Social media week in London provided an excellent opportunity to analyse influence. Too often when there is a breaking story, I whish I could have turned back the clocks by a few days to see how the story originated and spread whilst focussing on who the key people were in the conversation and what they did to help propagate it.

This blog post will illustrate several key concepts that are unique to TweetLevel and Edelman.

  1. Conversation map analysis shouldn’t be conducted post event but through real time metrics allowing you to understand what time of engagement behaviour an influential person has. After all what’s the point of a static map when conversations aren’t the end result but a flow of information over time.
  2. The key players in a conversation are not just the most popular but those who start the ideas, spread and curate them. We call these people the new influentials.
  3. Timing is critical. This isn’t just about what time of the day they tweet, but when they take part in the conversation. For example many of the idea starters initiated the dialogue a few weeks before #smldn even started. As a marketer if I could know who these people were in advance, then it would have been the perfect opportunity to engage with them.

 

Dynamic conversation map

Red dots: idea starters, Yellow dots: curators, Blue and Green dots: Commentators. Some idea starters are also amplifiers (as shown by the size of the bubble) Source: University of Southampton–Web Science Team (Ramine Tinati) in collaboration with Jonny Bentwood at Edelman

What we can learn from this..

  • Idea starters engage early in the conversation (often weeks before the event)
  • A good three weeks prior to the event starting the people who would eventually be the thought leaders in social media week has initiated the conversations around the topics they were going to be pushing. Not surprisingly they were doing their own service marketing.
  • From an objective point of view, they hadn’t managed to engage a large number of other people into this dialogue as they were instead waiting until the event started.
  • As a marketer I would if I was aiming to influence people, I would look to see who is engaging early and seek to interact then – if we wait till later then the conversation is too saturated to be heard.

Time jump conversation map

The following slide show takes you from 29 Jan where just a few people were discussing the event to a screen shot every few days up till the end of 17 Feb.

Slide3 Slide9

SMWLDN - RTmin set to 300

What I believe this shows you is that some of the key people in conversations are not the those who normally jump out. Namely, the person who creates the ideas or the person who has the huge audience that helps spread them. It is in fact the “yellow dots” in the above images. These influentials are curators – those who are niche experts and connected to idea starters and amplifiers. This group helps to link and grow conversations even though most tools in the market would ignore them {this is why TweetLevel puts a high focus on how information flows, its origin, connectedness and NOT just popularity]

Slide3

Taking another example from the WC3 event last year, if you look at the final map you would hardly notice some of the key individuals who make this topic travel so far.

In this instance you may think that Tim Berners-Lee and Google Research were the key folks involved.

 

Slide5Slide6

Instead what you can also find is that early in the dialogue an individual who has relatively few followers is instrumental in making the conversation spread.

Timing is everything

imageif you also analyse when people tweeted about the event, the amount conversation does closely mirror the actual main conference itself. Nevertheless, the thousand tweets in advance were as we already know populated by who we would know to be the idea starters and leaders of the event.

image

The second analysis focussed on the time in the day when the tweets were made. These also coincided with keynotes and social gatherings post event.

Quoting a favourite adage of mine, we need to fish where the fish are. If we hope to have any chance of engaging with the people that count, we need to make sure we engage at the right time.

Who is influential – link to top influencers on TweetLevel for #smwldn

image

What you can clearly see is that this list isn’t biased to the most popular but instead draws its focus on:

  • Context
  • How important they are to the flow of information
  • Timing

image

What does this mean?

As we continually look to identify and understand influence, we must instead look to understand engagement behaviours. This means looking to engage early in the conversation with the people that count knowing that they will be the idea starters as the milestone continues. We need to also build relationships with the curators, knowing that even though they have a limited audience, their connections are vital to enable a conversation to flow.


Analyst Relations - What I do

To provide an added balance, Jeremiah Owyang has contributed the view from the analyst’s perspective

Industry Analyst

To download these images go to Flickr for Analyst Relations (from @jonnybentwood) or Analyst (from @jowyang)


This is the sermon to commiserate the death of the influencer.

This expert who would magically solve problems by regurgitating a tweet or a blog post. This magus who cared little for context, community or conversation but whose narcissism for their own popularity made them believe their power of their own word.

But on this sad day, we welcome a newcomer to our fold. This person, this new influential can finally be identified and engaged with in a way that is appropriate to their behavioural characteristics.

RIP the social media influencer and long live the new influential.

To listen to the audio to go with this presentation, please visit the BrighTalk page



clip_image001

Fishing where the fish are is something that bears have known for years but many folk who use Twitter seem to have forgotten. We cannot simply think our message will be heard by tweeting ourselves which is why we try and target influential people via tools like TweetLevel and BlogLevel.

However, this isn’t the only way of doing it. What I have been doing successfully over the past year is taking part in twitter chats. These are regular conversations that take place about a specific subject on twitter normally for an hour and owned by a specific hashtag.

For example,

· if you are targeting the SME market then look no further than #smallbizchat

· If you are focussing on innovation then #Innochat on Thursdays is the one for you

· Are you a small business that uses LinkedIn (client) – why not use the chat that shares best ways for businesses to use this service on #linkedinchat

My personal favourites are #influencechat and #measurepr – but suggest you look at this larger list to see which ones can help you

Any questions, just chat with me @jonnybentwood

 

End note: My thanks to Judy Gombita for pointing this list out to me who also wants me to plug Windmill Networking #PR column Wed, Social Capital Byte: Institutionalizing Parity in B2B Relationships


BrightTalk - RIP the social media influencer

To attend this BrightTalk conference click here

Date: February 9 at 4pm UK, 11am EST

This is the sermon to commiserate the death of the influencer. This expert and all-encompassing figure who would magically solve marketers problems by regurgitating a tweet, a blog post or by liking a Facebook page. This magus who cared little for context, community or conversation but whose narcissism for their own popularity made them believe their power of their own word.

But on this sad day, we welcome a newcomer to our fold. This person, this new influential – who understands the way knowledge flows can finally be identified and engaged with in a way that is appropriate to their behavioural characteristics. RIP the social media influencer and long live the new influential.


T’is the season to be jolly and take part in a quiz or two. These jokes come from the very best of the crackers – we tried this in the office and it didn’t take long for the groans and guffaws to filter their way back to my desk. How long will it take you to get all 15 answers…

  1. Why was the AA man crying? He was heading for a B______
  2. I tried ringing the Swine Flu Helpline, but all I got was C_____
  3. What’s the difference between snowmen and snow-women? S______
  4. What’s the quickest way to kill a circus troupe? Go for the J______
  5. As Sean Connery said when some books fell on his head, “I’ve only __ ______ to blame”
  6. The scarecrow was awarded the OBE for being O_______ in his F_____
  7. Who is the coolest guy in the hospital? The U___-S____ guy…
  8. …and when he’s on holiday? The H____ R________ guy
  9. Statistically most dwarves are sad, __ out of ___ aren’t _______
  10. Where do you find a tortoise with no legs? ______ you  ______ ____
  11. A termite walks into a pub and asks: “Is the B__ T______ here?”
  12. How does Bob Marley like his doughnuts? W’_____ _____…
  13. …and what about the Wailers? Well, they ____ ______ ___
  14. Why did Santa call the Mind Helpline? Because he was worried about his M_____ E____
  15. I bought a litre and a half of Tippex yesterday – _____ _________