Social Media Conundrum #12: Justin Bieber is popular, but he’s not influential?

I can’t believe I’m going to weigh in on this, but I saw a tweet from a notable social media analytics consultant in which the following was stated for the umteenth time.

Popularity does not equal influence…

I immediately thought, “Could Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga sell product”? Isn’t that influence?I then had to go look up a quick definition of influence.

in·flu·ence

ˈɪnfluəns/ [in-floo-uhns] noun, verb, -enced, -enc·ing.

the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others

First I wanted to check something on Twitaholic: The top 15 people being followed on Twitter.

This is a list of the top 15 most “popular” people on Twitter. Let’s look and see who could sell or who does sell product. Let’s pare the list down first.

We have Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian, Ashton Kutcher, Ellen, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Oprah, 50Cent, Ashley Tisdale and Selena Gomez. 12 Celebrities from the world of entertainment. Immensely popular. But are they influential? Can they produce a compelling action on someone to buy product? Could they change behaviors and opinions? Can they influence people to buy stuff?

Lady Gaga sells video sunglasses for Polaroid, headphones for Beats by Dre, phones for VirginMobile, and a host of items and services via product placement in her videos. All this adds up to roughly $5-$10 million per year.

Rather than quote the whole  article from Guy Kawasaki, read about Guy’s experience at a Justin Bieber concert and the machine behind his persona.

Britney has deals with Elizabeth Arden and Candies. Taylor Swift has deals with Sony and CoverGirl. 50 Cent has deals with Reebok, Vitamin Water, Right Guard, PlayStation, and Steiner Sports.

We could easily go through each celebrity on this list and view the products that they sell. They sell the products because they can influence buyer behavior based on their celebrity, based on their popularity.  Am I wrong? I know sales are one thing and fame is fleeting, but because of their celebrity and popularity they can influence buyer behavior right now. Right?

How can you possibly say no? Isn’t that influence? What am I missing here? Help me out.

 


November 10th #Socialmedia topic-Social Media’s Impact on Business and ROI

Social Media’s Impact on Business (and ROI)

gas_powered_blender

Feeling like stirring the pot a bit this week so we thought a discussion on ROI should do it.

ROI certainly can stir the pot.  But, saying that most of everyone’s conversations on this topic are not actually ROI, rather Impact on Business (IOB), takes the act of stirring and turns it into a blender.  Ahh, much better!

So let’s start by saying that just because it’s “social” does not mean it should be held up to standards typically defined by financial returns whether in business, government or non-profits.  Someone can start a blog or join twitter simply to better understand the tools or to connect with associates they just met at a conference.  This becomes truly social and may at some point have an impact on your business whether financially or some other measure but does not need to be tied into sales goals just because an employee wants to post office pictures so other offices can see how they decorated for the holiday party.  That’s a beginners first step into social computing but not what we are interested for this discussion.

What we are looking for here is to better define and understand what we sometimes mean when we refer to ROI as a verb instead of referring to ROI as a financial metric.  The real definition of Return on Investment (ROI) is: gain from investment minus cost of investment, then divided by cost of investment.  Business books are written, classes are taught, and undergrad studies are derived from this very straightforward metric.  When I talk about ROI, I try to dumb it down a bit into either: 1) increase revenues, 2) decrease costs, or 3) increase in shareholder value and that assumes a financial investment of course.  So why then, does the term ROI get thrown around so much in the context of social media when no financial gain or costs saved are referenced?

Impact on Business (IOB) is the actual term that should be used when discussing things like: # of followers, brand awareness, mentions, impact, conversations and what ever else you can think of that is not related to a financial calculation.  The impact of an employee being nice on twitter is great.  The fact that the customer decides to continue service (Retention) as an indirect effect does not make the time that employee spent on Twitter an actual case for ROI.  It is however, IOB. Olivier Blanchard actually was the first that I know of to begin this discussion a few months ago here.  Companies all over are using social media to have an impact on their business like Kodak measuring Smiles or any company promoting their Facebook fan page.

Many industries discuss IOB like fast food, IT, or big box retailing and it affects every company’s business in some way or another.   You can even consider different departments of a company and the impact of HR, Payroll, PR, Sustainability, Operations play in a company.  Although often not connected directly to revenue, a company would have a difficult time without those departments.  Impact is easier to measure if you don’t have to tie it back somehow to ROI and ROI is much easier to measure if you don’t try to include calculations of impact.  To lead our discussion this week is Jacob Morgan, a principal at Chess Media Group, who focuses on Social Media ROI.  Jacob is well versed in this type of discussion and brings a lot of expertise to the table.  The questions will attempt to progress the discussion from ROI as a catch all phrase to the differences between Impact and ROI for businesses and how to align them.  They are:

1.  Whether Impact or ROI, what “Investments” could be measured to prove out value in Social Media?

2.   How can you prove value from Impact or ROI to executives to continue or try Social Media?

3.  What are some examples of businesses attaining true ROI from Social Media?

Plan on joining in this discussion Tuesday 11/10 at noon EST.  To join either follow #sm33 on Twitter or follow our LIVE site.

 

The Depth of Your Social Media Growth

If you were to look at the following image, what would you say the expanse of your social media exposure, involvement or engagement would be?

smpresence

Let’s assume that  we all start off as seedlings in social media, and as we learn more, we grow. As the tree grows, so does our comfort level. Eventually we branch out and we all go in different directions, yet we all come from the same seed. We all have the same background and the same foundation.

It should all start with listening, learning, lurking and laboring. Lurking? Yes, lurking. Call it passive participation, but we all have done it. We watch the conversations, wondering where we can insert ourselves into them. If we don’t we lurk, we hover if you will.

Laboring? Even passive participation takes work. It takes effort and you have to put forth effort.

As we progress and grow, we become more comfortable in our need and desire and ability to contribute to the conversations around us. It’s a natural progression. But to make the leap to creating content is a bit more longer and takes a little bit more growth.

On the surface and by the looks of the tree, it almost seems that we all should or could be part of the yellow on this tree. However even those that are most comfortable with social media right now are not part of the yellow.Yet the desired or expected outcome from participation and creation lies in the blue areas of the tree.

Yett if we look at Forrester’s Social Technographics results, surveys show that when it comes to social content 21% of online US consumers are Creators, 37% are Critics (those who react to content created by others), and 69% are Spectators, meaning that the majority of people in Forrester’s survey would find themselves more at the root level of the social media tree.

Look at Jake Mckee’s model. The 90-9-1 Principle where 90% of users are the “audience”, or lurkers. These people tend to read or observe, but don’t actively contribute.

9% of users are “editors”, sometimes modifying content or adding to an existing thread, but rarely create content from scratch. and 1% of users are “creators”, driving large amounts of the social group’s activity and  driving a vast percentage of the site’s new content, threads, and activity.

If we look at it from that standpoint then the tree will be inverted, where it’s all about how “rooted” you are and how deep your social media penetration is. The deeper, more involved you are, the more rich the experience is.

smpresence2

So which version of the tree are you? Where do you see yourself? Should the tree be a 100 year oak or a common weed?

KD Paine’s 7 steps to measurable success in social media

KD Paine has got it going on. I had just re-watched a video that she had done over at Jason Falls‘s blog awhile back about social media and ROI and since I’ve been struggling with it again, I decided to hop over to her site and found that she had just put this deck up. Very worthy to share with others!