Every and then someone comes out with a phrase that is an epiphany to me. This time it is what Joe Chernov exclaimed when he said:

You’ve gotta go through the eyes to get to the brain

…and so the infographic was born.

Through Joe’s blog, he has now created an updated version of the Blog Tree showing which blogs are the most influential that have been created over the past year. As an aside i am obviously delighted that Joe decided to use BlogLevel as a way to determine influence. To understand a bit more about the Blog Tree, I have copied below a post originally published on Edelman Digital by David Armano

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I recently had an opportunity to catch up with Joe Chernov—Joe is the VP of Content Marketing for Eloqua, Co-chair of WOMMA member ethics panel and also the brain behind the “Blog Tree” series of infographics. Joe and I discussed the relevancy of blogs, influence, and today’s most significant business challenges for marketers.

David Armano: Tell us more about the “Blog Tree”: Who came up with the idea and in a world of Facebooking, Tweeting, why is a blog tree relevant?

Joe Chernov: I laugh when I think of this story. I came up with the concept – this sorta feel-good, tranquil visualization – while boxing. I literally dropped my gloves, grabbed my phone and called Leslie Bradshaw (my partner at data visualization firm JESS3). At the end of my rant, I half expected her to no longer be on the other end of the line. But she loved it. Leslie is a heady person, totally high concept. So she went with it, adding to the idea, changing it. She even suggested gnomes. But fortunately we drew the line at forest creatures. Anyway, a “blog tree” is relevant now because the jig is up on “best of” lists. Everyone knows that a “top blogs” list is a SEO trick masquerading as value. It’s self-serving aggregation. The Blog Tree is curation. It’s a visual exploration of what content matters and why.

DA: You decided to use Edelman’s BlogLevel to rank blogs listed on the tree. What drove your decision and more importantly what do you think are the indicators of successful blog?

JC: We went with BlogLevel for several reasons. To me, the Edelman brand is synonymous with “trust” and I think that a valuable blog is one that earns the readers’ trust. Take someone like April Dunford (Rocketwatch blog). She may not have the traffic of a top 20 blog, but I trust her perspective as much as I trust, say, The Economistmagazine. That has to count for something. It’s also worth noting that today’s Blog Tree is our “new growth” edition, meaning it’s only blogs that are less than two years old, so raw traffic is a poor proxy for success for these blogs. BlogLevel looks at much more than traffic. It gives a holistic perspective on a blog – influence, trust, engagement.

DA: Eloqua’s focus seems to be on scale, measurement and automation of marketing. Let’s take one of the three and dig deeper—how should marketers be measuring success these days?

JC: Ultimately it comes down to revenue. To what extent are your marketing efforts generating revenue, shortening sales cycles, or reducing attrition? Historically, marketers have been great at treating symptoms. The client is introducing a new product? We prescribe a massive PR launch, point-of-sale collateral, some influential endorsements, etc. Eloqua is focused on helping companies diagnose which efforts contributed to what amount of revenue. I think where Eloqua’s goals and the industry’s goals are tightly aligned.

DA: Marketers are more challenged than ever in capturing and holding the attention of the people they wish to reach and take action. Given your position on WOMMA’s ethics panel, what are some of the best practices when it comes to ethical practices, which yield results?

JC: First off, I get it. I am a marketer too. I know how incredibly hard it is to “get heard” on the noisy social Web. But attempting to short-circuit the system by obfuscating identity, creating fake profiles – or inducing others to do these things on your behalf – ultimately never works. And the irony is that these tricks, even if they were to work, are unnecessary. The real power of the social Web lies in transparency. It’s why the Edelman brand identity is so powerful and timely right now: credibility on the social Web comes down to trust. It’s the single most important attribute you can earn. I’d say that the best practice is to ask yourself before any marketing program: If all aspects of this campaign were made public, would my audience trust me more or less? If you even have to pause before answering, then I’d revisit the plan.

DA: Back to the “blog tree”: this year’s graphic surfaces some new voices compared to last. What is your prediction for blogging in the next year? Can we expect another tree?

