In social networks there are three types of people who bring about social connections.
Connectors: are people who links us up with the word,people with a special gift for bringing the world together. They are “a handful” of people with an extraordinary knack for making friends and acquaintances. These individuals typically have social networks of over one hundred people. Connectors gain success in their ability to span many different worlds as a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy.
Mavens:are information specialists or people we rely upon to connect us with new information. They accumulate knowledge, especially about the marketplace, and know how to share it with others. A Maven is someone who wants to solve other people’s problems, generally by solving his own. Mavens start “word-of-mouth epidemics” due to their knowledge, social skills, and ability to communicate, they are information brokers, sharing and trading what they know.
Salesmen: are persuaders, charismatic people with powerful negotiation skills. They tend to have an indefinable trait that goes beyond what they say, which makes others want to agree with them.
Each of these categories of people can potentially become your ‘first tier’ influencers. These are the people that are directly connected to you in some way. They follow news about your brand. They discuss your brand with their
connections. They want to have a closer dialogue with you. They are all influencers in their own right and, with their own specific skills, can reach out beyond your immediate network to influence others. Your tier 1 influencers can connect to your tier 2 influencers, who can also help to spread the word about your brand.
If you can find people in your immediate network who have these qualities you can start to engage in dialogue with them, cultivate them and give them information.
If you can find some information that is not generally available externally it will be very well received. Mavens will relish these bits of ‘special’ information – they will broker the information to the connectors and salesmen in their networks, and the message gets out. Each type of information gatherer will connect in some way to the next tier of influencers which may be further away from you in social distance, but closer to others in their own networks.
TIER 1 INFLUENCERS:
-Tier 1 influencers typically hang out on user forums, they help out in community sites and they often have the answers the community needs. -They respond to questions posed on the forum, or, if they are connector types, they will know someone in their network who does have the answer if they don’t actually know it themselves. -They may run user groups or attend them. -They are forum moderators. -They run user Q&A portals and participate in chat rooms.
-They are often quick to respond to a question posted on Twitter or Facebook.
-They are significant in your ‘fan-out’ evangelism efforts.
Fan-out messaging works like this. I tell two people, who each tell two people, who each tell two people, who each tell two people. My original message has fanned out and has reached 30 new potential customers – or, more importantly, potential influencers for my brand. These influencers and their connections are vital in getting your message out on your behalf. They retweet your interesting news on Twitter, they link to your blog from their own blog and they share useful links on Facebook. This network rebroadcasts and amplifies your message for you.
Tier 1 influencers are often early adopters. They buy the latest gadget, phone and eBook reader. They beta-test new releases of software and often have the latest and greatest laptop. They demonstrate their new hardware to anyone who will watch. They download the latest Twitter client and tweet endlessly about it. They broadcast this to their friends
through blogs, Facebook and Twitter. These influencers created a buzz about the device which ensured that a huge amount of people got to hear about it through the reports in the newswires.
Large companies have structured rewards and incentives programmes for influencers who are not usually motivated by financial incentives, but who thrive on knowledge gathering, community and recognition.
If you get your key influencers right then your tier 1 and your tier 2 influencers will do the job of getting your message out for you.
If you maintain a close relationship with your tier 1 influencers they will reward you by broadcasting your message for you. Airlines get loyalty from their travellers with Air Miles programmes and frequent flyer clubs, and supermarkets
offer incentives through their loyalty and rewards cards.
If you invest time in maintaining the relationship with your tier 1 influencers, you will find you have a great circle of loyal advocates to spread the word about your brand. These influencers will greatly increase the amount of coverage when
they talk about your product or gizmo, so it’s worthwhile talking about it. If you don’t think you have the time to invest in talking about your product across your channels, then spending 30 minutes a day promoting your message can still be of
benefit if it is done outside your immediate circle of connections.