Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Monetizing social networks and the valuation of social media connectivity – 8: social media diversity and where a high influence score represents influence

Posted in macroeconomics, social networking and business by Timothy Platt on February 23, 2012

This is my eighth 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 42-47 and 49 for parts 1-7). I have been analyzing and dissecting out the details as to what an influence score is and what it measures as a metric of monetizable value. In Part 7: objectivity and influencing from a genuine voice I discussed the valence, if you will, of social media influence where it can be positive and supportive or negative and damaging, or neutral in value even when of seemingly significant scale. Here I turn back to the issue of scale and amplitude, and my focus of discussion is going to be on what that means. As a foretaste, I note that a social networker might have significant reach and social media influence in some venues but little if any in others – and even when just considering a single high value target market and its audience demographics.

I would start this discussion by raising some fundamental questions, starting with a set of issues related to the target audience that a high-influence-score networker and communicator might connect with:

• What social media venues and outlets do members of a target demographic use, and with consistent and even demographic-defining reliability and consistency? Here, I include social networking and sharing sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, short message sharing sites like Twitter and instant messaging tools, blogs and other personalized web site-like venues with the interactive features they can include, online crowd sourced and related review and opinion sharing sites and more. Where do these people go when they reach out to connect online?
• What do they look for and do there? This is a crucial question, as many if not most social networkers and social media participants come to develop preferences and assumptions as to the types and nature of the connecting that they will participate in, that will vary depending on where they are online. Meshing message type and topic, and level of seriousness to the venue that it is to be shared through, and that to audience members and their preferences is important if a high influence score is going to translate into high positive influence value. This becomes particularly important where such sharing is public and publically visible, as is the case when posting to a Facebook wall. And if you as a high influence score spokesperson post content to your wall that the people you are trying to influence will not read or respond to – because they don’t go to Facebook for that stuff, this has consequences too.

Now let’s consider this from the perspective of the high influence social media connector.

• What message are you trying to convey? I am assuming here that as per Part 7 this is a message that you can convey with a genuine voice and as a compelling spokesperson. But what is it as a core message and with any core branding included?
• What social media channels and venues would this best fit into? So for example, would this convey an effective message in 140 characters or less, perhaps with an included URL? Then it might be effective Twitter content. Would this do best with a longer format? A blog posting might be better, and perhaps with twitter feeds directing twitter users to those postings. Would a YouTube style video work best, and if so where should you place or imbed it for effective reach with your target audience, and with effective presentation of what you would share?

This posting is all about connecting the dots, and about reaching out to the right people in the right ways and in the right places, where a message can be effective and where a target audience for that message would be receptive. And spokesperson influence score is a mutable variable across multiple factors that go into determining that.

I have been peeling back potential assumptions about influence scores in this and the past few series installments, and I will turn to one more set of assumptions in the next. As a marketer or business person, you do not always get to choose your own spokespersons. This becomes important where viral marketing is considered, and it can arise in the context of high influence score networkers and social media participants as well as from the cumulative action of many individually less influential connectors. This all impacts on what a social influence score can operationally mean.

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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