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The measurement of an individuals online influence is valuable knowledge. Yet lets not lose sight of the fact that size of audience, amplification probability and network influence are advertising metrics which do not take into consideration the relationship the individual has with a particular brand or their affinity with its products and services.
Brands who sell directly to consumers have a diamond-studded opportunity to leverage social media in ways that influence scores neglect. The @mention feature of Twitter enables brands to talk directly with customers. This powers the ability to develop relationships that influence customers' lifetime sales value through messages that tell your customer that:
If some of your best customers are on Twitter but their Klout scores barely hit the radar, does that mean you shouldnt invest in them socially? Of course not. Your first and foremost social goals with your customers should be to make them love you and continue to love you. And because of that love, they will continue to buy and potentially talk about you online or offline.
Similarly for prospecting on Twitter, dont seek out lists of the most influential users. Instead find people who are talking about your brand, products or services you sell, and the brands you compete with and make those people feel important.
Okay, I here it coming. Theres a scalability issue. This strategy of investing in relationships with individuals doesnt scale in social networking like a strategy that focuses on audiences. Yes, that is definitely true. But is it wise to be so deadset against something that doesnt scale if you havent even tested its potential?
Susan Hanshaw is the Founder and CEO of Inner Architect a direct marketing firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her focus is the integration of social media with direct marketing.