POV: Bloggers to Brands – focus on the influenced
As I mentioned this past Saturday Six, I attended the Radian6 User Conference (Social2011) in Boston last week. Radian6 is a social media engagement tool that allows companies (or agencies) to listen, measure, and engage with their customers across the entire social web. It is an enterprise tool and the audience was made up of companies large and small as well as agencies that work with them.
The conference was made up of two parts a platform for Radian6 to launch new product releases, doing demos and training sessions; the second part was basically a social media conference.
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Despite the fact that it was a business audience I think there is value to extract and share with you here. I am a personal blogger but I also do run the social media for the company I work for, although I don't talk about it here unless it involves something cool (like going to the Grammy's! or meeting Adam West!). So I have insight into both sides of the equation!
I wanted to talk about one session I attended that I think you might be interested in sharing an opinion on, but first I get to share mine 🙂
The session was on influence or as most companies refer to it an “influencer program” or “influencer management.” I thought there was an interesting discussion and I enjoyed listening with my dual ears (blogger and social media professional). By purest definition influence = action.
And a key message that was repeated over and over was: focus on the influenced, they will serve you better. As in all things in life, and I have talked about this many times when it comes to French culture as well, think quality over quantity. Influence is not synonymous with reach, relevance is much more important. It is not a numbers game it is about passion.
As a blogger, I say hallelujah!
A lot of brands are missing out on that as they focus on finding the right influencers, the A-listers, and the people with the big numbers. When in reality they have a better chance at success if they find people who are already passionate about their brand, may have small numbers but are much more influential over their community. The thing is, companies have to be listening to that.
That's why at the mere mention of a Radian6 in a single sentence from my post on Saturday, Trish (a.k.a Dayngr), who I have followed on Twitter for quite a long time, and who works for Radian6, left a comment on that post. Why?
Because that is what good companies in-tune and listen to their community do. Of course, they have the best tool out there to do that, but that is beside the point, they are using the tool. Many companies fall short and miss out.
Here's an example from my life. I am a huge fan of Starwood Hotels. I have been a member of the SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) program for more than ten years. I will always, always choose Starwood first over any other hotel, even pay more from time to time because I love their brand, their hotels, etc.
There usually has to be extenuating circumstances (beyond that there is no property where I am going!) for me not to stay in Starwood. I will even pay the difference between a Starwood property and the hotel my company selects (if it is not a Starwood) because I feel strongly about the hotel and the loyalty program. I have blogged about them, and follow them on Twitter and on Facebook, I am a fan.
Would you say I was influenced? Might they consider reaching out, maybe just a thank you? I am not looking for anything free, but I am a travel blogger and I do have a certain amount of readers/freaders/followers in my community.
I use this ONLY as an example of how passionate people are about their preferred brands. Add on top of that that I am a blogger and have a social network, and I should be considered a gold mine. Again, this is JUST an illustration, but it is definitely something I have been thinking about since the conference.
Interestingly enough Blogher just released their annual Why Social Media Matters report this past week and of the people they surveyed (and their current reach is 26 million women monthly!) 20% give more weight to products promoted by or with a blogger they know, vs. promotions featuring a celebrity endorsement (12%) and 53% have bought a product based on a blog recommendation – I know I have…
What do you think? Are you passionate about a particular brand and feel like you would be perfect for their “influencer program?” What's your opinion about my opinion? I am interested in hearing what you have to say about this topic!
Disclosure: This post represents my personal opinion only and does not reflect those of my employer. As a further disclosure, although I currently do run the social media program at my company, we are not involved in influencer programs at this time, so again, this is my opinion as a personal blogger.
Yes, yes a thousand times YES! Quality over quantity (in just about everything I can think of). It isn’t a numbers game – it’s about passion and passionate people make the best brand ambassadors/evangelists. I think just about everyone is passionate about at least one brand, I know I have a few I’m passionate about and perhaps I’d probably be considered a gold mine if they were looking for folks like me. I’m with you on this topic!
Thanks for the shout out and I’m so pleased to hear you enjoyed the session on influence.
Keep sharing your passions,
Community Manager at Radian6
@Trish, thanks for your affirmation, I wish it was something more companies “got”. There were many good sessions at the conference, a great first time!
How did we not meet at this event?!
@Trish, I think we did!
I don’t know if there are products/brands I’m passionate about (leaning toward “not really”) but I CAN attest to the fact that I am far more influenced by a favorable review by a blogger I love than anything that comes out of a celebrity’s mouth. FOR INSTANCE: I just went and googled Starwood hotels because I didn’t know what/who they were, but I know you travel like crazy and if you love it there must really be something to love there 🙂
@Amanda, other bloggers definitely influence my purchase decisions as well!
This is absolutely true! Like you, I work on both sides of the fence, and on both sides I believe this to be true. Which is why you’ll never find me trying to work with “big” bloggers in my day job–and why my favorite way to get recommendations online is from the community of people I’ve grown to trust (regardless of follower count!).
@Ginger, thanks for sharing and agreeing! I love Liz Strauss’s quote: “Little bloggers grow up to be big bloggers.“
I have been thinking about this A LOT lately!!! There are a couple of brands that I’ve reached out to, as I truly love their brand and for the most part they’ve responded enthusiastically and have tried to scratch my back in return for me scratching theirs. Could be better though for sure…
@AndiP, it is so interesting to hear people’s perspective/experiences, thanks for sharing!
I am influenced by bloggers too, especially about restaurants and bars. And, of course, there is Trip Advisor which can sometimes be confusing with big negative and positive remarks on the same place, but I love seeing the input of people who have actually stayed at a place or eaten there.
@Linda, it is the power of WOM (word-of-mouth) somehow, even if we don’t know the person, we would rather hear from them rather than the brands, it seems more authentic. And that is when disclosures, etc are so important so that you can judge how much you trust the person’s opinion.
I completely agree. Though I am not the biggest name in my niche I truly appreciate and want to provide the best relationship for the brands who take a chance and work with me. Due to that we have experienced Omni hotels and will now choose them first if they are in the area travel to.
@Jody, I love success stories!