Friday, July 06, 2007

"The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts. "

~ Malcolm Gladwell, “The Law of a Few," The Tipping Point

Activating a Social Media campaign requires more than the mere creation of a blog, making a post to a message board, or uploading a video on YouTube.Reputation lies at the crux of any successful word-of-mouth campaign, in Social Media or mainstream media.

Many would like to believe that we merely have to “post it on the Internet” and our messages will be magically delivered to our targeted audience. ROFL (Rolling on Floor Laughing). I only wish this were the case, but if it were true we might all be out of a job.

The reality is that any Social Media outreach campaign requires many of the same elements that are required for a successful mainstream media PR campaign:

  • Research to determine the most appropriate media targets
  • Solid pitch
  • Strong ongoing Media Relations strategy

We have a lot of experience pitching and executing Media Relations, but have beenlimited in our knowledge of how to select the right Social Media outlets.

You'll be happy to know that we now have a process in place that is much more sophisticated than "just go out there and post." Our methodology includes collaborating with the Client Service Teams to target appropriate segments, selecting sites with the best online reputation within that target, developing the most strategic way to contact online influencers, and deciding whether we want to coordinate with existing programs/efforts. As you can see, we're taking great care to put the "U" before the "C" in our Social Media efforts, and online reputation plays a huge role in how we determine what sites to pitch. We need to be able to find the people with the “rare set of social gifts” that Gladwell discusses in today's quote.

It is interesting to note that there are a number of objective measures for online reputation. For example:

  • has an Authority Rating for blogs(Technorati Authority is the number of blogs linking to a website in the last six months. The higher the number, the more Technorati Authority the blog has.)
  • invented PageRank™ for websites(PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important".)
  • measures it via the number of Friends(The User's Friends Space contains a count of a user's friends.)
  • used a Feedback score(Feedback represents your permanent reputation as an eBay member. It’s made up of comments and ratings left by other eBay members you've bought from and sold to. These comments and ratings, along with your overall Feedback Score, are available in your Feedback Profile.)
  • developed a Traffic Ranking(Alexa computes traffic rankings by analyzing the Web usage of millions of Alexa Toolbar users.)

The point is: We understand that to be successful in the Social Media realm, we need to think about how we are going to tap into the key influencers who are in the best position to help us tell our stories. We've already had some success with this. And, in order to further our success, everyone needs to be thinking about how a Social Media component might enhance their client programs, so that we can work together and make it happen!

So, what will be the next "social epidemic"? Who knows... But, if we stick to our process and aggressively pursue fitting opportunities, we may very well be the "infectors"! Make it a great Friday and weekend,


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