Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Monetizing social networks and the valuation of social media connectivity – 6: social networking and connection strategies and the focus of influence

Posted in macroeconomics, social networking and business by Timothy Platt on February 13, 2012

This is my sixth installment in a series on the valuation of online social networking connections, and more generally of online social media connections (see Macroeconomics and Business, postings 42-46 for parts 1-5). I have written my most recent two postings in this series about a new and emerging metric that seeks to capture at least relative valuation potential that can be developed from social media connections: influence scores (see Part 4 and Part 5.) And I continue that part of this larger discussion here, at least as a starting point. My goal in this posting is to discuss how analysis of networking participant influence scores would connect to the basic social networking taxonomy model I use to outline how online social networks function as communities.

• Who does a high influence networker influence as to target audience demographics?
• What target demographics would a business most effectively market to, in promoting and advancing its products and services, leading to completed sales?
• How do the high influence networker’s audience demographics mesh with those of the business’ target marketing demographics?

If a high influence networker’s circle of influence is enriched for the types of people who the business is trying to reach, with a significantly higher percentage of its members belonging to that marketing demographic than would be found in the general public, then this high influence networker and social media participant would make an effective spokesperson and avenue for reaching a market audience – just assuming here that they positively influence others.

I outline several types of high value, high influence networkers in my social media taxonomy posting (reiterating the pertinent terms and definitions here):

• Hub networkers – people who are well known and connected at the hub of a specific community with its demographics and its ongoing voice and activities.
• Boundary networkers or demographic connectors – people who may or may not be hub networkers but who are actively involved in two or more distinct communities and who can help people connect across the boundaries to join new communities.
• Boundaryless networkers (sometimes called promiscuous networkers) – people who network far and wide, and without regard to community boundaries. These are the people who can seemingly always help you find and connect with someone who has unusual or unique skills, knowledge, experience or perspective and even on the most obscure issues and in the most arcane areas.

If a business is trying to connect with and market to a very specific single demographic and it knows what that demographic is, then a well-placed and selected hub networker who is influential there, would probably be a best choice to seek out and involve.

If a business is trying to reach new audiences, or if it is uncertain as to precisely where its best marketing audiences actually are, boundary networkers and boundaryless networkers may important here too, for the business to connect and positively involve in new directions.

For a truly disruptively new innovation it may be crucial to bring in and involve boundaryless networkers as high influence enablers – and mine the connections that come in from them for insight into what marketing demographics they would most naturally belong to.

Effectively capitalizing on the social media influence of an effectively connected hub networker who is active in the types of communities that the business would seek to market to, means a very focused return on effort made to influence and connect. Influence and efforts to connect and share information in support of a product or service on the part of a high influence social networker would be more diffused if they are also or even primarily networking out of the realistic markets for that business – but that is not a problem where the best market may be new and disruptive too.

I am going to continue this discussion with my next series installment where I will delve into the issues of what constitutes positive influence. As a foretaste of that posting I note that conveying a genuine appearance carries more weight than simply coming across as a paid spokesperson, and that genuine voices do positively influence. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Macroeconomics and Business. You can also find this and related postings at Social Networking and Business.

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