Influence vs Advocacy: Which Rules The Digital Kingdom

In the world of social marketing, digital influence is akin to saying holy water. It is sacred, mysterious, and purportedly carries with it healing properties. Influencers speak and the world stops to listen. Almost as prestigious in the new world of conversational marketing is the word advocacy. Advocates are the disciples of brands. They are customers or fans and they live to join branded communities and also go out of their way to tell everyone they know why the brand is so special.

I am exaggerating, of course. What is not an exaggeration, however, is the importance marketers place on influencers and advocates without understanding the role each can play in word of mouth or engagement programs. If you were to spend any time in a conference room full of brands, agencies or social software vendors, you would quickly realize that the words influence and advocacy would be used interchangeably.

What’s the difference between influence and advocacy? The differences are quite notable but the answers aren’t often sought.

Influencers are individuals who’ve earned authority on any given topic and have built a community or series of communities around their body of ideas or work. They have the capacity to cause an effect on the character, actions or behavior of someone or something.

Advocates are champions (and/or enthusiastic customers) who align with or embody the tenets or the mission of a thing (in this case a brand) or a cause. Advocates may or may not carry influence individually. When advocates unite, the concerted group can wield influence.

On the subject of influence, Technorati recently released its 2013 Digital Influence Report. In it, I discovered some interesting stats about the various ways that brands are approaching influence.

Influencers become part of the mix

For years, I’ve studied the art and science of digital influence, especially what it is, what it isn’t, and how it works (and can work for you.) As a long time blogger, I found it fascinating that “influencers” are most active on blogs with the likes of Facebook and Twitter supporting their efforts according to Technorati.

Their efforts don’t go unnoticed. Not only are they building audiences and communities, brands are actively seeking to work with them. Technorati learned that 65% of brands participate in influencer targeting as part of its digital marketing mix.

I was equally fascinated by how brands measured the elements of “influence.” In an interesting twist of cyber fate, brands appeared to calculate influence, or at least the semblance of it, using a myriad of popularity-based metrics rather than studying impact or the capacity to cause effect or change behavior. Ironically however, Likes, followers, friends, audience size, and views ranked higher in terms of weight than those very platforms designed to measure “influence,” i.e. Klout, Peer Index, Kred and even Technorati Authority.

Is it quantity or quality? In this case, when it comes to influence, less can be more. Similar to an influence studyI conducted a few years ago with Vocus, Technorati Media found that most brands, in this case 54%, believe that individuals or groups that boast concentrated communities carry greater influence. Please repeat, influence is not popularity and popularity is not influence.

Influence is relative, however, if it can’t be attributed to cause and effect.  Technorati learned something quite profound. When it comes to decision-making, consumers turned to blogs in droves when making a purchase. Blogs were found to be the third most influential digital resource at 31% behind retail sites (56%) and brand sites (34%).

When it comes to services most used, blogs ranked in the top 5, ahead of noteworthy destinations and networks such as Twitter, news sites, Pinterest and even brand sites. YouTube and Facebook respectively ranked as the first and second most used online services.

Which online services are most trusted by consumers? Technorati’s study revealed that news sites are by far the most trusted followed by Facebook. YouTube and blogs also made the top 5.

The report overall makes it clear that brands will miss important consumer touch points if they do not employ either new media influencer and/or advocacy programs as part of the greater marketing mix.  As consumers research products to make informed decisions, published experiences and impressions in social networks and blogs become the peer-driven digital equivalent to Consumer Reports.

3 strategies for cultivating advocacy programs

To succeed here requires distinct strategies aimed at cultivating influence and advocacy programs over time.

1) Identify, learn, brief, and support influencers based on what’s important to them, not what’s just important to you. It’s important to build relationships before you need them.

2) Recognize advocates and what it is they love about the brand. Develop online and social programs that allow them to connect with other consumers where touch points and decision-making intersect.

3) Reward advocates for asking and answering questions and for sharing experiences and passions.

