Archive for March, 2011

It’s the Relationships, Stupid.

10.27.10-Are-Virtual-Relationships-Really-Real-300x300Channel Signal is borrowing the famous battle cry, “It’s the Economy, Stupid” created the Clinton candidacy to help focus the campaign on a winning strategy. Coined by James Carville, it did the trick…tapping into a core value that resonated with the American public.

Now, comes social media. And the focal point ought to be on finding the Influencers and building the relationships.

Putting this into perspective, the Outdoor Recreational Industry has always been about relationships. Athletes talking up brands. Retail salespeople selling what they like and are confident about to consumers. People in the communities who are gearheads and always having recommendations for family and friends. And millions and millions of conversations over beer and wine about climbing, skiing, running, biking and camping.

Now, social media is good for measuring conversations about initiatives and events and then comparing the rise or fall of the volume on a month-to-month basis. It is the start of developing a basis for ROI.

However, brands will grow if they attract, enlist, and keep Influencers. For these are the people who attract the online traffic, talk about your brand to friends, and talk about the latest gear at cocktail parties.

So, it is the relationships and how to attract them. And it will not be accomplished with big-message marketing. And it will not be accomplished with heavy footed attempts are being friends on Facebook. It will be accomplished thru your people honestly having conversations with Influencers. Some will come on board and be messengers for you. Some won’t. But humanity plays a big part in these conversations.

We came across an article in Marketing Professor that speaks to our point.

Most social media measurement efforts place far too much emphasis on Fans/Likers and Followers.  For Twitter, the number of Followers is seen as a key metric, thought by many to relate to potential influence.  For Facebook it is the number of Fans/Likers many companies/brands attempt to maximize.  While these may be the vanity metrics of choice, they fall far short of being adequate for rigorous measurement.  The largest disconnect of course is these numbers really don’t describe potential audience size very well and they have nothing to do with interactions/engagement.

For Twitter, there is a growing amount of evidence (read the Million Follower Fallacy paper) that number of Followers really has little to do with Influence.  Number of Followers may be an indication of popularity but not influence.  Influence talks more to one’s ability to start conversations and spread ideas.  For Facebook, number of Fans bears little semblance to average daily audience size and tells you nothing about engagement of the community.  All Fans are not created equally.  Some are engaged, some never return.  Some are your best customers, others are there only to trash you.

Number of Fans and Followers are metrics you probably should include in your overall metrics set, but should be de-emphasized and not be a primary area of focus.

It’s establishing communications links with your target audience using new media tools.

And it’s as old a humanity…beating the drums and communicating over distance that there is a community gathering of interest.

The secret now days is to make those communication links as real and authentic as they were 50,000 years ago.

And that means one human on one end and another on the other end, communicating with interest.


Paul Kirwin

Paul Kirwin, Founder and CEO of Channel Signal