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The Myth of Digital Influence


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The myth persists of reaching social media "influentials," despite more and more research showing we share information in small, personal networks of 5-10 people. I discuss the topline arguments, then review the 3 level of listening and engaging currently available: pretenders like Klout, listening platforms like Radian6, and large-scale "big data" analysis like the Dachis Social Business Index. In the end, we're focusing on how to reach consumers on social networks rather than why. Let's build great, resonant brand experiences and social media will scale itself.

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The Myth of Digital Influence

  2. 2. THIRSTY?The Most InterestingMan in the World mustbe very influential, yes?
  3. 3. The Big Influencer TheoryBernardo Huberman, Director of HP’s Social Computing Lab:“Businesses have a finite amount of money and time; therefore,they must identify the most connected people they can to helpexpand their reach.In social networks, brands can connect with everyday people whoare the celebrities of their networks. The value to businesses is thatthey can have access to the respective Rolodexs of consumers andreward them as a result.” (source: The Rise of Digital Influence, by Brian Solis with Alan Weber, Altimeter Group, March 2012)
  4. 4. YOU ARE THIRSTYAs old media fragments“reach and frequency”have been replaced bythe hunt within socialnetworks for “scale” byreaching “influentials.”
  5. 5. Research is beginning to find that “big influentials”theory doesn’t work. We share in many smallnetworks of 5-10 people—not massive wavesinfluenced by “influentials.” Oops. Source: AdAge 3/7/12 Digital Next, Steinberg and Krawczyk
  6. 6. Big shot “influentials ” reach many people, but with little influence. And look at the list below who really has influence— re-tweet contests, Twitsdraw, yada, yadaSource: “Influence and Passivity in Social Media,” by Romero, Galuba, Asur, Huberman 8/2010 HP Social Computing Lab
  8. 8. Klout is for Clowns. It says people who tweet and are re-tweeted are“influentials.” But there’s no science to back this up.
  9. 9. I’ve got strong opinions on Klout because of the publicity (andcredibility) they’re getting. The mission of Klout is to have a $500million IPO using a simplistic proxy for “influence.” Influence aboutwhat? With whom? Where’s the attribution model? BTW, when I postat Social Media Today in the first hour I’ll get 400 “reads” and 325 re-tweets. What’s happening? People are RT’ing without reading just topump the value of their Twitter feed—and get a better Klout score.OMG.
  10. 10. Klout’s “influencematrix” describesthe 16 types ofinfluencers in itsmodel. But there’s*no* reward forcreating, only forpassing along otherpeople’s stuff andgetting others to RTthat.
  11. 11. RADIAN 6 Real social “listening” platforms like Radian6 are working with keyword analysis, and beginning to add early forms of sentiment analysis. Still early in the game.
  12. 12. Source: Forrester Research, The Forrester Wave™: Listening Platforms, Q3 2010
  13. 13. A big step up is the Dachis Group’s Social Business Index, which is using NLP to evaluate a massive “big data” scale of social messages for 30,000 companies, including 40% of the Fortune 500DACHIS
  14. 14. Here you can see thesocial behaviors thatdistinguishesbetween public, thecompany, employeesand so on. DACHIS
  15. 15. We live in a society obsessed with measurement,but the act of measuring often means that thething being measured becomes illusive..Butwhats happening here isnt just measurement:its trying to leverage measurement to dosomething.Thats where it loses its role as a measurementprocess.--danah boyd, Microsoft Research (source: The Rise of Digital Influence, by Brian Solis with Alan Weber, Altimeter Group, March 2012)
  16. 16. measure what we can measure, not ssarily what is valuable to’s hard. Really hard. Sometimesan really measure social memes, an’t attribute them. Other timesan see people are popular, not tot effect. DIRECTION HEISENBERG’S UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE POSITION
  17. 17. Look at all the variables!TIME CONTEXT MOOD RELATIONSHIP
  18. 18. IT’S ALL HIS FAULT
  19. 19. “The Tipping Point” has become the dominant marketing ideology.When social media rose, we naturally transferred Gladwell’s model intosocial media, without knowing if it was really true. OMG. Source: “Visualizing The Tipping Point,” David Armano, Logic + Emotion blog, 2006
  20. 20. This should be “GREATNESS” Brian Solis has done some serious thinking found in his recent “The Rise of Digital Influence.” Here’s his model. The center post is labeled “resonance,” which I think really is another way of saying “greatness.”(source: The Rise of Digital Influence, by Brian Solis with Alan Weber, Altimeter Group, March 2012)
  22. 22. What’s great, resonant messaging? It has the qualities I just listed.Usually 3-4 of them at the same time. Here’s an example. I think wehave this “influence” problem backwards. We focus on the architectureof the problem, measuring it, Influentials Theory, trying to make it asystem that will scale. We need to focus on resonant (great) messagesthat engage people. I give you Jerry the Dog, and his 7.5 Million viewson You Tube: (Click to see his video.)
  23. 23. Think & discuss• Measure digital social influence• Affect digital social influence• Coordinate between digital & offline• Create resonant brand communications
  24. 24.