Genuine influence and advocacy initiatives will only help your customers discover your value in key moments of truth. How are you using advocates and influencers in your overall strategy?

[Source: AT&T Networking Exchange Blog]

6 Facebook Metrics You Should (Know and) Be Measuring

Do you feel lost when you’re looking at your Facebook Page statistics?

Well, you’re not alone. Facebook metrics can be overwhelming and most Facebook Insights terminology is still hazy for many of us.

As a marketer, you know that what can be measured can be managed (and improved). So even if it seems complex, you need to measure your Facebook Page’s performance.

What statistics should you measure on your Facebook Page?

First you’ll want to focus on your Facebook post metrics. These are the only relevant indicators of the performance of your content. The other Facebook data can be misleading or gamed. But it’s very hard to trick individual post metrics.

Here are the six key metrics you need to track to understand your Facebook Page performance, why you need them and where to find them.

#1: Fan Reach

Fan reach simply corresponds to the number of fans of your Page who have seen any given post. This is “organic” reach, which means that it only records the views that occurred directly, and not through an action of a friend of a fan (such as a like, share or comment). The views that result from a friend’s actions are recorded in “viral” views.

Where to find your fan reach metrics

The fan reach metric is not available in the Facebook statistics interface; it’s only available in an Excel file available for download.

fan reach data

To access fan reach data, you first need to export the data to Excel.

export insights data

Choose the format, the date range and select “post level data.”

You’ll find it under the label “Lifetime Post reach by people who like your Page.” This is not as user-friendly as the web interface, I know, but it is important enough to spend the time retrieving this information.

lifetime post reach

Within the Key Metrics tab, look for the column labeled “Lifetime Post reach by people who like your Page.”

Why your fan reach metrics are important to know

The per-post fan reach is probably the most important metric. It’s a key indicator. It helps you measure the appeal of your content to your audience and appreciate the quality of your audience.

An audience recruited from an eye-catching contest (or worse, bought through the thousands of questionable sites that sell “fans”) will quickly hide your posts from their newsfeed. If they don’t actively unsubscribe, their lack of interest (and therefore disengagement) will cause them to be effectively unsubscribed from your posts due to Facebook’s EdgeRank feature working behind the scenes.

Fan reach is a key indicator of the health of your Facebook Page. The higher the quality of your audience and the more interesting your content, the more fans (and potential fans) you will reach.

#2: Organic Reach

Organic reach corresponds with the number of people, fans and non-fans, who have seen a given post. As with fan reach, organic reach only records views that are not the result of a friend of a fan’s action (which is counted in the viral reach).

The real difference between the fan reach (above) and this metric is that the organic reach includes views of people that are not fans of the Page but have directly accessed your Page or seen its content in a widget (for example, a “like box” on your site or blog).

Where to find your organic reach metrics

The organic reach is easier to find, as it is located within the Insight interface of your Page.

Just go to your Insights, scroll down to your list of posts, click on the Reach number for each post and hover your mouse on the bar chart for “Organic”and you’ll see the number.

You can also see this stat under each post if you’re logged into your Page.

organic reach

Once on the Insights interface, click on the number of people reached for the post in question and hover your mouse over the “Organic” bar chart, you’ll see the organic reach number for that post.

So, if you have not downloaded the Excel file to get your fan reach as outlined above, you can check your organic reach metrics instead. But remember that your organic reach metrics can be quite different from your fan reach metrics.

The example below shows the differences we found between two Pages when comparing results of these two metrics.

fan reach organic reach

The difference between fan reach and organic reach can vary significantly from one Page to another.

As you can see, your organic reach may not be an accurate reflection of your fan reach. So before relying on organic reach instead of fan reach, check if your Page has a big difference between the two.

Why your organic reach metrics are important to know

Organic reach can replace fan reach in the metrics you want to follow, but only if the average difference between organic and fan reach is not too high with your audience.