JC: I was talking to my brother about how the first half of super hero movies is always more interesting than the second half. He said something interesting. He said, “Becoming is always more interesting than became.” That’s exactly why I think the New Growth edition is more interesting than the original Blog Tree. C’mon, most people already know you, Fred Wilson, Valeria Maltoni, and Brian Solis. To help people discover Caterina Fake’s personal blog or the incredible data visualizations on Information is Beautiful or the blog/community built around Stanford professor Jennifer Aaker’s book “The Dragonfly Effect”… well, that’s value of a higher order. We’ll keep The Blog Tree series going for as long as the public finds the infographics valuable. We have a few ideas already.

Thanks for your time Joe. Eloqua’s new “blog tree” can be found here and you can find Joe’s own blog here.



Could it be summed up as ‘make it good, not crappy’?

These were the wise words suggested to me by Dan Thornton when I mentioned this conference on twitter this morning.

Web conference: 20 September, 1pm UK – Register Here

However, in my opinion there are four fundamental pillars about content which I will discuss in greater detail tomorrow:

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  • The content mind-set: needs to be hardwired to the core values of the brand
  • Engaging content: needs to dynamic and interactive
  • Relevant content: move to the publisher model. Content is about what people want to see
  • Pervasive content: Needs to in the best format so that it can resonate around the web.

I hope you can attend the conference.


IIARWho is the analyst that makes the difference for you?

Which firm has most successfully helped you make the right decisions?

The IIAR is now taking votes for the coveted Analyst of the Year competition. You can read more about it on their blog

Most importantly vote …NOW!


TweetLevel and BlogLevel are two purpose built tools for the PR industry that aim to be a GPS for navigating influence. At its heart is an open and transparent algorithm that seeks to measure who is important within each social media channel.

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Resting behind the methodology are several key insights:

Influence without context is irrelevant

Understanding measurement is more than simply putting a name into an algorithm. It’s a process. If you are looking at influence, then go for Justin Bieber – however, if you are looking to get the right people to speak about you and engage on your behalf then understanding context is critical. This is what the first step in TweetLevel that we always recommend anyone follows is context. Using Boolean logic, anyone can enter a search term to identify who are currently the most influential people about a certain subject. Only when you have identified who these people can you source relevant measurement metrics. The process that it follows is:

  1. Which people have the largest share of voice about a specific search topic
  2. Ranking the top 100 people by their SOV, we then import these names into TweetLevel to identify their influence score
  3. We recommend that brands should focus on people with a score between 65 and 85. Above that score people are significant but are in the realms of the “Today Show” and PR pros must question how likely is it that their message will want to to be heard by this target.

Much as we would like to engage with every relevant person, the sad truth is that most people do not have the time or resources to do so. We therefore need to prioritise which people to focus on. This process explains how to find them.

Popularity does not equal influence

The above statement is bold and almost 100% true. I am not naive if you are popular then by default you are more likely to be influential. However, this is just one factor that can measure how important someone is. The numbers of followers someone has is interesting to me but not as key as how somebody engages in relevant conversations or create ideas that then resonate through the social web.

Engagement is not the same as activity

People have long understood the difference between broadcasting and engaging. As communication channels become more dynamic and interactive, true influence is derived by having two-way dialogues, asking questions and by posting interesting and informative content.

This is the time of the new influential – idea starters and amplifiers are both influential in their own way

If you compare the lists of top tweeters from TweetLevel with other tools on the market, there will be a marked difference in that in our lists you will see some people with comparatively few followers and yet with a higher influence score than their peers who may be extremely popular. The reason for this is that TweetLevel identifies which people create ideas which are then amplified. This isn’t to say that both types of people aren’t important but more that they are both key targets and should be engaged with.

We are at a tipping point where sociology and technology can assist us in engagement

imageContinuing the argument above, we are at a wonderful position whereby sociology and technology are merging to assist us in understanding how to engage with different audiences in the most appropriate manner. TweetLevel can identify what type of person an individual is by their online behaviour. We call this the ‘Topology of Influence

We believe that influence is derived by how information flows between different people. Backed-up by the Web Science team at the University of Southampton, influential people can be: idea starters, amplifiers, curators, commentators or viewers.

