Whether we’re talking about social media, content promotion or basic networking, it’s often advised that small business owners reach out, engage and connect with their “influencers”. Butwho are these mythical people we’re supposed to be talking to all the time? What do they look like and where do they hang out? And why does no one ever tell us?
Well, today we will! As a small business owner, there are five types of influencers that you should be aware of and reaching out to on social media. Want to know who they are?
The Social Butterflies
Remember high school? Remember those people that seemed to know everyone regardless of which party you went to or what corner you were hanging out on? These people also exist on the Web. The Social Butterflies are the names and avatars who live to connect people from inside their different networks. If you need a programmer, they know a guy. If you need 100 invitations made by yesterday, they have a friend who does that. They’ll make the introduction for you because they take pleasure in mixing up their networks.
Social Butterflies are valuable to a small business owner because of how wide their net reaches. By forming a close relationship with the, you get access to everyone else who is in their network. You also ensure that the Butterfly will mention YOUR name to her contacts when the time comes. Where do Social Butterflies hang out? Everywhere! To identify them, try creating contact groups (via Twitter Lists or Facebook/LinkedIn groups, for example) and then look for the names that seem to overlap. These are your Butterflies.
The Thought Leaders
Thought leaders are the voices that your customers trust and listen to most. They’re usually the same people whose content you’re constantly watching get retweeted and whose blogs get more comments in a day than you get in a month. It takes some effort to get these people to acknowledge you because they’re constantly being inundated with messages, but if you can prove yourself by sharing valuable information and being a good social media citizen, you’ll be handsomely rewarded when it’s your content they’re blasting out to their loyal networks.
Thought leaders can help you build your own authority by lending you their platform. When they tweet out your material or offer to help you with a blog post, you get to take advantage of their contact and increase the eyes looking at your site. If you’re looking for Thought Leaders in social media, you won’t have to look too far. They’re speaking at conferences, getting quotes in the most high profile stories, and are always being referenced in other people’s tweets and post. To get the most return, don’t go for the Superstar Thought Leaders, stick to who is most influential in your niche.
Every industry has its own set of trendsetters. They’re the early adopters and the people that others listen to. The Trendsetters were on Twitter and FourSquare before everyone else and now they’re trying out a new social networking site that you can’t even spell. Trendsetters are motivated greatly by ego and are always on the hunt for what’s new so they can tell their friends they found it first. They love getting the scool, so get their attention, and they’ll be proud to share you with all 5,000 of their closest friends.
Trendsetters are powerful forces in social media because of their need to constantly be trying and sharing new things. If you’re looking for these people in social media, you can find them reading TechCrunch, commenting on Mashable and tweeting about sites and applications you’ve never even heard of.
This includes the bloggers, reporters and news outlets that live and breathe your industry. They’re the bylines you constantly see and the people most immersed in your industry because they write about it every day. This group is super important to connect with because they hold three coveted things — press, coverage and links. SMB owners need to know how to get the attention of people who link.
Obviously, as a small business owner, you want to create relationships with the Reporters that cover your niche to get your business in front of their audience. You want to form relationships with these folks as early as you can so that you can keep them alert to big things happening in your small business. Once you identify these people, you’ll want to create a PR linkerati list so that you know who you should reach out to when you need press.
The Everyday Customer
Your Everyday Customer has a much smaller circle of influence than The Reporters or The Social Butterflies, but it’s just as important. Your Everyday Customers are the people who live in your town and could potentially walk in and spend money with you today. You want to use social media to create awareness with them.
This group is often neglected in social media as brands attempt to go for the higher hanging fruit. However, reach one of these folks and you’re almost guaranteed that they’ll pass on their experience to their family and friends. They’re all about worth of mouth and sharing recommendations. If you’re looking for them on social media, they can most often be found asking questions on Twitter or participating in group discussions on Facebook and LinkedIn. They’re unassuming, but vocal when given the chance.
Those are groups I concern myself with when talking about “influencers”. Are they any influencer groups you focus on not mentioned here?
s Facebook has grown from a collegiate social network to a site that gets action from 7.3% of the world’s population, it has also evolved into a marketing tool. One report estimated that advertisers will spend $4 billion on Facebook advertising this year.
Facebook didn’t come out of the gate as a marketing-friendly product in 2004, and it has conducted a fair share of failed experiments in its efforts to become one. We’ve chronicled its evolution in the infographic below.
Google has finally unveiled Google+, the company’s top secret social layer that turns all of the search engine into one giant social network.
Google+, which begins rolling out a very limited field test on Tuesday, is the culmination of a year-long project led by Vic Gundotra, Google’s senior vice president of social. The project, which has been delayed several times, constitutes Google’s answer to Facebook.
The search giant’s new social project will be omnipresent on its products, thanks to a complete redesign of the navigation bar. The familiar gray strip at the top of every Google page will turn black, and come with several new options for accessing your Google+ profile, viewing notifications and instantly sharing content. The notification system is similar to how Facebook handles notifications, complete with a red number that increases with each additional notice.
At its core, Google+ is a social network. The first thing users are introduced to is the Stream. It’s much like the Facebook News Feed, allowing users to share photos, videos, links or their location with friends.
That’s where Google+ begins to diverge from Facebook, though. The focus of this social project is not on sharing with a mass group of friends, but on targeted sharing with your various social groups. To do this, Google uses a system called Circles.
Gundotra explained that most social media services (read: Facebook, Twitter) haven’t been successful with friend lists because they’ve been designed as a “tack-on” product rather than being integrated at every level. Gundotra also believes that current friend list products are awkward and not rewarding to use.
Google+ Circles is an attempt to address that challenge. The HTML5 system allows users to drag-and-drop their friends into different social circles for friends, family, classmates, co-workers and other custom groups. Users can drag groups of friends in and out of these circles.
