I believe that you need to properly identify and reach out to individual influencers. It’s something we do for all of our clients. It’s an extremely important part of building relationships, and it’s a nuanced art. But people often miss the importance of understanding and reaching out to the groups or mediums most influential for a brand. Understanding the aggregate influencer is crucial to creating, honing and sharing content that really matters, and getting others to share it for you.
A Complicated Journey
When a brand creates a piece of information, that piece has a twisted, convoluted and often times unexpected set of adventures across the vast world of the interwebs. Once upon a time, this was the simple vision for the internet.
40 years later and things are not so simple. Interesting information about a brand can be shared on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, email, Buzz, text and a wide variety of other places. From those individual social spaces, others can share, reshare, and create additional information. Individuals with no inherent interest in your brand can stumble upon it by reading tangentially-related stories on blogs. And now we’ve got the Facebook Like button, which lets individuals trace their way through the web by means of their friends’ interests.
It gets very messy, very quickly. You have to know what to track and where to start looking in order to determine what kinds of people, places and spaces are hotbeds of activity surrounding your brand. Knowing this information, you can then create sticky and relevant content and properly support communities that have the highest propensity to make content viral.
How To Make Sense Of It All
You need to figure out what it is that you need to know in order to better understand groups and places of influence.
- What content gets shared most
- Where it goes viral
- What types of content are best fit to specific mediums
- Types of sharing (ie a few individuals share a lot vs. many individuals share a little)
Above is a snapshot of a dashboard from Meteor Solutions. We placed a bit of Meteor’s code on a client’s website. It allows us to anonymously track how individuals are choosing to share content from this website. We can see what days had the most visitors from shared links, where those people came from, and what kind of content they liked (shared) the most. It also allows us to find out where the content is being shared, potentially uncovering message boards, Facebook communities, etc. that are important influencers for our client.
There are also plenty of sources that aren’t coming directly to your own website, but could be. Here’s a snapshot of a Syomos MAP search on “shade-grown coffee”, which gives me insight into influential message boards and forums surrounding this topic.
It’s Never Static
Whether you like it or not, this work is never done. Key communities will change. The types of content most often shared will change. To build a following, you can’t just monitor for the crisis situations; you need to monitor for the most beneficial situations too. We use a host of tools to go about tracking conversations, content sharing and overall feedback, but that toolset changes constantly. I’d love to hear anything you’ve seen useful. I’d also be happy to talk more about what we use. Drop me a line.