As I mentioned in 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 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.
Despite the fact that it was a business audience I think there is value an 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 to 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 as an “influencer program” or “influencer management.” I thought there was 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, 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 for 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 listening to their community do. Of course they have the best tool out there to do that, but that is beside the point, the 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 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 a 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, 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 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 the 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 do 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.