Not all advocates are created equal—someone who “likes” your brand or follows you on Twitter is not an advocate (yet). This is an important fact to realize before you plan and launch an advocacy program. Building a program can be costly, so you need to invest wisely in advocates who can create the biggest bang for the buck. While it’s nice to have anyone advocating on your behalf, you need to get the Mass Influencers doing so.
As introduced in the Forrester Peer Influence Pyramid, Mass Influencers are the minority of those in social media who create the majority of the influence posts and impressions about products and services. These are the people who combine influence, trust, relevance and scale to create powerful advocacy.
There are three ways to create mass-influencing advocates:
Promote them: Take people who have little influence on their own and make them Mass Influencers through involvement in your program. The Walt Disney World Moms Panel is a successful example of this approach.
Eric Schmidt has seen the future, and it's "autonomous search." That's a fancy term that means "discovery." But no matter what words you use, it still means the same thing: more empowered consumers and greater value in earned media.
Some people are creeped out by portions of what Schmidt said, but he has suggested an exciting future for empowering people to create greater influence and be armed with timely, relevant, and useful information. At TechCrunch Disrupt, Schmidt envisioned a future where people and technology come together to create "a serendipity engine . . . a new way of thinking about traditional text search where you don't even have to type."
As you look into the future, the distinction between “search” and “discovery” gets muddy. While it sounds like science fiction to suggest that technology can help search for things you don’t even yet know you want, the opportunities to improve human discovery are very real. Combining a person’s context—where they are, who they’re with—with their past opinions and actions and the opinions and actions of others can create tremendous value and relevance.