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A New Approach to B2B Social Media Influence

How do you measure your Business Social Media Influence ? Twitter followers, engagement levels or retweets? Recently the ABC USA reported on updates to the popular tool, Klout Perhaps you, like some US employers use Klout to measure an individuals Social Media influence? However, unless you are selling toothpaste or halter tops, Britney Spears Klout score (as a no 1 influencer) will be completely irrelevant to your business.

 Some great platforms have emerged to measure your social media influence in terms of reach, engagement and effectiveness. However tools like Klout do not measure social media Influence across a specific target market segment. And unless you have deliberately created your social media network to include influencers in your "business segment", your ability to create influence in this segment will not be measureable by the current tools available.

 Other tools  like Radian6 Reports  get closer but do not go all the way to  measuring real influence in "your target market". Radian6 do identify brand conversations, consumer sentiment and purport to: " identify whom in your industry is most likely to have influence on your brand".

 Lets look at the definition of "business influence" - business Influence is not equivalent to social media reach, numbers of followers and not even engagement. Business Influence  across social media must be specific to the business target market segment(s) and suspects, prospects and customers. It is something far more pervasive than transactional and quantitative measures across  now a "mass spectre".

 In a business sense influence is about issues such as influencing customers and prospects in your "target market"  to consider using, reusing, trialling your products and services. More than 70 firms globally have developed their own proprietary methodologies for targetting and influencing business influencers. But for most businesses there is  a big gap between their social media activity and their social media influence in a targetted business community. 

More specifically the term "Marketing Influencer" comes from the field of study called Buyer Behaviour and/or Consumer Behaviour. In Business Marketing, influencers are people that affect any component of the  sales cycle, but are removed from the actual purchase decision. Consultants, analysts, journalists, academics, regulators, standards bodies are examples of business influencers.

Not all business influencers are equal. Some have more influence than others, and there is a need to distinguish between key influencers and less impactful people. A model for ranking business influencers has been developed by Influencer50, :

  • Market Reach – the number of people an individual has the ability to connect with.
  • Independence – whether an influencer has a vested interest in promoting a particular point of view.
  • Frequency of Impact – the number of opportunities an individual has to influence buying decisions.
  • Expertise – how much of a subject matter expert is the influencer.
  • Persuasiveness - the degree of consequence in ignoring an influencer's advice.
  • Thoroughness of role - the extent to which influence is exerted across the decision lifecycle.

 But still in the model above  market reach needs to be relevant to the specific target market. Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears have 2 of the highest Klout scores but  the people my clients do business with couldn’t give a hoot what Spears or Koucher think or say about SME marketing for instance.

A new approach to identifying key "Social Media Influencers", in a business and industry segment is necessary in order to efficaciously measure whether our Social Media Activity is having the reach, influence and multiplier affect we need in our prospects, customers and secondary targets minds.

This means integrating the target marketing and Influencer model approach across key social influence channels such as Business Public Relations, Business Blogging, Business Social Media platforms. And identifying, targetting and including in our networks, specific journalists, bloggers, academics, industry analysts and professional advisors of "of relevance".

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