Power Influencers in Asia Pacific – #SMWHKinfluencers – Thursday, September 27th, 2012
Online influencers and buying friends and followers on social media has been a pretty hot topic lately, especially with Mitt Romney being accused of doing so when he leapt from about 5,000 to 94,000 followers in just a few days.
This week we got to meet and learn from some of the regions real influencers, or do we mean well followed socialistas?
Jay is Hong Kong’s most-tweeted person and author of Mastering Story, Community & Influence: How To Use Social Media. He quickly questions the real meaning of the word “influence”. To make us think deeper, he says: “If you think you’re a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else’s dog around.” We all have influence and we also have an influence circle.
Some say that ‘influence’ is your power to affect others. In the advertising industry, this idea is the goal. But Jay warns that clicking a ‘Like’ button doesn’t mean anything other than that the ‘Like’ button was clicked. Later, Rudi Leung, General Manager of DDB Tribal Group says: “Think about scheduling content and content plans more than just analytics. It’s not just about follower numbers.”
Another definition of influence is ‘the power to convene and tell a good story’. That’s more social, isn’t it? Jay points out the difference between mass media and social media. The aforementioned definition, the one advertising agencies care more about, is mass. But social is social. What is talked about around the water cooler? How much do people want to hear what you have to say? That’s social and that deeper relationship is likely to give a stronger influence over someone else.
We have all been influencing our whole lives. As a baby, you most definitely influence your parents and change their lives. But as we grow, the way we influence gets more sophisticated. With social media, we’re almost like kids again, making knee-jerk reactions to what goes on around us.
Singaporean travel blogger Eunice Khong turned her passion into work by creating a blog from all of her travel photos.
“It was a good way to learn about marketing partners, working with airlines and hotels, to raise profiles and to find ways of being sponsored to travel and curate more interesting content,” she shares. Her work with Tourism Tasmania included a trip of her own and a competition for her blog readers to win a trip to Tasmania too.
Eunice had to learn about search engine optimization (SEO), too. The easier, more accessible and searchable the blog is, the more readers it will have. The takeaway? Facebook has no SEO for users, so don’t just rely on that. On top, for genuine interaction, Eunice found that people prefer Facebook. The takeaway? It’s better to have more than one platform through which to connect.
If this sounds a little complicated, Rudi assures us that companies should try things out for themselves first. “We’re all learning because social media is so new, so if you can build a strong team, see what you can do.” The takeaway? Eunice taught herself how to design a blog, SEO and some HTML. A few basics are not so hard to learn and will really help you to understand. Jay compares it to cooking and trying new ingredients. The takeaway? Design and function is important but your sphere of influence, your audience, is even more important.
If you’re stuck for content from time-to-time, the panel agree that you can gain interest by being a curator or content aggregator. “Be a master story teller, demonstrate your thought leadership and curate the coolest news in your industry and customers will trust you,” says Jay, Rudi rates his blog at about 50 per cent business to business news and with good SEO, you might get picked up more too.
Should you want to measure your social media influence score, (which you might no longer think relevant) Jay suggests Klout http://klout.com/home. Klout has recently added a column called ‘Your Moments.’ It brings Foursquare, Instagram, YouTube and more into Klout, showing you what posts got you the most views and reposts etc. You can then start to understand which of your posts work in your influence sphere. The takeaway? Consider how easy and simple it is to measure influence. While Klout balances your influence score with the number of followers you have, it might be taken with a pinch of salt.
But what do we really want? At the end of the day, we want to feel loved. “There are two types of people in the world,” Jay quips. “Those who count their followers and those who lie about it.” We want more followers – it makes us think we have social proof about ourselves. But take heed with Jay and don’t worry about your Klout score. The takeaway? When you get into analytics, it’s just not that simple. Rudi adds that you need balance – think about scheduling content and content plans more than just analytics.
If Klout and analytics aren’t your thing, Rudi provides a more natural way to decide if you and your content is worth following. Imagine sitting next to yourself. Are you interesting? Do you want to sit next to yourself?
Tips on becoming an influencer
- Reciprocation is always important on social media. It’s part of the currency, the exchange of news and ideas create the value of social media;
- You’re sharing with all of your followers, so be consistent with valuable content;
- Think twice about the words you use;
- Don’t forget negativity attracts negativity, so your negative posts will just attract more of the same;
- Give before you take – help someone out, repost, then see in the future how they can help you (“deposit before you withdraw”);
- Retweeting is the best way to get retweeted – it builds an exchange of promotion;
- Always say thanks; and
- That said, be yourself – you don’t have to be perfect.
And if you’re a brand looking for power influencers to work with
- Don’t just use A-list bloggers;
- Find bloggers who already love you; and
- Audiences can usually tell when a blogger is paid to blog – the sentiment and feeling is different.
Cohn & Wolfe-impactasia
Social Media Week, Hong Kong