All Articles Marketing Digital Technology From #BWELA: Giving substance to online influence: metrics, relevance and applications

From #BWELA: Giving substance to online influence: metrics, relevance and applications

3 min read

Digital Technology

This post is by Bridget Jewell, public relations manager for Mall of America. She focuses on pitching stories to the media, project management, crisis communication, community management and serves as co-editor for the Mall of America blog.

Metrics and measurement are the hottest topic in social media right now. Thought leaders in the analytics industry are struggling to decide if there are — or can be — standard analytics for social media and if so, what are they? Among the analytic buzz words commonly discussed is the term “influence,” which has proven to be a very polarizing topic.

Chuck Hemann, vice president of digital analytics for Edelman Digital, and Matt Ridings, consultant at Xplane and founder of MSR Consulting, spoke at the BlogWorld & New Media Expo in Los Angeles regarding metrics in social media and how to get at the numbers that really matter.

Hemann said that we are now privy to more information than we ever have been in the past — and it’s this new data that we should be leveraging. He also stressed that it’s not just about the reach of a social presence, but also its relevance.

He went on to show the three important components of influence, broken down by outlet and author.

  1. Reach
  2. Syndication
  3. Relevance

Ridings agreed with what Hemann said, but went on to talk about a new way in which he has started to think about influence. Ridings said, “We don’t surf the Web anymore, we shape the Web. We let our influencers dictate what we see. It’s us and the people around us that are shaping our experience on the Web.”

He went on to discuss what he likes to call “awareness versus action” with four main points.

  1. We are all equals, we represent the same potential.
  2. Context is relative and fluid. Context is king.
  3. A campaign, by definition, is planned in advance and influence scores are trailing indicators.
  4. We need a new approach — to focus on the influenced and not the influencer. We need to find and create advocacy.

Ridings pointed out that this is a bit of a mental shift because this is about building relationships and increasing the customer lifetime value, because trust is what drives conversion.

After the presentation there was a lot conversation and a ton of questions revolving around the difference between advocates and influencers and activating campaigns versus building relationships. The conclusion from the presenters was that these are truly squishy topics without clear definitions at this point in time.

What are your thoughts on building advocates or influencers? Do you think that brands should focus on building advocates and that that will lead to more sales or conversions? Or should it be about having someone who has a high “influence” promote their product or service in hopes that they will convert a higher number of people?

Image credit: studiocasper, via iStockphoto