Your organic reach metrics can help you identify ways to improve your content’s organic visibility. For example, when organic reach is very close to fan reach, it usually means that people cannot be exposed to your content if they are not already fans.

This could be the consequence of a lack of proper communication about your Fan Page on your other marketing channels. If you have a website, a blog and a newsletter and there is very little difference between your organic and fan reach results, it probably means that you are not attracting a new non-fan audience to your content.

If this is your case, try to better promote your Page on other channels and you should see your organic reach going up.

#3: Engagement

According to Facebook, with regards to post level metrics, engagement is “the number of people who clicked anywhere in your post.

This includes liking, commenting and sharing and people who’ve viewed your video or clicked on your links and photos. And it also includes people who’ve clicked on a commenter’s name, liked a comment, clicked on your Page name and even gave negative feedback by reporting your post.

Engaged users are people who have clicked on this content from anywhere.

It’s the most important metric to know after your reach metric. Reach tells you how many people have potentially seen your content; engagement is the number of people who have interacted with your content.

Where to find your engagement metrics

To see the engagement metric for each post, go to your Insights at the same place where you looked at your organic reach. The number of people who engaged with your content is right there in the “Engaged Users” column.

engaged users

The Engaged Users metric is easy to see on your Facebook Insights page.

Why your engagement metrics are important to know

Engagement—whether the type that implies “acting” on your post by commenting, liking or sharing it, or the type that is more “passive,” such as watching the video, zooming on a photo or clicking on a link—is probably the second most important metric to focus on if you are serious about measuring your Page’s performance.

It’s not enough for your updates to be viewed by a lot of people. You need to make sure that the content you offer your audience triggers some kind of interest. And engagement is the only measurable sign of interest.

When measuring engagement, do not focus on the raw number you see in your Insights. The only way to really understand that metric and compare posts is to look at the number of engaged people and the number of people reached for the post in question.

The only way to compare a post engagement metric with your other posts is to create a percentage. This gives you a number that you can use to benchmark the performance of each of your posts.

formula

Use this formula for each post to compare the performance of one post against another.

This formula helps you understand your results. If you rely solely on the number of engaged users, you’ll never know if good engagement on a specific post is due to the quality of your content, or if it was simply shown to more people.

This gives you a percentage that takes the exposure of the post into account and allows the comparison between posts.

benchmark posts

Creating these percentages helps benchmark posts against one another.

#4: People Talking About This (or Storytellers)

The “People Talking About This” data in Facebook Insights is sometimes referred to as “Storytellers.” This is one of Facebook’s metrics that few people understand.

Here’s what you need to know. This metric is part of the engagement metric. So the number of “people talking about” a post is included in the number of people who “engaged” with that post.

The “people talking about this” metric only measures three types of actions: likes, comments or shares.

What makes “people talking about this” different from the engagement metric above is that it highlights the number of your fans who did something to show engagement to their friends.

Where to find your “people talking about this” metrics

Again, go to your Insights interface where you found your organic reach and engagement stats, and look at the “Talking About This” column. Easy.

people talking about this

When you click on the “People Talking About This” number for each post, you see a breakdown of the type of action made on each post.

Why your “people talking about this” metric is important to know

This is the “viral” metric. One of your motivations for creating a Facebook Page was probably to connect with the friends of your existing fans for free! The “people talking about this” metric is the best for measuring how many people are willing to spread the word about you to their friends.

Remember, when a user likes, comments on or shares a post on your Page, Facebook may decide to publish this to this user’s friends to show that this user liked, commented on or shared a piece of content from your Page. I emphasize the “may” because Facebook is limiting the reach of these stories.

So, don’t expect too much from this metric. Although Facebook is still the best place to leverage viral stories like these, it’s not what it used to be. You used to frequently see in your newsfeed that a friend had liked, commented on or shared a piece of content from a Page. Chances are that you see less of this today.

