Posts tagged influencers
Posts tagged influencers
Having launched our site and our free Android app, we have now moved from pre-launch phase into the marketing phase and it has given me new respect for companies trying to harness the power of the influential people creating content online.
It also means I have new respect for what the team behind KLOUT is trying to do.
However, as someone who is on the hunt for bloggers with real clout, KLOUT falls short of capturing an enormous piece of the puzzle by not tracking the power of bloggers’ actual blog posts (outside of Tumblr users). While their purpose is to track social media influence, there is still enormous influence wielded from within individuals’ personal sites, especially when the audience is women. Women are most “social” on those sites where they are comfortable and feel a part of a close community.
Women bloggers (mistakenly often referred to generically – and wrongly - as “mommy bloggers”) wield massive influence over their audiences (an audience that, in the US alone drives 85% of the consumer economy, and $5tln annually). So far, in reaching out to these blogging influencers and trying to determine how best to work with them I have been given lots of information (none of which is correlated to anything definitive). I have perused Google rankings, site traffic, Twitter accounts, Facebook Fan pages, Alexa rankings, and Top Blogger Lists (from Babble and other networks) and what have I found? When trying to target women as an audience of consumers online, numbers mean little and emotions mean a lot.
Why Do Women Do the Things They Do?
The decisions women make are, to an extent, based on emotion.
Is that an awful statement? I hope not. I don’t mean to imply that we don’t evaluate circumstances, analyze factual information or make intellectual choices. I’m simply saying that for most women there is an additional emotional overlay to every decision, and the social landscape of Web 2.0 should make it easier for brands to leverage the emotional connections women have with each other online. The problem is nobody has figured out how to quantify that emotional bond.
Currently utilizing bloggers as influencers remains an extremely inefficient market. And it is a problem for both the brands that want to work with these bloggers, as well as for the women who deserve fair market compensation for their influence.
Established brands with enormous budgets may be able to use this community to push out small products, but to establish a brand utilizing online influencers takes enormous time and research (and VCs should beat down the doors of anyone even attempting to solve this problem).
Right now brands have to do all the legwork in discovering the answers to questions such as:
As I mentioned earlier as a company we have evaluated every form of analytics known to man in order to find the right partners through which to spread word of our site. Third party ad referrals that we went through to secure blog reviews showed great analytics for their bloggers but left us thoroughly disappointed in results (never mind the fact that it left us without a way to make any emotional connection at all with the influencers it is using). Other bloggers we have worked with have surely put in enormous effort in getting the word out about us, but lack the real connection with their audience that would make them a “true influencer”.
Finally (pretty much exasperated with the options) we sat down and began to read blogs. We’ve always been fans of our own lists of blogs, but in looking for partners we were always targeting bloggers who wrote about subjects that we thought meshed with our brand (ie, organization, tech savvy experts, etc).
What we found out instead was the bloggers we were most emotionally connected with on a personal level were the ones that turned out to be the best for our brand. That they were not experts in any specific field other than “life” didn’t matter at all.
The biggest influencer we have partnered with so far has no KLOUT. She has a decent sized Twitter following – but rarely Tweets. Her Facebook page is extensive and up to date, but the true heart of her brand, the place where she makes the most intense connections with people is on her blog. And unfortunately, other than the personal discovery of that blog as a reader, there is no way for me as a company to quantify that emotional connection.
Sure, there is traffic data. But we have seen traffic of similar sorts on other blogs where a mention of our site meant little to nothing.
However, when this particular blogger gave us a “seal of approval” by mentioning our brand on her blog our traffic levels shot up, set records, and in general gave us our first heart palpitations; all from a single introductory paragraph on her blog. There were no Tweets about us or the post. Our name is not mentioned directly on her Facebook page. This outreach was one woman making a recommendation to her close friends magnified to the highest levels allowed through the global reach of the web.
Even more unfortunate is the fact that there is no way for other brands to discover the true value of this influencer unless they do their own legwork – which means everyone, everywhere is inventing the same wheel over and over again when they try to reach women consumers online. Until there is a real way to quantify the emotional bond bloggers have to their audience, evaluating them through the current means available is just a hollow fix, and worse, a numbers game that is easily manipulated.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if there were a team of female developers looking to tackle this problem? Not a 1.0 solution like another blog aggregator, or alliance of bloggers, or tool that rewards the person who selects the best hashtags when Tweeting, but an actual measurement for the emotional reach of a blogger’s words with their core audience.
It would certainly be a game changer. I’ll even make a suggestion to you for a name: JeNeSaisQuois.com.