Today’s Influencer Matrix – a new game of chinese whispers
Word of Mouth has always been a fantastic, but often under-used way of building a business or brand up. After all, personal recommendations from friends, relatives or those whose opinions we value have always held more weight than an advertising slogan telling us ‘THIS IS THE MOST WONDERFUL PRODUCT IN THE WORLD – YOU MUST BUY IT’. Today, word of mouth marketing has taken on a whole other meaning and it’s ability to go big quickly means it has the potential to impact your business in a big way – both positively and negatively.
Two major changes have created a new world for Word of Mouth marketing:
1) social media channels mean that everyone’s voice is no longer limited to their direct friends and acquaintances. Once they make a point online it can travel far and wide AND FAST!
2) the evolution of online blogging and forums means that everyone can make their opinions publicly and on scale – the era of the ‘mini journalist’ and ‘public rights crusader’ is taking force
These dynamic changes, have resulted in a new influencer matrix that has evolved past the model of celebrity status, media personalities and experts, into a model that empowers the individual as a trendsetter and influential decision driver among their peers. This new Influencer Matrix now creates a more complex web of potential advocates or change persuaders which you need to divide your time between BUT it also gives you more angles to get your message out. If one influencer doesn’t take to your idea or product, there are many more to reach. Equally, while one influencer may only have a small realm of influence of their own, connections with other influencers mean that once the word is out, it will be shared between someone’s direct audience and then among the audiences of each of their contacts…the power to reach many through few has become easier than before.
The New Influencer Matrix – Four Pillars
While I am not advocating that you try to reach out and connect with every single individual in the world wide web, it important that you at least consider the different pillars within the mix and decide which pillars are most important for your business strategy. This will vary depending on which stage in the life-cycle you are at, the budget you have to spend and the positioning of your offering. BUT you should at least begin with the attitude that anyone could be a potential game-changer for your business, so don’t rule anyone out at the offset. Here are the four major pillars of influence you need to consider:
1 – Traditional Media – your traditional journalists published online, in print or through TV
2 – Celebrities/Leading Professionals/Experts – these are cultural icons, role models and people sought after for their opinion or perceived expertise in an area
3 – Mini Journalists – the new online journal writer, self-appointed expert on a subject, passion sharer and individual looked up to for their in-the -know, ahead of the curve knowledge on a particular genre
4 – @Girlonline17 – an individual with a passion and flair for the social digital landscape, a sharer of great finds, pro-active collaborator, curator and/or publicist who holds a position of being the most informed, on the pulse and creative individual in a peer group.
Once you have established which pillars of the matrix are right for you and the people within those pillars, then you can start planning on how to build relationships with these influencers in a way that communicates what you want people to say about your brand. And that my dear Watson, is another blog post all on it’s own.