Winning and Influencing in Social Media

Over the past few months Valeria Maltoni, the Conversation Agent, has been on fire. She has written scores of long form, well thought-out and clearly articulated blog posts that offer genuine analysis and raise challenging questions. Just start here and work your way through the last few weeks to see what I mean.

But this post, on the measurement of influence, in particular, got me thinking … and judging by the number of comments, it seemed to do the same for many others. Valeria weaves together commentary on this Edelman whitepaper via Steve Rubel (which looks at quantifying the impact of social media) and the results of a study that she participated in. It is quite an involved analysis and well worth a read. What seems to be bourne out of the Valeria’s analysis is that  "influencers" have a smaller impact on a social network than we might have first thought. This seems to me, to ring true. After all, the very nature of "influence" depends on a level of relationship … and the very fact that a relationship exists within a network will have a bearing on the manner in which the network functions.

On top of this, I was reminded of this post that I wrote a while ago on the strength of weak ties. In fact, Herb Sawyer mentioned the same concept in the comments. This basically bears out the same conclusion, but from a different perspective. It shows that the likelihood of someone taking ACTION (ie becoming a participant in a brand interaction is higher when there is a relatively weak link in the network of connections. This analysis would, in part, explain the huge valuation of Facebook … where many people are connected not through strong communities but loose and tenuous opt-in groupings.

Measurement will continue to be a hot topic until someone is able to crack the nut of influence. Until that time, we will have to rely upon the blunt instruments at our disposal.

6 thoughts on “Winning and Influencing in Social Media

  1. Thanks for the post, I really appreciated the links to all of the great content. I am currently building a social media marketing dept and links like this help me and my team a lot. Cheers!

  2. I was here first thing this morning and then life took over 😉 Thank you for linking and for expanding, Gavin.
    I am doing a lot of work in my day job to tie it all in a strategy that serves the business so what you’ve been seeing is the sheer passion I have for this kind of work shine through.
    “and the very fact that a relationship exists within a network will have a bearing on the manner in which the network functions.” I’m liking where this is going.

  3. Ross … you’re welcome – but Valeria was the one who did all the hard work!
    Valeria … this is a fascinating topic. I just wish there was more time that I could devote to it 😉

  4. Interesting post and ideas!
    Tagged you for an Entrecard meme, which is becoming another community grouping – either tight or loosely networked depending on the individual at this point.

  5. Gavin,
    Thanks so much for sharing those links and your insights. This is really helpful and interesting–especially this part:
    “It shows that the likelihood of someone taking ACTION…is higher when there is a relatively weak link in the network of connections.”
    I never would have expected that. I would have thought that the weak links would mean lower likelihood for action. Definitely gives me something to think about. Let me take a look at Valeria’s posts….

  6. Duncan Watts vs. The Tipping Point

    Note: This post is a bit late coming. It has been sitting a draft since the second day of February waiting for a couple final thoughts. Sorry about that. I’m sure you’ve already read quite a bit on the article that spurred it, but rather than delete it…

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