Tag Archives: Facebook

Do You Have Influence?

What is influence in an age of social media? Is it follower number? Is it having lots of heavy-hitter followers (even if the absolute numbers are small)? The answers to these questions are important to digital marketers.

Recently, there was a article declaring Ashton Kutcher, the former self declared “King of Social Media” had little influence. Ashton Kutcher, known to his fans as @aplusk, has 5.9 million fans. Can someone with 5.9 million fans have little influence?  The Northwestern University researchers said that a celebrity is taken more seriously when speaking about an area of expertise.  That’s true in all spheres of life. Would you take Tiger Woods’ opinion on astrophysics seriously?

Moreover, in the age of twitter spam, and various sites offering ways to instantly grow your twitter following, one is not quite sure who or what is following you. Most Twitter users are listeners and are not actively using Twitter. A true user is defined as someone following at minimum 10 people, has tweeted at least 10 times and has at least 10 followers (10-10-10). Only 21% of Twitters users meet these criteria. People who are active twitter users are likely to actively spread your content – through retweeting; through giving their opinions; and generally engaging others in discussion – very valuable when one wants to get a message out there! Retweet rate is one measure (not to exclusion!) used to determine a person’s influence and ‘interesting-ness’. However, 3% of retweets are about Justin Bieber – is he influential? Is interesting the same as influential? How does influence contend with sheer popularity/celebrity?

Clout, according to is dictionary definition, is driving people to action. Retweeting is an action. Klout declares itself the standard for influence.  Klout scores influence out of a 100 and is based on three areas – True Reach, Amplification, and Network Score. However, Klout scores @aplusk (Ashton Kutcher) at 97.He has badges for over 10,000 retweets; over 500 messages retweeted and the list goes on.

Klout does not only use Twitter, but has started looking at the person’s influence across other platforms, notably Facebook; unlike, say, twittergrader.com.  This is key in a region like the Caribbean. More than half of Twitter’s users use twitter through smart phones. Smart phones – Blackberrys, iPhones and the like – are at a premium in the Caribbean. In fact, Digicel Jamaica’s CEO declared that only 5% of Digicel’s 2 million subscribers are blackberry users.

The question of who has social media influence and how to measure it is far from settled. So again I ask, do you have influence?

 

Do you have influence? Courtesy of blog.iqmatrix.com

 

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Social Media and Life Lessons from Beauty Contests

Beauty pageants are very important in Jamaica – in the Caribbean. I still think Miss World first when I hear the name Cindy Breakspeare. There are the well-loved queens who people seem to remember forever – Cathy Levy, Sandra Foster, Terri-Karrelle Griffith (List of Miss Jamaica World – does anyone know where I can find a similar list for Miss Jamaica Universe?).

The quest to be queen

2010 was the year of Yendi Phillips – she was a second-time queen – having won Miss Jamaica World (2007) and now Miss Jamaica Universe. She is the girlfriend of Asafa Powell – only one of the fastest men in the world and previous holder of the men’s 100m title. She was both hated and loved. This emotion was captured on social media outlets – blogs, twitter and Facebook – and reflected in her numbers and the following – showing just how seriously Jamaicans take their beauty contests. None of my American friends that I asked (about 30) knew who Miss USA was. Interestingly, the only Miss USA they could remember was Vanessa Williams – due to the controversy surrounding her crown.

My tweep – @SeanABennett – made it a point to track Yendi’s progress. “This is fricking unbelievable. Yendi had 400 followers at 7:42 She now has 1,082 & the figures are growing (10:24pm). Today, 2,141 followers! Her Facebook fan page showed similar increase – from about 25,000 fans that fateful Miss Universe night to 36,287 fans today.

Social media has opened us up to a new way to chart our careers. Once we would look at our salaries, our title – but in an age of increasing entrepreneurship (yea!!), we look at our followership. Fan numbers and interaction are as key to personal brands as to any corporate brand. I see nothing wrong with that, but I do note one of the earliest (and one of the wisest) tweets I have read – “Remember Jesus himself only had 12 disciples. More than that is gravy.”

