Some of your email subscribers and social media followers are far more valuable than others, and it’s not based on their purchasing history. The amount of influence any customer has on others in their social circle is key to determining their “influence index,” and there are now ways to categorize your clients based on their “influencing ability.”
The Traditional Model Is Upside Down
The traditional model of purchasing advertising is based on the size of an audience for a particular channel. If you were interested in radio ads, you would check “the book” to obtain esoteric data such AQH share and cume, correlate that to the best deal (cost per listener) you could finagle, and then buy broadcast spots accordingly.
Social media has turned this marketing model on its head as the platforms act as nothing more than conduits for direct interaction with your client base. A brand now simply establishes a social media presence and then through the power of its promotional savvy starts accumulating followers or fans. It would seem to the uninitiated that it’s a sheer numbers game and the brand with the most adherents wins, but that would be a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of social media. The key word on social networks is sharing, therefore a follower who loves your brand and buys your product is nowhere near as enticing a target as a follower who loves your brand and influences lots of other people to buy your product.
Locating the Influence Indexers
How can you determine which ones out of the thousands or millions of names on your lists are the primary individuals who can become brand evangelizers? Several websites have sprung up recently to provide marketers the critical evaluation of social influence index. One is klout.com, which takes data from social networks and scores users on the basis of:
- How many people the user influences
- How much the user influences those people
- How influential those other people are
The final “people ranking” is called a Klout Score and is a remarkably accurate illustration of how valuable any social network participant is on a scale of 1 to 100.
You Can’t Afford the Top Klout-ers
Of course the top percentiles in Klout Scoring are composed of celebrities, personalities and luminaries, with a smattering of top bloggers and social media gadflies. Most of these influencers are represented by top entertainment agencies and they won’t click a mouse to promote a brand unless there’s a huge check changing hands… usually in the millions.
The key for email and social media marketers to achieve cost-effective and highly efficient evangelism is to recognize within their subscriber and fan base those individuals with Klout Scores bubbling just under the very top. They may not move as many Air Jordans as Michael, but these social networkers will have built up their high influence score in a wide variety of means, from writing a respected blog to being a microniche guru on a specialty forum site. The bottom line of their promotion is always the same: If they are enthusiastic about your brand, they will convince many others to become your customer.
Allow the Influencers to “Evaluate”
Now that the structure is in place to make a determination as to the individual Klout of all of your subscribers or fans, we now find that the conventional advertising model has made a complete 180 degree turn. A brand no longer buys a channel to reach its audience, it “attracts” selected members of the audience to go sell the product to the rest of them! It’s considered gauche to simply email these high Klout-ers and offer them a paycheck to hawk your wares. The more widely accepted model is to present them with merchandise “for their evaluation and review” and let the chips fall where they may.
Klout and the various other social influence indexers may represent the next step in email and social media marketing. Identifying and targeting the customers who can portray and amplify your sales message to entirely new audiences will likely be a primary vector for success in online marketing for the rest of this decade.