Social Media: It's All About Influence

As usual, Jeff Bullas has written a blog post that I wish I had written.

The article, 8 Reasons Why Twitter Power Users Are Influential, is his own rift on a study conducted by Exact Target.

Years ago, I remember reading Harvey MacKay explain why he always flew first class when he traveled. He learned that he met a different type of person in the first class cabin. He had met, and subsequently networked with, a number of VIPs from all walks of life that later benefited him in his business and charitable endeavors.

Twitter is does the same thing without the hassle of taking off your shoes.

The fact is that VIPs get preferential treatment. If you are a top executive with Corporation A, and you do business in your personal life with Corporation B, the top people in B will treat you differently. If your Corporation B builts car has problems, just call your friends over there and you will get service unheard of by the average consumer. If your stay at Corporation B's exclusive resort is less than four star, your friends in the executive suite will make it right for you.

It's a fact of life, high profile people with a lot of influence get better service, better seats, and more attractive wait staff.

The rest of us have to talk to someone with a foreign accent named "Suzy."

Social Media, however, has derailed this whole cozy arrangement by making a lot more people influential. Just ask United Airlines after the "United Breaks Guitars" video went viral on YouTube, telling the world about how they treated one customer. Or ask FTD after Lena West wrote about their terrible service in her blog.

Today, anyone who is active on any social network is influential. Anyone who has a Twitter account, a blog, a Facebook account, a LinkedIn account or a YouTube account can rock a company who gives them bad service.

On the other hand, any of these people can also bring a lot of business to companies who deliver good service. (Read the Lena West article again and note how 1-800-FLOWERS benefited from their good deeds).

But when it comes to influencers, not all social networks are the same. Although Facebook dwarfs them all when it comes to sheer numbers, Twitter stands out for the caliber of people you can meet on its network.

As the Exact Target study points out, power Twitter users are very different from the average social media customer:
  • 72 percent publish blog posts at least monthly
  • 70 percent comment on blogs
  • 61 percent write at least one product review monthly
  • 61 percent comment on news sites
  • Daily Twitter users are 6 times more likely to publish articles
  • Five times more likely to post blogs
  • Seven times more likely to post to Wikis
  • Three times more likely to post product reviews at least monthly compared to non-Twitter users

In other words, the people you meet on Twitter are much like the people you meet in the first class cabin. They are very likely to be the VIPs that can influence the impact your brand can have in the marketplace and drive customers to (or from) your business.

These are astounding statistics. How can any business neglect such a pool of influential VIPs?

Let's look at just one of these items: Think of how powerful it is to have good product reviews posted online. I know of several local businesses that have succeeded beyond all expectation just because they have five or more raving reviews written about them.

The simple truth is that organizations that neglect Twitter or use it poorly, do so at their own peril. Because you know at least one of their competitors are meeting important influencers there.

I have personally met a large number of people on Twitter who in the "real world" would have been insulated by an NFL defensive line of gatekeepers. Not only have I made contact, they know my name and have had friendly chats with me. Even more, when I attend events they are also attending, we make a point to meet there as well.

The fact is that Twitter (and to a lesser extent other social networks) provide access to people you would give your first born to meet in the offline world. Don't neglect this valuable tool to further your goals and growth.

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October 15, 2010 at 4:56 PM Sarah Says said...

It's like they say -- if you get good service, you won't mention it. But if you get terrible service, you'll tell 20 of your friends. Social media really allows people to have the soap box. The question is whether the big organizations will respond.

July 13, 2011 at 3:44 AM Oglasi posao said...

I feel like you could probably teach a class on how to make a great blog.