People within these different categories all portray behavioural attributes that when complemented are more likely to promote the spread of a message. For example with Idea Starters I would engage in a deep structured discussion and with amplifiers I would understand their need to satisfy their readership and provide them with pre-packaged information that they can easily repurpose.

TweetLevel measures influence and more…

Understanding which people engage with is just half the story. Nothing irks me more than hearing someone has emailed their boss saying that “so-and-so has just retweeted us and they have 30 thousand followers”. Big Deal.

What is more important is ‘has there been a significant change in the amount of conversation that you have catalysed’ and ‘defining whether people are talking and sharing the points you want them to’. These are key measurement metrics which Tweet and BlogLevel also measures.

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However, I would always counsel having a consistent measurement approach:

  • At the beginning of a campaign: to set a benchmark and ensure your message is relevant
  • During the campaign: are there peaks at the right time? Do we need to course correct, issues hijack or amend our message?
  • At the end of the campaign: how have we done? Have the right people engaged? Has the right message been echoed and spread?

What the tools can and can’t do

TweetLevel and BlogLevel are tools that help PR pros take what would be either an expensive or time consuming process into a free (these sites don’t cost) and quick job (reduces the analysis time from days to minutes). However, they don’t fully automate the identification or measurement role – this is intentionally done as a human mind always needs to validate and sanity check the results.

There are of course other excellent tools in the market. However, TweetLevel and BlogLevel are not trying to compete with them. These are purpose built to mirror the way we work so we do not need to retrofit our work to complement their tools. These are games or perks but simply a way that we can do our job better.

Of course there are some added extras that go beyond measurement – for example identifying what individuals most frequently discuss, who they influence, who influences them and other people who talk about similar subjects.

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I like to say that these tools are in continuous beta. As new developments arise or demand for specific features are required, we will update the tools accordingly.

What’s next?

To answer this simple question I would like to refer you to a simple quote that Jeremiah Owyang once said to me:

If you want to influence me, be in a conversation with me – wherever that conversation takes place.

I will be discussing both TweetLevel and BlogLevel at the forthcoming #measurePR chat on 30 August at 12-1 pm ET. I hope you can participate and join the debate. @jenzings will be hosting and my thanks to @shonali for organising.


imageTime in summing up what were the best Twitter moments of 2010, named TweetLevel’s partnership with MTV within the top 10.

We are proud of this achievement and the way that this energized MTV’s customers to help evangelise its service. This post is therefore part of Forrester’s Groundswell Awards submission documents – would love to know whether you think it should win too.

Follow Me: The Search for the First MTV Twitter Jockey

The creation of an innovative social media monitoring tool, that help turned MTV’s search for a new ‘Twitter Jockey’ into what Time magazine described as, “one of the top 10 Twitter moments of 2010”

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Background

MTV wanted to re-establish itself as the go-to point for 18-35 year olds, who were starting to find the channel’s broadcasting approach outdated, especially compared to the levels of interaction and engagement they were experiencing in social media.

The channel’s solution was to stage an ‘Apprentice-style’ reality show, to find their own social media correspondent – a ‘Twitter Jockey’ or ‘TJ.’ In the true spirit of Web 2.0, the identification and selection of MTV’s first TJ would be ‘crowd-sourced’ i.e. chosen from and by the MTV audience.

The Challenge

The difficulty MTV faced – and challenged the agency to solve – was how to create a fair way to evaluate the performance of each participant.

Not only did the solution have to be fair but its methodology had to be transparent to create a winning score that matched the attributes of an MTV employee.

MTV demanded a tool that would be 100% reliable and provide an accurate way to illustrate each contestant’s influence, as opposed to popularity, on Twitter.

