Archive for the ‘business’ Category

Weil Amazon nicht nur ein überwältigendes Angebot und günstige Preise bietet, was eigentlich Standard für einen Online-Händler ist, sondern darüber hinaus immer wieder mit exzellentem Service und Kundenorientierung überrascht. Folgendes ist mir neulich wiederfahren…

Leider stellte sich mein neuer, über Amazon erworbener Fotorucksack (Geburtstagsgeschenk meiner Eltern) beim Test-Einpacken der Kameraausrüstung als zu klein heraus. Ich also das Teil zurückgeschickt und gegen das nächstgrößere Modell ausgetauscht, das auch schon nach wenigen Tagen in einem gigantischen Karton geliefert wurde. Beim erneuten Einpack-Test merkte ich aber, dass ich Trottel beim Test des kleinen Rucksacks meinen Zirkularpolarisationsfilter darin vergessen und zusammen mit dem Rucksack an Amazon geschickt hatte! Wie kann man nur so doof sein?

Aber zum Glück bin ich dann nicht gleich am nächsten Tag losgelaufen und hab mir einen Ersatz besorgt. Denn es dauerte nicht lange, bis ein Päckchen von Amazon ankam, mit meinem fein säuberlich verpackten Filter darin. Natürlich komplett kostenlos! Bin restlos begeistert, so sehr, dass ich jetzt das Loblied auch in meinem Blog singe und auf diesem Weg auch gleich schön Werbung für Amazon mache. Da sieht man’s mal wieder: Die beste Werbung für ein Produkt oder eine Dienstleistung sind begeisterte Kunden!

Danke, Amazon :-)

In community management, we often have to deal with so-called super-connectors and opinion leaders. These people stand out from the crowd, often have a lot of contacts or moderate groups and are considered key influencers in the community. Taking care of them and looking after their needs is usually an important part of a community manager’s work. However, I have come to wonder if these influencers really deserve all that attention.

Influencers are traditionally seen as people who have influence over other people’s opinions and decisions, particularly consumer decisions. That’s why they are considered important. Influencer marketing – in a nutshell – seeks to identify influencers and to use them in order to increase awareness of the product or service in the market. But when it comes to identifying these mystical imfluencers, things get blurry. Influencers were usually people with access to a lot of other people and an expert reputation, typically journalists, book authors, consultants and your odd elite professor. They exert influence because they have more or less exclusive access to a lot of people and because people trust them. Sounds reasonable so far. Since the rise of user generated content like blogs, social networks and twitter, people who run prestigious blogs and/or have huge online networks have been added to this classical concept of the influencer.

Two things constitute an influencer: being trusted and reaching lots of people.

Let’s have a look at the first factor, trust. If you want to influence someone’s decisions, you need either power over that person, or the person needs to have trust in you. The trust most influencers could rely on came from an expert status. This expert status is usually limited to one single area. I would trust a famous chef if she recommends me a certain restaurant or cookbook, but would I listen to her when she advises me on which laptop to buy? I don’t think so. Which might be a pity because maybe she is very interested in computers, owns the laptop erself and is very happy with it. But because my trust in her is limited to the field of her expertise, I ignore her advice about other topics such as laptops.

Unless… she is a friend of mine and I know she has been using that laptop herself. And this is where social networks and social media in general come into play. These technologies make it very easy to pick up information and advice from people I know – and because I know them I trust them, and unlike with the „expert trust“ this kind of „personal trust“ is not limited to one specific topic.

Now let’s take a look at the second factor on which the influencer’s influence rests: access to a lot of people. A normal person usually has a close relationship with about 4 or 5 other persons (family, friends) and weak relationships to up to 150 people (colleagues, neighbours, etc.). But the influencer commands a much much larger network with possibly thousands of people to which he or she is somehow loosely connected. So they can easily get the message out to a huge crowd of people. The idea follows the pyramid model, where influencers are at the top and the message trickles down from them to the consumers.

Some things have changed, though.