Personal brand building has always gotten guffaws – especially in Jamaican culture, it is seen as being arrogant. Striving to be the best you you can be is seen as being ’nuff’. On the night of Yendi’s winning the Miss Jamaica Universe competition, one tweeter @Djcraziikiid noted “lol Yendi must compete in Miss Festival Queen too.•LMAOOOOO and ms portmore, ms earth and so on!”

Yet Yendi placed the highest any Jamaican woman has in Miss Universe. Yet many agreed she was the hands-down winner from the minute the pictures of the contestants come out. Who stands out to you?

2010 Miss Jamaica Universe contestants - who stands out to you? Photo courtesy of Socialingua.

The moral of the story  – Believe in yourself! Believe in your brand! The social media lesson is that tracking the progress in fan followership could be the new way to mark events and even career development. It is not a new thought – popularity has always been important for certain careers – but now we have a way to measure it – courtesy of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like. How many followers do you have?

Why Endz of the Earth?

At the Endz of the Earth!

When I decided to go to apply to the Commonwealth Women’s Antarctic Expedition, I never thought of how much I would change. Like most others, I focused on how far I would go – all the way to Antarctica!

One of the sources of change was the sponsorship process. It is all well and good to train for Antarctica, but you have to be able to afford the plane ride there (approximately USD 30,000).

How does a Jamaican woman of no-gold-spoon origins afford Antarctica? I just read of Jamaica Producers’ 10 million dollar ripe banana campaign (http://bit.ly/drQIcy) – a campaign involving billboards, radio and print advertisements was definitely not an option for me. So I tried another traditional way – getting sponsors. But I was constantly told that Jamaicans are not interested in this kind of thing – “Jamaicans like music and parties – not adventures to the South Pole.” I was inclined to believe them, as Barrington Irving, a Jamaican who was the youngest pilot to fly around the world, had no Jamaican sponsors.

Then friends recommended social media. Facebook would prove to be not just a way to keep in touch with friends, but also a way to let ‘uninterested’ Jamaicans know about this ‘SouthPole Trod.’ Its quickness and freeness had already led me to start using it to keep in touch with my various Caribbean contacts as part of my job at CaPRI (Caribbean Policy Research Institute). I had even planned a seminar in St. Lucia largely through Facebook and Skype

Thus started my interest in opportunities social media offered to adventurers to showcase and publicise what they were doing. Even established businesses would benefit from the interaction with the customers and the ability to get real, rather than polite and filtered, feedback. I was able to use social media to publicise my adventure, get sponsors, get support, suggestions and even training partners.

Firstly, I started a Facebook group.  I wondered who would join – we had over 800 adherents. I tried to keep them updated with what was happening with me – the training, the events, the food, the happenings with my fellow teammates! The shock was the interaction – people wrote back and asked questions. This is the difference of the Web 2.0 era – interaction and commentary – not passive consumerism.  The SouthPole Trod group was amazing – they supported events and me!

I then started a blog. The idea came about after one sponsor, Wisynco, saw the press garnered by Frozen, largely through electronic and social media. But while there was a paper version in the Flair, only 2 people came up to me citing the paper version.

One issue was how few comments the blog got. People seemed to follow intently, if unobtrusively, online.  Now that I run Endz of the Earth (EOTE – a social media communications and brand management company), I know we should have used Google Analytics. We could have found out how many users read our blog (online), the name of their ISP, the users’ approximate location, how long they visited,  et cetera. But we knew not and worried! People would call, text, and even laugh with me in the street at some of the shenanigans described.  I even had an 8-year old walk up to me at a memorial service.

However, it was when I got frostbite that the power of social media was fully demonstrated. From the customs officer at the airport to Juici employees knew of the frostbite. Moreover, traditional media, such as radio, newspaper, and television had picked up on the story. So even at parties, and Haiti relief events, my frostbitten fingers were far more popular than I ever was!

Using social media has another very important effect. It prevents us from stereotyping each other and our interests. We don’t just assume that Jamaicans are only interested in football or cricket.

It is this democratization of the public space that causes social media to reap  opportunities and advantages and which led me to start Endz of the Earth. We can all contribute to redefining Jamaica and Jamaicans, to let all our different variations, interests and enterprises (such as record-breaking Rotary book drives) to be seen and heard…to the very Endz of the Earth!

One person touching the power of the network!