationships with these people but pitching them in bulk, not doing their homework, or just downright doing it wrong. (Bloggess page.)Slide 9: - Example of Connect author profile.Slide 10: - PostRank’s Analytics tool helps publishers discover their own influence – how their content is doing with the audience, which content is getting the most engagement, who the audience is, where they’re engaging. - Publishers can learn what their audiences like (to publish more of that), who their champions are, and what networks are worth their time for growing a presence. - Create content more likely to get pick-up, and develop relationships with your own influencers to increase your reach. - You can also get a good idea how competitors are doing (and what they’re doing right that you might be able to adopt).
  4. 4. Slide 11: - An example of how audiences can work differently now. - Brands and agencies are often really keen to get their product or company mentioned on sites like Techcrunch. - The site has 4M subscribers - a pretty large audience. - But there’s an average 1.5% open rate for the site, which gets them about 60K eyeballs and the big question is, how many of those result in purchase conversions? - Contrast that with an individual blogger, expert in a topic area, who might have only 20K subscribers. - Those sites often have more than a 70% open rate, so proportionately speaking, they get a significant larger number of eyeballs on the content. - Those individuals also tend to be much more loyal audience members who highly value the opinions and stories of the authors. - So if, for example, that author runs a contest, does a product review or expresses and opinion, their level of influence can be materially higher. - We have anecdotal evidence that conversions are 3 times higher. - The strategy now being employed by many brands and agencies is to find 5 – 10 (or more) smaller but highly influential authors to run campaigns with. - It is no longer the case that targeting traditional “accredited” media (newspapers, magazines etc.) or sites with just large pageviews, is the way to spread your message.Slide 12: - Memo from Tim Armstrong of AOL is a good example of the impact of online influencers on consumer spending. - Recently spoke about the Huffington Post being core to their strategy and their 80:80:80 focus. - 80% of domestic spending is done by women (80-90% of the household dollar – value in the trillions in the US). Explains the incredible popularity of mom bloggers as brand targets. - 80% of commerce happens locally. (Value of local Twitter followers in making local buying decisions.) - 80% of considered purchases are driven by influencers.Slide 13: - The next few slides contain some interesting info and visuals pertaining to influence and community. - Understanding the social graph is essential to understanding what makes an individual influential. - Up until recently, it’s been very expensive to collect social graph data so research and metrics have focused on individuals and not their part of a network. - An individual and their immediate network is called the ego network. Ego network metrics are important and useful, but they are best tailored towards predicting behavior of the individual, not the network.
  5. 5. Slide 14: - An influencer is often associated with the “central” node or high profile node in the network, but most influencers are highly clustered. - Depending on how and where you want you message to be amplified, that might or might not be a good thing. - The graph is an actual graph of sites whose content is focused on Ruby on Rails. It depicts sites that have linked to each other in the community, with the most “linked-to” sites being the larger bubbles.Slide 15: - Another take on the same community, except this time these are the sites that have linked the most to other sites.Slide 16: - These are people, who have linked to other people by mentioning their names in articles and stories on their sites. - From studies in virology, we know that picking the optimal nodes in a network to spread information has little to do with just picking the influencers. - In reality, you need to look at the network at large. Usually you end up with a mix of connectors, influencers etc.Slide 17: - There isn’t much academic research yet on actual social networks of scale, but we do know some interesting results from other fields. - For example, from studies on diffusion of innovation, we know that highly clustered networks tend to exhibit high “cohesiveness” which often leads to barriers to adoption of new technologies etc. - So in the case above looking at the entire community, you might want to pick the people in the middle area for the purposes of a campaign, because they have looser ties to the whole community and the chances that the message will spread further are greater. - Different types of networks will have different behaviors; early adopter networks behave differently from other types of networks. Meaning, depending on your campaign, the same strategies can yield different results. - Also, the cost of influencing someone is not the same for every individual so you also need to optimize for the budget. - So we have access to networks now, and it’s a goldmine. - We can start mapping the sub-graphs, by topic for example, start developing tailored campaigns, and go beyond the simple concept of influencer to something a little more rich and meaningful.