Written By: Adam Dince
In my last blog post, “Want To Be A Social Influencer?” I provided some thoughts about building your brand equity and status within the social Web community. But what does it mean to be a social influencer? How will you, as a social influencer, affect digital marketing as we know it today? How will you be rewarded for influencing? And how do you measure your impact?
What is a Social Influencer?
A social influencer:
- Is frequently defined as someone who has an impact on a people’s actions, reactions, and thoughts both online and offline
- May be someone who puts out a point of view that people trust without asking for proof
- Might make a brand popular because they sport the look or write about it
- Might be able to damage a brand’s reputation in a 140 characters or less
- Could be so significant in a vertical, that a brand asks he or she to advocate on their behalf
- May attain celebrity status within his or her community and/or area of expertise
- Will have significant impact on the World Wide Web
Forrester reports, while just 16% of the US population, Mass Influencers are responsible for 80% of the influence impressions and posts about products and services in social channels. Source: North American Empowerment Online Survey, Q4 2009
Social Influencers and SEO:
As of today, attracting high-quality inbound links to a Web property is vital to succeeding in SEO. High quality inbound links will help increase a Website’s search authority. The more authoritative a search engine considers your site, the better opportunity it has to rank highly for competitive terms.
It’s like being back in high school all over again. If you’re accepted into the popular kids’ clique, then you’ll become popular too. If you’re ostracized, keep to yourself or don’t fit in, you’ll have little importance and may be considered an outsider. In a nutshell, you want your Website to be a popular kid.
In the future, social influencers will have the same impact as authoritative links do today. A mention, a +1, a tweet, a Facebook share, a review, and/or a blog write-up from a social influencer will have much more of an impact to a brand’s online equity than from someone who has a limited social footprint.
Social Influencers and Social Media:
How much influence will social influencers have in social media? It depends on how much of an influencer he or she is. Social networks are starting to give members of their communities who are most active and have the most relevant following more weight than moderate or light users. Let’s take Yelp for example. A social influencer in Yelp is known as a “power-user”. Power users tend to have much more influence over readers’ decisions than lay-users. Users who are looking for reviews on local businesses and activities tend to trust and value the opinions of the “power-users” who have written hundreds of reviews and commentaries http://goo.gl/VRJci over more than users those who haven’t.
Social Influencers and TV:
Sometimes social influencers can have a nested effect on a marketing channel. In 2011, American Idol was again, the top show on TV. Social media was a primary reason for its success.
“…Optimedia US (www.optimedia-us.com) created the report, which is in its fourth year and based on a proprietary metrics system that goes beyond traditional audience ratings to measure a show’s true commercial value and footprint. Content Power Ratings 4.0 factors in total cross-platform audience size, involvement, and advocacy — providing the industry’s only TV ranking system across three screens — TV, web and mobile.
This year, Optimedia reported a greater impact and influence in the rankings from the growth of social media.” http://goo.gl/zGcHA
Over the past few years, social media has been one of the major contributors to the rise of shows like Idol, and it is most likely that social influencers played a major role in their success. As the line between television and digital devices (e.g., Smart TV, iPads, etc…) blur, social influencers will have a greater part in increasing the consumer journey from awareness and conversion to continuing brand advocacy.
What Does This Mean for Social Influencers?
Social influencers are in a great spot to be wooed by brands and marketers. Rewards for influencers might be anything from a badge of honor to receiving promotional products. Here are two examples:
The Huffington Post: “If you’ve attracted lots of fans and followers, you receive a “Networker” badge. If you share a lot of stories via Facebook and Twitter, and have been busy commenting on HuffPost, you receive a “Superuser” badge. And if you’ve flagged a number of inappropriate comments that Huffington Post ends up deleting, you receive a “Moderator” badge. The “Moderator” badge acts as an incentive for users to help the site moderate the estimated 2.3 million comments it receives every month.” http://huff.to/94euem
The Palms Hotel: “Palms’ chief marketing officer, Jason Gastwirth, is currently building out “The Klout Klub,” which “will allow high-ranking influencers to experience Palms’ impressive set of amenities in hopes that these influencers will want to communicate their positive experience to their followers.” The Palms is already pulling in data from Klout and referring to it as part of their reservations process.” http://goo.gl/0RmGa
How Will Influence Transfer Between Social Networks?
Often I think about what I’ve dubbed as the “confluence of social influence”. In the future, will social sites be smart enough to recognize influencers cross-networks? If you are considered an influencer on Twitter, will that influence carry through when you “like” or share something on Facebook? Will the equity you build up on Google+ be recognized by Yelp or Twitter? Will social networks work together to create a social influence graph which carries a person’s influence throughout the Web?
Regardless of the answers to these questions, influence will be a valuable social currency in the future of social engagement and brand advocacy.
How Do You Know How Much of An Influencer You Are?
It can be tricky to get a true sense of your overall influence, but there are a few FREE tools to help you get started:
Thank you for reading. I would appreciate a Tweet, Like, or +1 if you enjoyed this article. Also follow me on Twitter @adamdince.