Strategy

Working in partnership with Twitter and MTV, the agency created a unique tool that compiles Twitter data from over 30 sources and feeds the data through an algorithm to rank an individual according to four weightings:

  • Popularity (i.e. How many people follow you)
  • Influence (i.e. What you say is interesting, relevant and many people listen)
  • Engaged (i.e. You actively participate within your community)
  • Trusted (i.e. People believe what you say)

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A website was created to allow people to identify their MTV TJ score, based on a real-time, weighted aggregate of the four ranking metrics listed above.

 

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The Campaign Roll-Out

The competition was rolled out as a five phase project.

Step 1: Validation of tool

To validate the algorithm, a list of all the celebrities on Twitter was published on the agency web site as the Celebrity Twitter Index – this produced global coverage including Sky News and CNN.

Step 2: Public Launch

Within 48 hours of launch, over 1 million data requests had been retrieved. Coverage of this new product was incredible – including PRNewswire stating that it was one of the five most important PR innovations of the year.

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Step 3: MTV beta launch

Working in tandem with Amex (sponsor partner), Twitter (technology partner) and MTV, a customised version of TweetLevel was incorporated into Viacom’s network (parent company). For a six week period, the site was stress-tested to ensure there would be 100% reliability.

Step 4: Media launch

An integrated broadcast, online, on air, Facebook and Twitter campaign launched in June 2010 to huge acclaim.

TweetLevel was used firstly to narrow-down who the top 20 finalists should be, from the thousands who applied, to eliminate contestants and finally identify the winner.

Step 5: Competition launch

The campaign ran from July 7 2010 to August 9 2010 and culminated in Gabi Gregg winning the contest to become the first ever Twitter Jockey.

MTV selected Edelman’s TweetLevel as our measurement tool because the four criteria it uses to evaluate people are the same principles we believe our first-ever TJ needs to have. TweetLevel also gives people handy tips for improving their scores, so we expect the rivalries to be fierce as the contestants compete against each other. – Dave Sirulnick, MTV Executive Vice President

Success

The competition was a phenomenal success with TweetLevel providing instant results. Highlights of the campaign include:

  • Time recognised campaign as one of top 10 twitter moments of 2010 – link
  • Zero downtime for duration of competition
  • Mashable provided frequent positive coverage – link 1, link 2, link 3
  • New York Times published articles prior and post the competition – link 1, link 2
  • US generated coverage on all key tier 1 media including CNN, New York Times and Mashable
  • TweetLevel featured on CNN, Sky News, Brand Republic
  • For MTV’s target audience of 18-35 year old in the US, the campaign managed to ignite and create conversations around MTV and its engagement through social media that hitherto had not been possible
  • At the time of submission over 130,000 people were part of the Facebook page and a further 25,000 people were following on twitter

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Today, we’re excited to share with you two of Edelman’s latest innovations:   BlogLevel, and the “2.0 version” of TweetLevel, originally launched in 2009.  Both tools are designed to identify who is influential on a particular topic, in any language, on a designated platform.  TweetLevel finds the influentials on Twitter, and BlogLevel does the same in the blogosphere.

www.tweetlevel.comwww.bloglevel.com

How They Work

Using a specially developed algorithm, TweetLevel and BlogLevel track bloggers and tweeters in any language and  in any country, and score them according to their influence, using 40 distinct metrics. People who rank highest are those who create unique ideas that are then amplified, and those who engage with their followers by providing informative and relevant content.

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How These Can Be Used

Everyone now has access to these tools to gain real-time intelligence and plan and measure campaigns on your behalf. As the graphics on the left illustrate, we’re able to find the influentials on specific topics, and measure:

  • Buzz around topic
  • Who’s relevant and influential on that topic
  • Within the context of the topic, what else are people talking about
  • Within the context of the topic, which web links are most frequently shared
  • For any given tweeter or blogger, understand what they talk about, who influences them, who they influence and who else is talking about related subjects

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How These Tools Are Different, And Why They Matter

A recent New York Times article referenced “the democratization of influence,”  a paradigm shift we’ve been studying for some time.   This is rich territory for marketers and communicators.