One of the nice things about the product is its whimsical nature — a puff of smoke and a -1 animation appears when you remove a friend, and when you remove a social circle, it rolls away off the screen.
It’s clear from the extended demo that Gundotra and his team have thought about every aspect and detail of Google+ thoroughly. The photo, video and mobile experiences are no exception.
Google has created a section specifically for viewing, managing and editing multimedia. The photo tab takes a user to all of the photos he or she has shared, as well as the ones he or she is tagged in. It’s not just photo tagging, though: Google+ includes an image editor (complete with Instagram-like photo effects), privacy options and sharing features.
The video chat feature might be one of the most interesting aspects of Google+. Gundotra and his team thought about why group chat hasn’t become a mainstream phenomenon. He compared it to knocking on a neighbor’s door at 8 p.m. — most people don’t do it because it isn’t a social norm. However, if a group of friends are sitting on a porch and you just happen to walk by, it’s almost rude not to say hi.
That’s the concept behind “Hangouts,” Google’s new group chat feature. Instead of directly asking a friend to join a group chat, users instead click “start a hangout” and they’re instantly in a video chatroom alone. At the same time, a message goes out to their social circles, letting them know that their friend is “hanging out.” The result, Google has found in internal testing, is that friends quickly join.
One cool feature of Hangouts is that it doesn’t place a chat window on the screen for each participant. Instead, Google changes the chat screen to whoever is currently talking. It quickly switches from video feed to video feed, moving faster in bigger groups. The maximum members in any video Hangout is 10, though users can get on a waitlist and wait for someone to leave.
To spur sharing, Google has added a recommendation engine for finding interesting content. The feature, Google+ Sparks, is a collection of articles, videos, photos and other content grouped by interest. For example, the “Movies” spark will have a listing of recent and relevant content for that topic.
The system is algorithmic — it relies on information from other Google products (e.g. Google Search) as well as what is being shared via Google+ and through +1 buttons.
The goal, according to Gundotra, is to make it dead-simple for users to explore their interests and share what they find with their friends. Google+ is attempting to become the one-stop shop not only for sharing content, but for finding it as well. In some ways, it reminds us of Twitter and its mission to become an information network, and “instantly connect people everywhere to what’s most important to them.”
Google will also be launching mobile apps for Google+, starting with Android. The Android app includes access to the Stream, Circles, Sparks and multimedia.
The addition of these features in a mobile app isn’t a surprise. What is a surprise, though, is the app’s auto-upload feature. Any photo or video you take on your phone through Google+ will automatically be uploaded to your computer, ready to share. These uploads aren’t public, but the next time you log onto your desktop, the photos button in the status bar will have a number, indicating how many new uploads are available for sharing. It keeps these photos and videos available for sharing for eight hours after upload.
Gundotra says that Google intends to launch apps for Google+ on other platforms in the future.
Google freely admitted to me during our conversation that its previous attempt at social, Google Buzz, did not live up to expectations. Bradley Horowitz, Google’s vice president of product, says that part of the problem was that Buzz was just “tacked on” as a link on millions of Gmail accounts, something that Google won’t be repeating. Horowitz also says that, unlike the Buzz rollout, Google+ is a project that will roll out in stages.
In many ways, it reminds us of Gmail’s rollout. Invites to Google’s email service were so sought after at one point that people were selling them for $50 or more on eBay. While that type of fervor may not hit Google+, we expect the artificial scarcity will drive up interest while giving Google time to work out the kinks.
No matter what Google says, Google+ is the company’s response to the rise of Facebook. The two companies are in heated competition for talent, page views and consumers. While Google controls the search market and has a strong presence on mobile with Android, it hasn’t been able to crack the social nut. Its most successful social product, YouTube, had to be acquired, and it still ranks as one of the most expensive acquisitions in the company’s history.
Has Google finally nailed social with Google+? We’re going to publish more of our thoughts on Google’s new social network in the next few hours, but we will say this: Google no longer gets a free pass in social. It must prove that it can draw users and keep them engaged in a way that doesn’t replicate Facebook or Twitter’s functionality. Only time will tell if Google has finally found its magical arrow.
Before the Internet, media agencies planned clients’ campaigns with a fairly straightforward menu of TV, radio, print and outdoor advertising options.
These days, TV buys still take the largest piece of the global spend, but the share of money going to Internet advertising is rising steeply, and the options for those dollars are multiplying and morphing just as quickly. Twitter, YouTube and Hulu each offer their own menu of customized advertising options, and Facebook ranked as one of the Top 10 online advertising properties earlier this year. And since online ad spending is not yet keeping pace with Americans’ time spent on the Internet, the upward trend in spending still has plenty of room to grow.
Of the money going to online buys, nearly half goes to search and a quarter goes to display. But even within these categories, online ads are becoming more social, and spending on lead generation and email marketing is shrinking. At least a quarter of social media users connect with businesses along with their friends, and the most valuable campaigns lead to an alchemy of the traditional and the social. This past year, several big-budget Super Bowl ads lived on as viral YouTube hits, gaining popularity and millions of views that money still can’t buy.
Check out the infographic below for more details on how agencies are allocating online media budgets.
We’ve provided you with nearly 300 in-depth features, galleries and how-tos in the past year to help you navigate the social media world.
Here you’ll find a comprehensive list of all of those posts, covering everything from how to enhance your Facebook profile, find videos and music, contribute to a charity and just about any other topic you can think of.
We’ve broken the posts into categories including the big ideas about social media, the most popular social sites, including Facebook andTwitter, music, videos and photos, geo-location services, education, privacy and safety, social good, activism and government, among others.