How to Assess the Social Value of Relationships

— April 12, 2018

Forgive me while I rant. Your total number of social media influencers do not equal your total influence. You are not Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Nor will you ever be. You do not want to be.

You are a B2B technology vendor. Your circle of influence is small. Well, niched. You don’t have to appeal to everyone and anyone. Board members and executives should not weigh your success on social only with the number of followers you’ve added to social within the year.

What matters is learning how to assess who really matters in your social network. Which of your followers / Page Likers are engaging with your brand and influencing others to do so? Notice that I’m not specifically saying who is only positively engaging with your brand. But, who is?

Here are some ideas to think about when assessing the social value of your relationships.

Hire Influencers to Influence

Do not task your marketing team to publically converse with influencers. Those staffers are full of marketing jargon. Their points will be taken as shots, not as conversation volleying. Hire influencers in your market to have online and offline thoughtful, meaningful discussions with other influencers to help each party better understand holes in product and marketing.

Start with a List of 10

There is no need to start with a tiered list of the best influencers out there. Start with a list of 10 because it is a manageable number of people which you can track and have conversations with. Unless you have a large staff of influencers who are talking with others as it applies to their expertise, do not try to take on the world of influencers. If you do, your feedback will seem trite and opportunistic. Lean on your in-house influencers to help you build that list of 10 instead of trolling social or the web to find out who you think is influential.

Bring Your Offline Conversations Online

Instead of just tweeting back and forth with influencers, pay them to visit your office and learn more about what you do (Note: Just pay for their travel, room accommodations, and food). The resulting feedback may not be what you expect (or want), but that’s part of running a transparent organization that is open to feedback and willing to grow. If you can, film your meetings or record the audio for later use on social.

Sponsor Influencer Content

Influencers often have podcasts or YouTube shows that you can sponsor. Pay to play at an event or as part of a joint study/report. There are many reputable organizations which work in this manner and which are quite influential. Do not just write off these shows as vendor commercials. Your prospects and stakeholders will be watching because your competitors will be headlining on those shows too.

Use Social to Inform Your Internal Influencers

Your brand’s social media accounts cannot reshare nor retweet every piece of content created by influencers. Not because it is too much, but because it would not be relevant to your marketing and business objectives. Your brand should favorite posts which mention your brand but use information in those posts to inform your internal influencer team about how your brand is being cast to the public. Your influencers may or may not choose to respond.

Track All Influencers

Use social media tools to track related hashtags and influencer Twitter Handles to track the “40,000 view” of how these conversations are coming together as it relates to how your products and brand are perceived, where you sit in the market, how you’re being talked about, and more.

You cannot simply brag to the Board anymore that the only metric that matters is fan base growth. To be truly influential in your market, you need to assess the quality of your influence.

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Author: David Libby

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