December 2011


Recently I have been updating my twitter account adding relevant followers to be list of people I want to regularly hear from.

The process is pretty simply, I have several columns setup on topics ranging from #influencechat, #ARchat to #measurepr. After a while, i recognise that there are some people whose tweets are interesting that I would like to keep track of regardless.

However, and this is where the twitterquette bit comes in, after I follow them, I frequently get a DM from them. At first i thought it was quite a nice thing to do but now I can’t stand it.

More often than not, they direct me to a link asking me to ACT. I have only just followed you – surely we haven’t built up the relationship for me to start clicking on the links you send me. Other times, its a tweet (un)sincerely thanking me for following them. Should I be flattered that they have setup tweetlater as a way of being sincere with there new followers. In my case, no. Auto-DMs should be first against the wall when the revolution comes (followed by real estate agents and bankers).

The simple rule, which everyone inherently knows is engagement. Why is this forgotten so much? A DM is more intrusive than an @reply so please limit your usage of it to when it is right.

Rant over. You may now eat (but use the cutlery from the outside in).

Image courtesy of nickmack.net

In Richard Edelman’s new blog post, he discuses that that in order to achieve resonance, a brand has to allow open conversations around a topic of societal interest. Brands have to be willing to risk losing control in exchange for gaining credibility. The three step process behind this has been defined by the Tuck Business School as ‘meaning management’.

TuckIn summary, a brand must first create awareness, followed by someone achieving association with the concept and only then can resonance be achieved.

This approach works exceptionally well when complemented by what we have been developing at the company for some time through the Topology of Influence.

Whereas the Tuck approach is bottom up, the topology methodology relies on targeting the smallest group first. The raison d’être behind this is that in order for a message to truly flow throughout the web/world then the most effective method is to engage firstly with the idea starters. Of course the approach should not be limited to this group but we should also actively target selected amplifiers and curators too.

topology

We are currently at a tipping point whereby sociology and technology are colliding enabling us to identify and engage with different kinds of influential people according to their behavioural characteristics.

It drives me mad how some brands are pushing the same marketing message at every ‘influencer’. My view is that we should adapt the strategy dependent upon the kind role that someone has in the topology.

For example, for idea starters you should have an argument. This kind of person does not want to be spammed with content but enjoy the rigour of a discussion that promotes or debates their theory. I tested this out personally by seeing if I could engage with someone whose time is in high demand. Instead of requesting a meeting, I sent them an email that referred to a premise they had championed and disagreed with it via a structured argument. The result – I was invited to meet with this ‘idea starter’ in person.

Conversely, this approach would be less successful with amplifiers. To engage with with this group, who do not have the time to get into deep discussion as they have numerous deadlines to manage to feed their high volume audiences, you need to send them pre-packaged content. This shouldn’t be a shock as it was the premise behind a press release. Of course there are other rules to apply (such as relevance, already having a relationship with the amplifier and appropriateness of delivered content).

There is a perfectly valid reason why we need to understand influence. Brands and marketers have limited time and money so we must engage with the people that count in the right manner. Only of we do this can we hope to have our message spread.

As much as the media industry would like to believe the age old saying ‘all publicity is good publicity’, research by Visable technologies comparing Macys Vs Kohl’s and Target Vs Walmart Twitter interactions demonstrated that this is not always the case.

The report compares the amount of tweets sent out and the level of customer sentiment by the four retailers in the wake of ‘Black Friday’, when brands tend to overload consumers with advertising in the vain hope that they will be chosen over a competitor.

The report proves that too much advertising does not always get results. Kohl sent out 99.7% of the two retailers tweets in that week, yet the level of sentiment for Kohl’s was one of annoyance. However the report goes on to prove that if the material is fresh and relevant to customers, self promotion is not always a bad thing with Walmart sending out proportionally more Tweets than Target but these were seen by customers as original and fresh.

This shows that brands need to be aware of the rising consumer power and tailor fresh and personal communication to customers rather than trying to gain as much coverage is possible.

@t_bloore