First, the perception of consumer’s trust towards media and experts has changed drastically over the past couple of years, mainly due to user generated content and social media. This can be seen in several studies which showed that trust in the media as well as experts has been declining steadily in recent years. Instead, consumers look more at what other consumers say and do, particularly if they have a connection with these other consumers. For example, people who download music do not care so much about the quality of the music they download, but whether other people have downloaded the music before.

In addition, a 2007 study by Ted Smith [pdf] on word-of-mouth marketing found that most members of the analysed communities were interested in 10 to 12 topics and that they serve as advisers on these topics to their network. According to the same study, the distribution of network sizes in communities typically resemble a bell curve with a normal distribution, meaning that there are few people with very small or very large networks and lots and lots of people with medium sized networks.

Because of the huge number of these „normal“ networks, there is far greater potential for influencing people than in the comparably tiny number of „key influencer networks“. The potential of these medium-sized networks becomes even more obvious when we take three more factors into account:

  • medium-sized networks have a much higher ratio of close ties to weak ties than the typical network of an influencer (5 close ties in a total network size of 100 versus 10 close ties in a network of 10k)
  • close ties typically exert the most influence on our decisions and behavior (our political opinions are mostly shaped by our family and close friends; and only after our opinion has been shaped we buy the newspaper which then supports our existing opinions)
  • people to which we feel a close connection may influence us on a wide range of topics, not just on one expert topic.

Social networks bring together the people with who we have a personal connection and make it easy for us to exchange information and advice with these people, i.e. influence them and be influenced. They create interconnections and publish the information and exchange and thus make them accessible to the vast number of medium-sized networks.

What’s the bottomline? Classical influencers’ most important assets, the trust which they had built up as experts and their reach to masses of people via publication technologies, have lost a lot of their uniqueness and appeal. Trust in media and all kinds of experts has crumbled, and thanks to the newsfeed everybody can easily share advice or important information with their network.

Summary: Are influencers not important any more?

Not quite. The larger potential for influencing decisions may nowadays lie in the medium-sized networks, but as a community manager, it is still important to pay attention to influencers within your community. With their huge networks, what they do and say will still be noticed by a huge number of other people, with potentially devastating results. Imagine that some influencers would repeatedly violate important rules that govern your community – this could cause confusion and distress for a lot of community members and lead to complaints as well as reduced member satisfaction. In the worst case scenario, other members might actually pick up on what they saw the influencers do and violate the rules themselves, leading to a vicious cycle that might well destroy the entire community! So you have to make sure that influencers are aware of being important role-models for other community members and that a larger responsibility stems from their huge networks.

WM-Zeit. Fußball allüberall. Warum also nicht meinen neuen Blog mit einem Post zum Fußball eröffnen?

Gerade haben sich im Vorbericht zum Achtelfinale Portugal vs. Spanien Olli Kahn und die Tante vom ZDF über Cristiano Ronaldo unterhalten. Aufhänger: Die letzten Sommer für ihn von Real Madrid gezahlte Ablösesumme von lumpigen 452 Fantastillarden Euro. Mit großen, ungläubigen Augen wirft die Reichsparteitags-Tante die Frage auf, ob ein Fußballspieler so viel wert sein könne. Olli druckst ein bisschen rum, beide wissen nicht so recht, was sie mit ihrer eigenen Verwunderung anfangen sollen, dabei ist die Antwort doch so einfach. Aber wahrscheinlich ging es auch gar nicht darum, die Frage zu beantworten, sondern einfach noch ein bisschen Zeit zu schinden bis zum Anpfiff. Wenn das mal der Schiri mitbekommen hätte!

Die Antwort liegt auf der Hand: Natürlich ist kein Fußballspieler eine Ablöse von fast 100 Mio Euro wert!

Real Madrid hat ja auch nicht nur einen Fußballer gekauft, sondern einen Weltfußballer, einen der bekanntesten Sportler der Welt, sprich: Eine Marke. Fußballer vom Kaliber eines Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi oder Fernando Torres haben in der heutigen Aufmerksamkeitsökonomie einen Wert, der ihre fußballerischen Fähigkeiten um ein Vielfaches übersteigt. Deshalb werden solche astronomischen Ablösesummen und Gehälter gezahlt, und nicht weil die Jungs so fein mit dem Ball umgehen können.




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