“Going beyond the hype of social media and online influence means going beyond the numbers and popularity games. It means digging into the real meaning of influence and finding the true value of making connections with the right people,” explained Pierre-Loic Assayag, CEO of Traackr, and Shonali Burke, VP, Digital, MSL Washington D.C., at the 2012 PRSA Counselors Academy.
There are many tools to measure influence, including Klout, Peer Index, Tweet Level, and Tweet Grader. The problem with tools that measure influence is that they cannot agree and that is because marketers are asking the wrong questions. Rather than try and use new tools based on old practices, marketing and PR professionals must understand that influence varies – both qualitative and quantitative – and depends on content.
With three percent of people creating 90 percent of the impact online, it is imperative that communicators understand influencers as they pertain to individual clients. Not all influencers will fit the bill. Therefore, marketers must identify the right people for the job. In other words, marketers must choose relevance over popularity.
- Influence is both an art and a science. Search, secure, rank, and track.
- Focus on the task at hand. “Cognitive blindness” causes many marketers to miss influencers.
- Commit. Discover, listen, and engage to understand what the conversation is about.
Once marketers have found the relevant influencers, then what? Assayag and Burke say that it is time to “manage influencers” and that PR professionals must approach the relationship as if “it is a marriage and not a date.” Part of managing the relationship involves understanding the different metrics that define success such as web traffic, brand mentions, sales, engagement metrics, and sentiment/tone, among others.
In the end, finding the right influencers is really about providing value (what can you do for them?), being relevant, and being genuine and then finding the right metrics that help drive value and not hype. In wrapping up, Burke talked about the Blue Key campaign and how it used the power of influencers. Check out my colleague, Andrea Corbo’s post, When a Hashtag Leads to Help: PR Tips from #BlueKey.
How are you unleashing the power of your PR? What metrics drive the most relevancy for your clients?
*Bio: Colleen Flood has been a sales consultant with BurrellesLuce for over 12 years and is eager to become a more integrated part of the social-public relations community. She primarily handles agency relations in the New York and New Jersey metro-area. She is not only passionate about work, but also about family, friends, and the Jersey Shore. Twitter: @cgflood LinkedIn: Colleen Flood Facebook: BurrellesLuce