Tag Archives: resonance

The three steps to being influential in social media

To be influential in social media takes effort. It doesn’t just happen. You can’t buy it. It’s not advertising.

So if that’s what it’s not, how can organizations and people get to be really influential? Here are the steps to influence. When you and your brand get it right, that’s when you get to influence others.

Find Relevance

Your first mission is to produce content that is relevant to the people you’re seeking to influence. That sounds pretty obvious, but so many people and companies don’t really have a great snapshot of their target market. They’ve spent so long with basic demographics that are ballpark indications of who their market is that they’ve lost touch with the real personalities of these people. In social media we’re no longer talking about eyeballs, or about mass market publications that look after great big segments of a market. Instead, you’re looking at individuals. Yes, those individuals tend to move in packs – they’re communities of similar people. And those communities have some people with bigger voices. But that can change in an instant, and one bigger voice doesn’t mean they influence everyone in that community. They are individuals first and they are all powerful. Some will love your brand, others won’t care much, and others might detest your brand. Spend some time working out who they are, what their interests are, and what they really think before even trying to produce content for them. Be relevant.

Find Resonance

Readers of my blog know I love to talk about resonance. You can create all the good quality content in the world but if it’s not hitting the mark and connecting with people in a solid way, you’re not getting social media right. It’s a massive error to think that simply creating good content leads directly to influence. You need more than that. You need to produce content that makes people talk about you. Retweet you. Post the article to their Facebook account or write about it on their blog. When they do that, they’re demonstrating their personal involvement with your content, and that’s what you want. Not just for the eyeballs to hit your page, but for the message to be meaningful to them. To the extent that they’ll tie their name to it and go talk about it elsewhere.

You need to create resonance.

One caveat here, particularly for brands and companies running them, is to be aware that to achieve resonance you need to really understand your audience, and remember everything you say reflects on your brand. I wasn’t kidding before with step one. These people have opinions, are smart, engaged and want to work with others in this space – but don’t think you can control the conversation or give half-assed engagement or try to pretend you’re not the person representing the brand, even if that’s not your intention. A great example is the furore surrounding Nestle right now on Twitter. The good news is that while you’ll get called out for crappy behavior of any kind, the social media community wants you to get better. They will celebrate with you when you do, and they’ll be your loudest proponent. If you really listen, and really work with the community instead of trying to manipulate it you’ll get there and find resonance (I’m kinda hoping Nestle eventually realises that.)

Nirvana – Influence

When you’ve achieved the first two steps, that’s when you can seek to be influential. And you’ll see results. You can invite people to play with your new stuff and be confident that because you have resonance with them, the brand will be welcomed enough for people to want to try it out.You can be a thought leader. You can gain a few minutes of peoples’ time to talk about stuff, and they’ll really listen to you.

It doesn’t matter if you have a personal brand or the biggest brand on the planet. Everyone wants to be influential. Using social media is a great way to discover influence through resonance with a target audience you may have forgotten. Rediscover people. Don’t treat social media like other forms of promotion. It still sits in your toolkit, along with other areas like advertising and sales promotion, but it works differently. Get it right and you’ll find the opportunities you are looking for, with the people who matter most.

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Resonance, Not Reach

Creating a brand LoveMark in the 21st century has never been easier. Yet, the concept seems to be alien to so many companies.

Many brands think they’ve got a loyal following. But what they really have is passive brand loyalty. People who buy the product all the time, but don’t really have a loving, committed relationship. It’s a marriage of convenience. Your brand is not a LoveMark. And you’re fooling yourself if you think those sales figures are just going to continue without putting some work into your relationship. There’s always something shiny coming around the corner, or a challenge to be met and if your customers aren’t willing to go the extra mile for you, then you’re DOA.

Advertising used to be about reaching as many people as possible with your message. Reach. CPM. It was all about how many eyeballs you could get to. And that’s what brands thought would bring them some sort of relationship with people. But it’s a flawed system that doesn’t work. The old “50% of my advertising works and 50% doesn’t – but I don’t know which 50% is which” simply isn’t good enough for today’s effective marketer, working on a slashed budget and still needing to demonstrate real ROI.

I put it to you that Reach is not what you should be focused on (in fact, it was never the real focus, but we got lost because that’s all traditional media could measure and create sales on). It’s not primarily about Reach.

It’s all about Resonance.

To explain Resonance to students, I say it’s like hitting the sweet spot on a tennis racquet. You get the best power, best direction, best result – with ‘just-right’ input. Hitting a ball with the sweet spot on the tennis racquet is Resonance. And the perfect chord on a guitar is Resonance.

Social media offer brands an opportunity to create a LoveMark because they offer a capacity for Resonance that traditional formats, focused on CPM, could never offer. CPM tries to achieve Resonance by throwing lots and lots of tennis balls at a racquet, and hoping one or two make the sweet spot. There’s stacks of lost message. And stacks of lost money.

Resonance in advertising is all about making your product the perfect and only fit that the buyer can see for them. In fact, it shows the product as being built specifically for them. It’s all about the individual consumer. It’s not about how many thousands of people you can get your message to. It’s about getting it to the right people.

By using social media as a tool, Resonance happens when your brand speaks to people online. Personally. As part of a conversation. When you’re speaking to someone it says you care about them. How do you think rock stars get so successful? Name any teen heart-throb: David Cassidy, Robbie Williams, Jesse McCartney, even (good grief) the Jonas Bros make girls feel they are performing just for them. They sing songs that say “hey, I’m so lonely and you could be the one.” Rock stars who do that have Resonance down pat. And now it’s easy for any brand to do the same.

Social media offers brands the opportunity to become a LoveMark for people and eliminate a great portion of the passive brand loyalty that they’re built on. Good brands, like Zappos.com are in the space, making personal relationships with people a priority. As time goes on, I hope more companies rediscover the importance of Resonance over Reach. If you build resonance with one person, then they’ll be singing your praises day in and day out to people who care about what they have to say. And that’s a CPM you couldn’t put a price on.