There has been growing interest of late in the importance of your “social capital” as Brian Solis has been letting us know at the recent 2011 Lift Conference in Geneva. Brian has warned us that we need to be both careful and savvy in how we use social networks. Our online social activity is already being used for determining if we are worthy of a job or credit and our “influencer scores” may already be factored into how we are treated in hospitality companies and other sectors. For some this may seem like an opportunity and for others this may seem too much like “Big Brother”. Participation in social networks creates a blurring between our private lives and professional lives. We will need to take care of our profiles and ensure that we are harnessing the power that our social networks bring. In addition we need to be keeping a close eye on our scores in networks such as Klout and Peer Index.
Whilst the UK is now the lead market in Europe for the usage of Facebook with 30million UK users and more than 50% using Facebook daily, it’s time to really evaluate whether you are harnessing and making the most of your online social presence and engaging with the right influencers.
You might ask why this is important but it’s clear that both Google and Bing are now going to be using “influencer scores” and the number of your fans and followers and their influencer scores are going to have a bearing on the ranking of your content and site in the search engines as outlined by Tad Miller in December 2010. This is one of the prime reasons for companies to take note and to roll out their social media plans and to ensure that they are maximising the strength of their online social activity. This might include ensuring that your company has a strong Google and Linkedin profile and is correctly represented on all the social networks. You will want to check that the links between your blogs are fully listed in your profiles.
It might mean setting up online groups and communities that enable the company to build greater influence in its chosen markets or to ensure that your employees and agents are listening to the conversations going on in Linkedin and other groups about your products and services. It’s a whole different way of communicating with your customers and influencers and may well mean more listening and less selling.
I was delighted to receive a charming thank you note today from the Ambassador of Columbia for my recent blog on my recent travels to Columbia. I doubt my influencer score would have impacted his decision to send a note but he realised the importance that blogs are now having on the reputation of his country as a tourist destination and was clearly seeing the opportunity to work with travel bloggers. For those who would like to know why Colombia is one of the happiest places on the planet click here. You can also read lots of great travel stories from Andy and his other guest bloggers.
Are you ready for this brave new world of social influence and are you communicating with the “influencers” who are saying things about your company?