Most of the current tools for measuring influence focus exclusively on Twitter and Facebook profiles and ignore other online activities like blogging.   With BlogLevel and TweetLevel, we can consider influence more holistically.  For example, it’s clear that blogs are more influential when their content is search-optimized and discussed in social media channels like Twitter, so those are metrics we’ve built into BlogLevel.

BlogLevel and TweetLevel, and the underlying algorithm, differ from existing  tools in a few other ways:

  • Distinct metrics for “idea starters” vs. “amplifiers”:  BlogLevel and TweetLevel distinguish between people who are “idea starters”– the people who originate ideas or are first to surface news – and the “amplifiers”’ who spread other peoples’ ideas. Both are influential, but BlogLevel and TweetLevel recognize and emphasize their influence differently.
  • More engagement = better rankings: TweetLevel gives higher rankings on people who engage in conversation vs. simply post their views.  TweetLevel analyzes every tweet to help us match brands and issues with the right people, increasing the efficiency and relevance of our influencer outreach and engagement efforts on your behalf.

Although we developed BlogLevel and TweetLevel primarily for our own use, we’re making both tools and the algorithm publicly available so that other communicators can contribute to the tools’ usage and evolution.

As always, we’re grateful to you who support and inspire Edelman innovation.   We welcome your comments and questions.

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Constellation Research will today be announcing their SuperNova awards to recognise leaders who have overcome the odds to successfully apply emerging and disruptive technologies for their organizations.

Opinion: In my view this is a smart move. It is near impossible to create a competitive platform to rank vendors that will come close to the MQ. What Ray has done, is move the goal posts and create a new ranking scheme that firms will love to win. Whether successful companies will see a surge in the fortunes in the same way as a ‘leader’ does in a quadrant remains to be seen.

The copy below shows which awards people can be nominated for as well as the independent judging panel.

In Search of Protostars

Most award programs recognize the technology suppliers for their advancements in the market.  Few, if any programs, have recognized individuals for their courage in battling the odds to effect change in their organization.  The Constellation SuperNova Awards celebrate the explorers, the pioneers, and the unsung heroes who successfully put new technologies to work.  More importantly, these leaders have created disruptions in their market.

“Applying technology innovation to effect business results requires exceptional organizational leadership and teamwork. It is not enough to simply implement the technology. To ensure success, these leaders had to build buy-in relationships across all levels of the organization – appealing to rational and emotional senses – as well as make tough calls in system delivery to make change easier”, noted Amy Wilson, Vice-President and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Inc.

An all star cast of judges will identify applicants who embody the human spirit to innovate, overcome adversity, and successfully deliver market changing approaches.  Applicants will be subjected to a vigorous set of criteria that reflect real-world and pragmatic experience.  Semifinalists will be selected in five categories: social business, mobile enterprise, cloud computing, advanced analytics, and emerging technologies.

THE DETAILS

Twitter: @SuperNovaAwards
Website: www.supernovaawards.com (Not Up Yet)

Time Lines
June 6, 2011 – First day of submissions
July 31, 2011 – Last day of submissions
August 15, 2011 – Protostars (semi-finalists) announced
November 4th, 2011 – SuperNovas (finalists) announced

All Star Judging Panel
Our judging panel comes from the best of the best.  We’ve mixed an esteemed group of media professionals and industry experts with our analysts.  Judges have agreed to volunteer their time in the evaluation of the submissions.  The 2011 judging panel includes:

Social Business
Aaron Pearson, Senior Vice-President – Weber Shandwick (PR Agency Lead)
Jeff Ashcroft, Vice President – Constellation Research, Inc.
Barney Beal, Managing Editor – Tech Target
Paul Greenberg, President – The 56 Group, LLC, Constellation Board of Advisors
Esteban Kolsky, Founder – ThinkJar, Constellation Board of Advisors
Marshall Lager, Managing Principal – Third Idea Consulting, LLC
David Myron, Editor In Chief – CRM Magazine
Jon Swartz, Technology Reporter – USA Today

