“ The herd seek out the great, not for their sake but for their influence; and the great welcome them out of vanity or need . ” Napoleon...

Social Scriptures part 3: Worship Influence


The herd seek out the great, not for their sake but for their influence; and the great welcome them out of vanity or need.” Napoleon Bonaparte

2011 was an interesting year for Charlie Sheen – he burst into social with the fastest ever route to 1m Twitter followers and overnight became a key person of influence alongside Lady Gaga, Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber – this led to brands clamouring to pay people like Kim Kardashian to tweet / like / mention their brands with high price tags attached.

But the question is – do you trust them? I doubt it (or rather I hope not!)

2012 is the year where trust & influence become integral – harking back to our consumer 2.0 a Mr Youth study found that “authenticity trumps celebrity – consumer 2.0 responds to honest, relevant messaging and recommendation from peers over marketing speak and celebrity endorsements”

A recent Forrester study found that 86% of people respond directly to recommendation from friends and family v less than 40% for TV or radio and less than 5% for banner ads. With Nickelodeon finding that 18-25 year olds have on average 53 “friends” they have never physically met – this group is to be listened to.

Indeed search engines are also waking up with social signals such as tweets and likes now directly influencing Google rankings – and with the ascension of G+ this is only going in one direction !

So in the words of Seth Godin and Joseph Jaffe brands need to “flip the funnel” – start with the consumer not end with them and essentially turn the traditional AIDA approach into ADIA ie Acknowledgement, Dialogue, Incentivisation and Activation.

This means that you need to understand not only how a consumer interacts socially but also what their interests are. To do this start with your consumers’ Social Graph - a digital map of who they know and the matrix of relationships with business and personal connections ie a consumer’s social circle. Facebook is probably the best example of this. However this only tells half the story – after all we are not solely defined by the likes and interests of our social circles - as such it is important to also consider your consumer’s Interest Graph. This represents a digital map of what you like – an online demonstration of people’s interests as opposed to their social circles - Twitter is probably the best example of this.

2012 is the year that you need to understand both these graphs, even on an aggregated level, this means you can get a good idea of what your consumers like, who they interact with and where they do this and within these places who are the influencers be they experts, community leaders or consumers.


-       Social and Interest Graph development – use your Social Intelliegence work to develop a detailed understanding of your sector – where do your audience hang out online, what are they talking about and who is influencing these conversations.

-       Influencer Outreach: Find and build advocates and identify key areas of influence for a brand or service – from bloggers to communities, forums, social networks and individuals and construct relevant outreach campaigns based on development of relevant and appropriate messaging to foster engagement and interaction and build relationships.

-       Community management: From growing social communities from the ground level up to managing large scale groups and pages consider how you grow, develop and maximise the opportunities presented by communities.  

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