The Future of Influence

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by: Matt Rhodes

I came across a useful presentation from Nate Elliott at Forrester (and presented at the Web2.0 Expo in Berlin last month) on influencers and it had been required reading amongst the team here.

Elliott’s presentation provides a useful distinction between the ‘new influential’ (those active in social media), the ‘classic influentials’ (those who say they are a source of information for friends) and the ‘combination influentials’ (those who are a bit of both). These influentials are more likely to be male, and more likely to be early adopters of technologies. And the power of reaching out to these people is that consumers are most likely to trust a solicited piece of advice from a peer. Getting these influentials onside is key.

Whilst some in marketing (and especially in word of mouth marketing) think that we need to understand influencers so we can identify and target them, at FreshNetworks we are more interested in understanding how to create more influencers and advocates. If you know what the characteristics of your influentials are then you can start to spot the next generation – those you can nurture to become influential for you. This approach gives you a much broader base of potential advocates and can ultimately be better for your brand.

Of course, it isn’t simple. You need to spend time understanding your customers and who influences them and then to develop and appropriate strategy for engaging these different types. Great if you get it right.

Some more reading

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