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The Power of Influence – Social Media Club (notes)

Here are some of my notes from the Social Media Club panel discussion that happened tonight:

What is influence?

  • Influence is a capacity to have some people do something. Actionable influence – influence as a strategy, as a process. You don’t master the outcome but you have a feeling what’s happening and where it’s going to end.
  • Influence – facilitating conversations between and with customers. You have to be within the context of the conversation.
  • Brands are today presented in many different worlds and the question is, how to manage all the influence there.
  • Influence – the art of successfully levering what you can’t control.
  • You are more influenced by the person that looks like you. What are the ethical and legal ratifications of using such technology?

How do you measure influence? Is the technology really the solution for this problem?

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Technique 1: Mapping out all the people that are interesting to us, and then we converse with them (Twitter/Blog/etc.). Then we measure how often they talk about us, and what % of that is positive. After you identify a few thousand people like that, then we measure how many of them we can reach (phone, mail, etc.). Then we measure the reach of their blog and how many people connect through that.

Technique 2 (@Get Satisfaction): Asses the customer satisfaction level: where they are contextually in the conversation (are they angry?) and where they are going.

The role of crowd-sourcing and how does it impact the influence and how does that connect to “Web 2.0”?

  • Twitter is not very influential, because it’s just another broadcast channel. Until we have threaded @replies, we don’t really have conversations.
    Get Satisfaction is a “Social CRM”: There’s a lot of value in deanonymizing your personal data.
  • If you enable your customers to talk to each other, they’ll get value in that and you’ll get value from eavesdropping. But to get real value out of that, you have to engage in conversation with them.
  • Twitter is a lot of time used as a broadcast tool, but there are true customers on there and you can reach out to them (not spam them) and engage in deep conversations with them. Too much focus on the tool is dangerous path to go down so you get too focused on the technology.
  • 140 characters – going back to basics, the value of headlines. They’re teaching us to write short and teach us how to be concise.

Does Brand matter anymore?

  • The brand matters, but it’s changed. Brand has to work in so many more contexts. You have to understand how does the identity form itself, how does the brand act in a funny situation, how does it work in a serious one? You have to allow and understand how it works in these contexts in order for brand to be part of the conversation.
  • We can count on the large portion in B2B that want to be part of conversation that are not ready for that.
  • Conversation is still the same, it just moves faster from one medium to another.
  • Creative marketing can’t cover bad brands and products anymore.

How can companies become more comfortable in the social media space?

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  • The conversations are happening whether you’re participating in them or not. You can be afraid of them and hide from the information that’s out there, or be part of it.

What are the things that can be controlled?

  • What does the technology really change? Technology changes the circumstances in which the crisis happens. It changes who the influencers and important people are. But it also gives you more tools to refine and change your message.
  • The tech that allows you to target your message to a right group of people. If you talk to people about their experiences about social media:
  • Ads for women are very different. It’s increasingly the case that women get very different messages then men.
  • Search engine bias – there’s a big fight right now about the algorithm for search. They’re really important things from the influence point of view.
  • Personalization is a bad influence in Facebook.

What’s surprising about influencing patterns today?

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  • The media and analysts doesn’t matter that much anymore. The buying influence is coming from the peers. When it comes to lead conversation and getting involved with them – it’s not for sales team but for the whole team. If you’re not willing to expand your role and engage in the peer to peer conversation, you’re not giving your full potential to your company or a client.
  • The user interface matters. Like the recent Facebook redesign that made the user status much more prominent. You can do a lot with cue’s and prompts.

How do you develop your own influence (as an individual?) – personal brand

  • Let people see who you are and what are your interests and just go with it.
  • There’s something in seeing vulnerabilities in people and companies that makes you trust them a bit more.

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