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.
Recently, Forrester introduced a new way to consider influence in Social Media. We identified a group of social media participants we call Mass Influencers. While just 16% of the US population, Mass Influencers are responsible for 80% of the influence impressions and posts about products and services in social channels.
Mass Connectors, who create a great number of impressions about brands and services in social networks, like Twitter and Facebook, and
Mass Mavens, who create and share content about products and services in other social channels such as YouTube, blogs, forums, or ratings and review sites.
The fact that a minority of social media participants represent the lion’s share of buzz about products and services is probably not at all surprising, but what does this mean to marketers? How can brands develop programs that activate the potential of Mass Influencers to create awareness and consideration among their readers, friends, followers and others in social venues? The answer comes from Peer Influence Analysis (PIA), Forrester’s new framework to analyze influence within particular markets, demographics and industries.
This past weekend, I did something no man welcomes: The dreaded car-buying event. Sure, we men love to shop for cars, but buying one is another thing altogether. I abhor salespeople botching heavy-handed “closing techniques,” fake chumminess, the sexism of telling my wife about cup holders and showing me the engine, and one of my least-favorite lines in the human language, “I’m not sure that’s gonna fly—I’ll have to check with my manager.” Yes, this weekend was all that and more, but in the end we snagged our car and I got the chance to meet and learn from a Mass Maven (and now so can you).
A while back, I published a report and blog post that briefly introduced two types of Mass Influencers—Mass Connectors and Mass Mavens. Next week, Forrester will release a new report that defines Mass Influencers in more detail, but this weekend I had the opportunity to study a Mass Maven in the wild. So, grab your pith helmet and join me as we embark on a Mass Influencer safari.
My journey started with a decision to purchase a convertible. (Hey, we may have moved to Northern California, but it’s still California!) First stop was a dealership to look at the new VW Eos. Our salesperson was—how can I put this delicately?—uninformed. When asked what the difference was between the two versions of the vehicle, he answered, “One has more features” and left it at that.