There’s no doubt that the explosion of social media platforms in recent years has changed the face of communications. People have the ability to interact with friends, friends of friends and complete strangers almost effortlessly. What is the best way to channel this capability into new opportunities to reach influencers?
The way consumers communicate has drastically changed during the last decade. Information is no longer controlled by a small set of sources. Instead, Internet users connect with each other on a peer level in order to share and disseminate knowledge and opinions. This transition to an experiential dialog opens new bidirectional communication opportunities between brands and consumers. It is essential that brands understand which strategies they can use most successfully to influence consumers and develop a strong social media presence.
Choosing Your Platform
There are several different social media platforms to choose from: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and more, with several up-and-comers lurking on the horizon. Along with each platform, certain etiquette rules have also arisen. For example, on Facebook, although support for a celebrity can be publicly declared by hitting the “like” button on their fan page, users are not likely to have any direct interaction with them. Because of this quirk, Facebook works best for keeping in touch with friends and family.
Twitter, on the other hand, not only allows for dialogue between virtual strangers, but also thrives on it. Via Twitter, it’s both normal and expected that unrelated people communicate with each other. As such, it’s easy to build up a following and even easier to connect with influencers. If there’s a CEO, industry expert, or other prominent figure with whom a connection is desired, it’s perfectly acceptable to shoot them a tweet. It’s also not unlikely that they’ll respond in kind.
Building a Following
Successful marketing, whether of a product, company or individual, is dependent upon the ability to recognize influence patterns and optimize your outcomes. A single voice carries much less weight than a network; having your message echoed throughout a social media network, however, can inspire influence and attention. The example of initiating contact via Twitter to an influential party can be extended to imagine what happens when that prominent individual chooses to acknowledge or respond to your statement? The level of their influence combined with their interest in your message lends that message credibility. Just like quoting scientific findings, the endorsement of a trusted source will increase your influence.
The prevalence of social media platforms not only connects people with each other, they’ve become a part of a daily communication lifestyle. As a result, users of these social networks are beginning to rethink the ways they communicate and connect within those platforms to ensure the biggest bang for their buck. The activity that takes place within these networks adds to the social stature of the individual. In Twitter, the fastest-moving social media platform, influence can build up with incredible rapidity and carry all the force of an avalanche. Individuals and organizations are able to use these changes to help them expand and branch out to new media and new markets.
The ongoing potential for influence via social media is enormous. Services that identify influencers open the doors to new relationships. Brands are able to extend their access into previously untapped markets and networks. Start-ups who might have been overlooked completely last month are considered expert sources this month, based at least partially on the strength of their Twitter followers and how many Facebook fans they’ve acquired. Social media presents an incredible opportunity for any organization to place itself at the forefront of influencers and earn recognition for its efforts to boot.