Mobile Enterprise
Kewal Varia, Managing Director – Sparks Communications (PR Agency Lead)
David Brousell, Editor-in-Chief – Thomas Publishing/Managing Automation
Bob Egan, Chief Analyst – Sepharim Group
Maribel Lopez, Vice President – Constellation Research, Inc.
Jason Maynard, Managing Director – Wells Fargo Securities
Mike Simons, Editor In Chief – ComputerWorldUK
Thomas Wailgum,  Co-Editorial Director – ASUG News

Advanced Analytics
Susan Thomas, CEO – Trainer Communic@tions (PR Agency Lead)
Courtney Bjorlin, Co-Editorial Director – ASUG News
Bridgette Chambers, CEO – America’s SAP User Group (ASUG), Constellation Board of Advisors
Douglas Henschen, Editor at Large – Information Week
Dennis Howlett, Blogger – ZD Net Irregular Enterprise, Constellation Board of Advisors
Chris Kanaracus, Technology Reporter – IDG News Service
Erin Kinikin – Board of Advisor – Constellation Research, Inc.
Amy Wilson – Vice President – Constellation Research, Inc.

Cloud Computing
Colette Ballou, President and CEO – Ballou PR (PR Agency Lead)
Larry Dignan, Editor-in-Chief – ZDNet
Zoli Erdos, Editor – Cloud Ave
Debra Lilley – Board of Advisor – Constellation Research, Inc. & Chairperson – UK Oracle Users Group
Frank Scavo, Vice President – Constellation Research, Inc.
Kash Rangan, Managing Director – Merrill Lynch
Krishnan Subramaninan, Industry Analyst and Researcher – KrishWorld & CloudAvenue
Alex Williams, Editor – ReadWrite Cloud & ReadWrite Enterprise

Emerging Tech
Vanessa Camones, Principal and Founder – theMIX Agency (PR Agency Lead)
Adrian Bowles,  Vice President – Constellation Research, Inc.
John Furrier,  Editor and Founder – SiliconAngle
Annalie Killian, Catalyst for Magic – AMP , Executive Producer – Amplify Festival
Paul Papadimitriou,  Vice President – Constellation Research, Inc.
Robert Scoble, Tech Evangelist – RackSpace
Alan Silberberg, Vice President – Constellation Research, Inc.

Awards Criteria
Judges will evaluate submissions in six key areas:

  1. Building the business case for exec sponsorship -  How did you overcome internal adversity for the project?  What was used to build the case for buy – in among the executives?  How did you fund the project?
  2. Applying change management critical success factors – What communication channels did you face?  How did the organization gain acceptance for new approaches? What worked?  What didn’t work?  What were your key lessons learned?
  3. Deploying innovative uses of emerging and disruptive technology – How did you determine which technology was feasible? Why did you choose the vendor or approach you chose for this technology?  How did IT and the business cooperate to apply new technologies?
  4. Measuring the metrics that matter – What metrics drove the business case?  Why were these metrics chosen to measure the impact of the technology?  How did you measure success with those technologies?
  5. Assessing the disruptiveness of the business model -  What was the impact to stakeholders (internal and external)? What was the impact to the business?  What was the impact on the competitive landscape?
  6. Coolness factor for the story -  How well was the story told?  Is this story usable for a panel on best practices?  Was this truly game changing? Can others learn and apply the lessons told?

THE REWARDS

All semifinalists will be invited to Constellation’s Connected Enterprise 2011, an invitation only innovation event in Scottsdale, Arizona from November 4th to 6th, 2011.  The three-day executive retreat will include mind expanding keynotes from visionaries and futurists, interactive best practices panels, The Constellation SuperNova Awards event, a golf outing, and an experiential spousal/partner program.

A select group of semi-finalists will be chosen to present on one of five best practice panels at the event.  The panelists will receive one innovation retreat invitation and one spousal/partner experiential invitation.  All semifinalists will become honorary SuperNova community members of Constellation Research.

All finalists will win a one -year subscription to Constellation’s Research Library and complimentary tickets to the Connected Enterprise 2012 event, an estimated value of $120,000 per winner.   Additional rewards will be announced as sponsors are added to the Constellation’s Connected Enterprise 2011 event.  For sponsorship details contact: sales (at) ConstellationRG (dot) com.