#5: Click-Through Rate

Here comes a metric that you are sure to be familiar with! The CTR, or click-through rate, has been around for years on the web. It’s used to measure the effectiveness of email marketing, banner advertising, search engine ads such as Adwords campaigns or landing page quality.

The good news is that it means the same thing within Facebook. Click-through rates tell you the number of people who have clicked on a link in your content, watched your video or viewed a larger version of your photo.

Where to find your click-through metrics

Go to your Page Insights interface, click on the Engaged Users number and you’ll find the number of users who have clicked on your content.

If the content is a link, it will be named “Link Clicks;” if it is a video, it will be labeled “Video Plays;” if it is a photo, it’ll read “Photo Views.” Pretty straightforward.

click through rates

Depending on the type of content you are looking at, you’ll find click-through rates shown as “Photos Views,” “Video Plays” and “Link Clicks.”

Why your click-through metrics are important to know

It is nice to know how many people have potentially seen your content (the reach metric), and even nicer to know how many of them were interested enough to act on it (engaged users), as outlined above.

But the bottom line is to know how many people were interested enough to pay attention to your content. And this means watching your video, looking at your photo or checking out your link.

The click-through metric is the bottom of your content quality funnel. Keep an eye on it.

#6: Negative Feedback

Negative feedback is a “negative” action taken by a fan on your piece of content. It can be hiding a specific post, hiding all future posts from your Page, unliking your Page or even worse, reporting it as spam.

Simply put, the negative feedback metric counts the number of users who really did not like your content or the fact that it appeared in their newsfeed.

Where to find your negative feedback metrics

Go to your Page Insights interface, click on the Engaged Users number and you’ll find the number of users who gave negative feedback at the bottom of that window.

negative feedback

Click on the Engaged Users number for each post and you’ll see the “negative feedback” number in small print.

You cannot see the breakdown for the negative feedback number here in the Insights. If you want to know what negative actions were actually taken, you will have todownload the Excel export as mentioned in the fan reach section above.

Why your negative feedback metrics are important to know

Since September 2012, Facebook has given more weight to the negative feedback metric. Posts with a high negative feedback number will have much less exposure through EdgeRank and Pages with an average negative feedback that remains high will have less and less reach over time.

Needless to say, if you want to benefit from your Facebook marketing, you need to keep your negative feedback numbers as low as possible.

As with all other engagement metrics (engaged users, people talking about your Page, clicks, etc.), when measuring negative feedback, do not focus on the number you see on your Insights dashboard.

The only way to really understand your negative feedback metric and compare the data you have for your different posts is to create a percentage score with the number of people who gave negative feedback and the number reached for that particular post.

You’ll end up with a percentage that makes sense because it takes the exposure of the post into account and allows you to compare results from different posts.

When looking at negative feedback in percentages, I’ve found the average negative feedback is 0.1%, but some Pages go as high as 0.7%!

post insights

Look at both your negative feedback and engagement scores in percentages.

Use These Six Metrics to Improve Your Facebook Marketing

Measuring your Facebook Page performance may seem like a daunting task if you have to do it manually from the Facebook Insights interface or the Excel download. And you may find it useful to start doing it that way to understand where the data comes from and what it means.

But once you’re familiar with the metrics, you can use third-party tools to save time. Although there are others, these free tools are a great place to start: Page Analyzer and Simply Measured (free version).

You can also decide to invest in paid tools such as QuintlyPageleverPostAcumenand Wisemetrics.

[Source: Social Media Examiner]

Twitter NOT a Reliable Indicator of Public Opinion

Obama-twitter
Seemingly dozens of startups exist which try to make sense of Twitter sentiment, and Twitter itself has been trying hard to portray its sentiment data as an accurate reflection of public opinion. However, Pew Research Center — among the gold standards of public research polling — says it might be all for naught.Pew compared traditional public poll results with Twitter sentiment data around eight of the most significant political events over the last year, often finding significantly divergent results.According to Pew, in some instances — Barack Obama’s reelection, the first presidential debate and a federal court ruling on California’s same-sex marriage ban — the reaction on Twitter was “more pro-Democratic or liberal than the balance of public opinion.” However, other events — Obama’s second inaugural speech, John Kerry’s nomination as Secretary of State and Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address — elicited a more conservative response on Twitter than they did in opinion polls.

