Thursday, October 30, 2008

Using Social Media to Understand Social Influence

Social media, or social networking as it is commonly known, is powerful beyond what anyone can imagine by looking at the surface of it. Those of you who have studied social networks can relate to this. Imagine being able to identify those who are opinion leaders, bridges between communities, leaders, and isolates, by looking at their social media behavior.

Social media is about influence and power. Who contacts you the most? How many people contact you? How central are you in your network? What are the topics of conversation in your network?

The metrics that can be derived from studying modern networking sites can be a goldmine for marketers. What are some applications?

  • Who is credit worthy?
  • Who is an opinion leader?
  • Who influences whom?
  • What are topics about which different individuals influence others?
  • The strenght of community bridges to pass ideas along to other communitities
How many times do we wonder where to place a message so that it has impact? Social networks are more powerful than "one-way" media because they reflect communication behavior. Social media marketing is about communities that go beyond geography.

The moral of the story is that there is a lot to come when it comes to network metrics.

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