Category Archives: Digital PR

Social Media: The week of Online Influence

It has been a week of ‘Influence’ locally with Ross Dawson launching the Influence Landscape Framework and Gavin Heaton summarising and commenting on some of the recent findings and blogposts.

Internationally ‘influence’ was also being discussed in a  paper by the Harvard School of Business and in the latest issue of Business Week where the cover page stated “What’s a friend worth”.cover

The Harvard Paper

The Harvard School of Business paper entitled  Do Friends Influence Purchases in a Social Network? (by Raghuram Iyengar, Sangman Han, and Sunil Gupta) undertook research to to look at the influence of friends on purchasing decisions.

The Study

Using data from Cyworld, (a very popular Korean social networking site) the study empirically assessed if friends indeed influence purchases. Using 10 weeks of purchase and non-purchase data from 208 users they built an individual level model of choice (buy-no buy) and quantity (how much money to spend).

Findings

The key takeouts of the paper were:

  • There is a significant and positive impact of friends’ purchases on the purchase probability of a user.
  • The study identifies three distinct group of users
  • However, there are significant differences across users. Specifically, this social effect is zero for 48 percent of the users, negative for 12 percent of the users, and positive for 40 percent of the users.
  • “Moderately connected” users exhibit “keeping up with the Joneses” behavior. On average, this social influence translates into a 5 percent increase in revenues.
  • Highly connected users tend to reduce their purchases of items when they see their friends buying them. This negative social effect reduces the revenue for this group by more than 14 percent. This finding is consistent with the typical fashion cycle wherein opinion leaders or the elite in the fashion industry tend to abandon one type of fashion and adopt the next in order to differentiate themselves from the masses.

The researchers said: “…The members in high status group have an influence on those in the middle status group for the diffusion of a new product. However, a successful diffusion in the middle status segment may make high status members lose interest in the new product.”  

The findings naturally have implications for the way you engage differing users within the social networks.

You can download the full report  to read more.

Business Week

In addition to the Harvard paper above the cover story on the June 1 BusinessWeek edition,  asks “What’s a Friend Worth?” 

The article examines how  “Companies are working fast to figure out how to make money from the wealth of data they’re beginning to have about our online friendships“.

The article is of note as it not only examines networked relationships in the external world (around social networks and marketing) but also examines them within companies from a knowledge management – KM perspective (ie how can we more effectively transmit knowledge around the organisation). 

Many years ago when I was involved in developing Knowledge Management strategies understanding social network analysis theory and identifying the ‘connectors’ within an organisation was vital in understanding knowledge flow and who would ideally make the ideal ‘knowledge champion’ within each companyand division.

The same connector/influencer knowledge was then applied when I crafted Internal Communication plans – particularly around ‘Change Communications’ or introduced a new decentralised Intranet that need the ‘influencers’ involved.

Social Network Analysis (SNA) has been around for many years its not new but with the focus on online social networks researchers are now scrambling to crack the code.

About the Author: Jenni Beattie is the Director of Digital Democracy a Sydney based Social Media Consultancy .  Enjoy the article? please subscribe to the RSS Feed

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Filed under digital marketing, Digital PR, marketing, Social Media, social media strategy

UK Digital Network Launched

In a previous post entitled Social Media Why Its Not All About You I discussed the fact that the application of Social Media technologies to business is far more impactful and beneficial to all areas of a company not just the marketing department. 

This week New Media Age published an article regarding the UK Marketing Society ( the 50-year-old institution of senior and board-level marketers) launching a Digital Network in an attempt to help blue-chip companies develop their digital marketing strategies.

The article said ” The Digital Network has been launched to give senior marketers a forum in which to meet and exchange views and advice on implementing digital marketing strategies bought into at board level”

Simon Waldman, Guardian Media Group digital strategy and development director, said of the initiative, “A huge amount of the commercial health of the internet is going to be driven by the decisions of chief executives at blue-chip companies, influenced by their marketing directors. The digital agenda has to hit all areas of firms’ marketing and business strategies.”

Digital Network chairman Scott Gallacher said, “A lot of the case for digital has been proven but there’s a challenge regarding delivery of results in a blue-chip corporate environment. This initiative is designed to let the digital industry recognise the needs of corporate organisations and help them understand the role digital can play.”

The initiative certainly looks well founded. Will the Australian Marketing Institute follow up with a similar initiative?

About the Author: Jenni Beattie is the Director of Digital Democracy a Sydney based Social Media Consultancy . Enjoy the article? please subscribe to the RSS Feed

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Social Media – Why it’s not all about you.

How many times have you heard marketers or pr professionals say:

– “Social Media is so hard to get over the line’  and -‘Its hard to demonstrate the ROI of Social Media’ or

-‘The CEO is just not on board with the Social Media idea’

These comments typically come from individuals that do not have the full business picture in mind when they are talking with their client.

As marketers we often think of Social Media as part of our own personal toolkit – albiet a growing and quickly developing one. Via Social Media we have the capacity to reach consumers,  with some prs still aiming to get a few messages across  (yes very old school) and ideally raise the brand profile and ultimately sell the item that we are marketing.

So what is wrong with that notion? After working in traditional media, online pr, market research 2.0 and knowledge management it is clearly evident that we need to recognise that Social Media touches all the above disciplines within a business including R&D and CRM.  As individuals within those disciplines we need to step outside our own areas and look at how we deliver business value across many areas of the business  – a much more wholistic approach.

So how is this relevant to you as a marketer? First understand that the Twitter account that you are trying to sell in for pr purposes can also be used for CRM and that means working with those relevant internally to support customers if complaints arise.  That branded Online Community that you are thinking about will provide ROI for many elements of your business including innovation and R&D. It is not just about your big shiny idea or your pr/marketing silo, or for that matter (and this is positive) the marketing budget.

Finally social media strategies can be devised and initially implemented by agencies but collaborative maintenance must come from the company itself.   What is maintenance? after the initial burst of creative activity is the hard yakka of continuing the conversation with your consumers, listening to them and embracing what you learn. If your social media marketing agency is simply selling you a one-off campaign and not educating you along the way they are doing you a disservice. Sure campaigns such as World’s Best Job have a finite time period but most customer engagement strategies should be for the long-term.

Social Media has the power to transform a company,  break down internal silos, deliver excellent ROI, engage with consumers and deliver more relevant products to the marketplace but we need to first recognise its not all about us.

About the Author: Jenni Beattie is the Director of Digital Democracy a Sydney based Social Media Consultancy . Enjoy the article?please subscribe to the RSS Feed .

Update May 9 Mashable produced an excellent article using Twitter for customer service well worth a read!

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Digital Democracy born

In the middle of April this year in the middle of a recession I resigned my current role and started my own social media consultancy called Digital Democracy. 

Why? because with 20 years of media experience gathered in pr agencies, advertising agencies, media houses and market research agencies I believe I can support both agencies and companies that need assistance navigating the social media landscape.

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End of the Year but start of a blog

As the year draws to a close I thought it was time to start my own blog. After contributing to many blogs since 2006 including FreshChat, Digital Ministry, The Digital Edge and Slice Media and leaving them behind when I moved jobs I decided the mature thing to do was simply start my own – called Reputational Democracy.

I came across the term in a Twitter post and liked it. It reflects the current environment in which consumers have their say and in which brands and companies are all judged daily.

I hope you will also have your say on the blog in coming weeks.

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