Pew also pointed to the general negativity of political tweets, which perhaps suggests people are more likely to tweet about something about which they disapprove rather than vice-versa. That would affect Twitter sentiment data vis-a-vis public polling data, as Twitter data is comprised of opinions from people who weren’t directly prompted to share an opinion whereas public opinion polls rely on respondents’ answers to a series of questions.

Why else is there a difference between Twitter sentiment and public opinion polling? Three reasons, according to Pew: Demographics, sampling and grouping.

  • On demographics, only 13% of adults use Twitter, and only 3% said they regularly or sometimes tweet about the news, according to previous Pew studies — hardly enough to form a representative sample of voters. Additionally, Pew found that Twitter tends to skew young and left. “Twitter users are considerably younger than the general public and more likely to be Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party,” reads the study.
  • There’s also a sampling issue: Twitter conversations can include non-voters (such as those under 18 or international citizens), while public opinion poll samples about domestic politics are limited to citizens aged 18 and older.
  • Finally, there’s a problem of grouping: Not everybody who tweets about politics tweets aboutevery political event.

“Those who tweeted about the California same-sex marriage ruling were likely not the same group as those who tweeted about Obama’s inaugural or Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan,” reads the Pew study, which pointed to the substantial difference in the number of people who tweeted about Obama’s relected compared to Kerry’s nomination as evidence.

“In the two days following Obama’s re-election on Nov. 6, there were nearly 14 million Tweets from people expressing their reaction,” said Pew. “And more than five million expressed their reactions to the first presidential debate. But other events, particularly the federal court ruling on same sex marriage in California last February and Obama’s nomination of John Kerry in December, drew a much lower volume of tweets.”

There is, of course, a potential conflict of interest here: Pew might not want Twitter infringing on its opinion-polling turf.

Mashable has contacted Twitter for its response to the Pew study, and we will update this post with any comment.

Do you think Twitter can be a reliable source of public opinion?

[Source: Mashable]

Social Media Predictions for 2013

Companies of all sizes are in search of answers towards better social media strategy and at TopRank Marketing we’re helping to make that happen.

This week Jolina Pettice and I completed giving a 2 day social media and content marketing workshop for a $400 million company and a few weeks ago I gave a presentation to executives at a $22 billion company on how social media could advance some of their objectives. The way forward with social media is top of mind for many businesses and organizations.

Many marketers possess core knowledge, but they’re often missing confidence on the why, what, who and how of social media that can advance customer and business goals. Answering those concerns is one of the reasons why I like this new ebook from Dell. Of course, I also like it because they asked me to participate. The group of thought leaders tapped to provide forward thinking insights about social media is impressive and includes social media smarties Ann Handley, Michael Brito, Paul Gillin, Shel Israel and many more.

What is the one social media behavior you would like to see more of in 2013? What needs to stop?

Just one? OK. Let’s talk about the hashtag shall we? Here’s three hashtag behaviors that need to stop as soon as you finish reading them.

1. #followfriday – #ff has jumped the shark. It’s over with people. Done. Buh bye.
2. Speaking of #hashtags, #let’s #just #stop #with #the #hashtagging #of #every #word #in #a #tweet #OK? #You #keyword #spammer #you.
3. This one I am guilty of myself, so I’ll come clean for all to see: Using the #hashtag in places it wasn’t intended. Like on Facebook. And Birthday cards. Or the specials chalkboard at coffee shops.

What social media channel do you feel is primed to grow its audience base the most in 2013 and which one may disappear?