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It could be said Ed Keller and Jon Berry in writing The Influentials, discovered or at least articulated the importance of word of mouth.  They identified how one of humanity’s first forms of social influence—has become even more important and influential today for people making sense of the world.

The thing about highly influential people is they actively cultivate their influence. They view their influence as an asset and they invest in it and work on it. One of the best ways to get their attention is essentially to curate them and actively magnify their reach. – Michael Troiano

Keller and Berry thesis’ stated that one in every 10 Americans is what they call an “influential.” These people had a tremendous impact on the rest of society because their ideas and opinions are sought out by the friends, family and community members around them. The authors explain that the conversations they hold and the examples they set have the power to shape the community’s behaviours and attitudes.

The currency in influencer relations is ego. That’s the magic formula. How do you appeal to an ego in a way that you’re adding value without appearing like you’re appealing to that ego? – Joe Chernov

Social media has revolutionised many things but we believe that one biggest impacts has been on the nature of influence and the role of influentials.  Through the process of democratisation of authority the influential has been empowered and grown.  It seems hard to believe that as long ago as 2006 David Brain outlined the impact of this on the marketing world.

“So in communications and in the way brands and companies deport themselves to their customers and to their stakeholders the game is changing fast. The new model citizen who is increasingly participating and demanding a say and respect and, even a relationship, is not the person we used to know. They don’t believe us in the way the way they used to it is fundamental for most companies, brands, PR people and communicators.”

If marketers think social strategies and influencer strategies are the same thing, they are not getting it. Influencer strategies are most like traditional marketing. But social is so much more than just getting influencers and other third parties to carry your message into the marketplace. The whole influential chain is about understanding how the messages percolate and get transferred to multiple people. You need to understand your influencer heat map. Otherwise, you’ll focus on the big targets and miss where influence really takes place. –  Jonathan Yarmis

Essentially authority has seeped from the 10% that previously orchestrated the process of influence to everyone taking part in the conversation.  Today everyone in an online conversation can be a New Influential.  This is not to say that all these New influentials are born equal.  One of the defining features of online conversation is that it is visible – word of mouth made trackable.  This has enabled us to track influence and the interaction between influentials.

Our insight from this was dramatic as we found a small group certainly less than 1% who start new memes within a conversation we called these influentials idea starters.  These influentials had great authority but often relied on a bigger group around 10% of the conversation who we called amplifiers.  These are people who amplify ideas and circulate them within conversational communities.  Amplifiers often had professional or commercial motivations such as journalists, analysts but were also more often than not self created experts and avid sharers of information.  The third group of new influential we called curators these are those who look to put context around the conversation bring strands together and take it in new directions through adaption yet falling short of starting an entirely new meme.  The next group that we identified were commentators those who had a need to comment and add without giving deeply to the conversation often less influential their influence should not be ignored as when negative as in trolls a commentator can serious skew a conversation and opinion.  While we find very often commentators will often intervene to correct inaccuracies or a unfounded negative view.

Social and influencer strategies are two pieces of the same larger whole, which is outreach strategy. Anytime you’re trying to engage someone, you’re trying to accomplish four things. You want to engage them by letting them know you know who they are. You want to inform them of something that is of interest to them. You want to persuade them there’s more where that came from. And then you want to invite them into some kind of action-interaction world relationship. And then you want to lather, rinse, repeat, and replicate in scale. – Michael Dortch

Perhaps the controversial point about New Influentials is that everyone who takes part can everyone be influential.  But today taking part can simply be searching and reading. In the conversation this group who we call viewers don’t leave a foot print except through Google.  Indeed it is through Google and the impact of viewers on search results that these other groups become influential and evolve their role within a conversation.  Authority rests with the search patterns of those who simply observe in a democratic world.

All quotes sourced from Ramp Up Your ROI with Strong Influencer Strategies

Originally posted on Edelman’s technology blog, The Naked Pheasant