There are a few ways to look at growth in a meaningful way. There’s quantity, as in which network adds more people. But are they the right people for your business? There’s also quality, as in who adds the most people that actually use the service. Going to a party where no one talks to each other is #boring. Oops, there goes the hashtag.

Then there are things like rate of growth or geographic growth like in the U.S. versus internationally. I think Pinterest and Google+ will continue to grow rapidly as will YouTube. I think there will be some mobile and tablet apps we haven’t even heard of yet that will surprise people the way Twitter did. Snapseed anyone?

As for disappear, I think Path’s days are numbered. If it wasn’t for Jason Falls, I would be off Path in a second.

Which social media metric is the most overrated? Which metric is most underrated?

Overrated: Likes.

Underrated: How many people link to me or who mention @leeodden on Twitter. I can’t think of a more qualitative social signal than a nice link to one of my blog posts to show what an impressively smart person or brand you are :)

Actually, revenue is underrated when it comes to social media metrics. The trick is connecting the dots. As much as it makes sense to measure KPIs that don’t directly represent value to the business until better monetary methods can be figured out, companies should not lose sight of monitoring and measuring the performance of their social media activity. Never settle for fans, friends and follower counts or comments or impressions. Strive for measuring impact, directly or indirectly, on business goals no matter how difficult it is.

Can you share your best advice for a brand to connect with their audience on a one-on-one level? Eg.: create a real, lasting and meaningful connection.

Do brands actually need to connect on a one to one level in a real, lasting and meaningful way to be successful? As a consumer, the idea of a real, lasting and meaningful connection with a box of soap kind of scares me. But I get where you’re going.

The best advice about how brands can connect with people in a meaningful way is to have a great product or service and to be genuine when talking about it. To be liked, you need to be likable, so figure out what that means for your customers. Find out what they really care about and what their goals are. Then find a way for your product and company to be the best answer and resource for those things. Tell stories about how your brand makes those connections. Be meaningful, not mechanical. Your audience will love your for it. Unless you’re a box of soap.

What are some of your predictions about social media going forward? Which of the contributors to this Dell eBook do you agree with? Or disagree?

[Source: TopRank Blog]

The iTunes Value Structure

Of the $16.5 billion in music revenues, $5.6 billion came from digital downloads. Of those, $4.3 billion came from iTunes, of which the music labels received $3.4 billion. This accounts for 60 percent of digital music revenues for 2012.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) reported that global digital revenues were $5.6 billion in 2012. This represented about 9% growth from 2011 and accounted for 34% of total industry revenues[1].

Apple regularly reports iTunes as a separate revenue item and occasionally it also reports payments data for developers and app download rates. By interpolating the data published and combining it with some assumptions it’s possible to estimate the mix of revenues (and costs) associated with iTunes.

My yearly estimates are summarized below.

Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 2-26-6.04.23 PM

Note that I also included historic digital music industry revenues (as a line). I also included the following summary items:

  1. iTunes reported revenues were $13.5 billion (including Apple’s own software sales)
  2. iTunes gross revenues were about $15.6 billion (including payments to developers)
  3. The iOS and OSX “App Economy” was about $7.5 billion while the iTunes “Media Economy” was about $8.1 billion (both figures include transaction costs.)
  4. The iTunes Music economy was $4.3 billion of which $3.4b was paid to music labels.[2]
 

Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 2-26-6.09.12 PMIn terms of percent of total value the components are:

Looking at growth, these estimates imply that App revenues are growing at about 50% while iTunes Music is at 10% and Video+other at 90%.

Looking at profitability, there is potential for operating margin in Apple Software and App Agency Fees and perhaps some of the Media Transaction Fees (exploded wedges above). Historically, Apple suggested that their App and Media stores ran at break-even but that may no longer be the case. Operating margins from Software may be significant.

 

Notes:

  1. These revenues were from recorded music and don’t include live performance
  2. My estimate for the iTunes Music payments to publishers is equivalent to about 60% of total industry revenues.

[Source: Asymco]