Jessica Miller-Merrell | , , , , , , , ,| By
Influencers of Facebook and Other Social Networks
In a world where social data dictates the direction of the Internet, it is not an exaggeration to say that the new determining factor is all about who you know. This socially-driven future is already beginning at Facebook and Google, and other social networks, where countless hours are devoted to exposing what and what influences you most and who those influencers are.
Why is social data so valuable? Simply put, the more Google and Facebook know about who influences you, the more they can use that understanding to tailor their approach. Although Facebook has always been a personalized experience, it will soon be making more and more sophisticated suggestions: who to be friends with, what products to buy, which movies to watch, even which doctors to see. All these recommendations will come from what Facebook has learned about you and your friends, particularly the tastemakers among them – the people your online circle whose opinions matter the most to you. Tastemakers are trendsetters, those people in the know whose actions and ideas draw followers. In a few years’ time, a handful of your friends will have a bigger influence on your spending behavior than all the advertising you come into contact with. These people will become the new advertising.
Facebook Tastemaker Timeline Basics
After Facebook figures out who your greatest influencers are in various categories, attracting the attention of these tastemakers will become the newest marketing objective. People who are known to be influential in their respective social circles will begin to get tons of Facebook messages and emails asking them to mention companies or products. Ultimately, it boils down to a simple concept: marketing to a larger number of unknown people who are tastemakers in their group of friends will be more valuable than marketing to a small number of famous people.
Therefore, for any businessperson looking to grow a business on Facebook, the vital question is this – how do we influence the influencers? The answer may be simpler than you imagine.Think back to high school – for a regular guy who wanted to get the attention of the popular group, it was important to become popular as well. In the same way, to achieve fame on Facebook, you will need to become a tastemaker yourself. The best part? It’s entirely possible to do this using your business page on Facebook when you apply a few simple rules.
- Rule #1: Be genuine. As anyone who tried to imitate their way into popularity in high school knows, insincerity is always easy to spot. To become a tastemaker, you need to show sincerity and passion. The best way to do that is to talk about a topic that is truly important to you, and that you are excited to engage with others about.
- Rule #2: Make the right friends. The next step is to build an initial base of fans. An easy way to get started is to suggest your page to the friends you already have. The most valuable friends will be those who have a lot of friends themselves – the tastemakers of your group.
- Rule #3: Project an image. As more new people come to your page, take advantage of Facebook’s timeline feature to control first impressions of your page. The generously large cover image heading the page is the perfect place to showcase photos and graphics that reflect the spirit of your business. And while Facebook replaced the landing tab feature, you can still drive traffic to custom tabs via Facebook ads, and from outside Facebook on your website, blog, and other social profiles. It’s your page, so make sure it projects the image you want!
- Rule #4: Leverage social capital. Once you have a base of fans and a well-defined image, you’ve reached the point that you can reasonably offer more popular people – many of whom have about the same number of friends as you have fans – a status update exchange. Launch a message-writing campaign using Facebook and e-mail in which you offer to mention other tastemakers on your page if they will mention you on theirs. A message writing campaign can be a lot of work, but it’s the barrier that keeps out almost everyone else. If you can stick with it for a few months, you are likely to be the rare person who gains a large , active following.
- Rule #5: Don’t overcommercialize. While this is a business page, keep in mind that many people are more likely to agree to a status update exchange if your page is noncommercial. Therefore, it is best to build a fan base around something genuine before commercializing to avoid turning potential fans off.
- Rule #6: Be entertaining.The most popular kid doesn’t just know all the latest news – he or she also has something funny, original or interesting to say. Beyond just being a gossip feed, Facebook is also a daily digital newspaper with an incredible number of readers who tune into their news feeds daily. No matter your profession, if you create a daily entertaining status update that relates to your industry that’s good enough, people will begin looking forward to it, commenting, sharing and liking it abundantly each day. The bonus is that Facebook takes note of pages with high-engagement status updates and rewards them with top placement on people’s News Feeds (much like your reputation for being the life of the party earning you an invite to a party at the head cheerleader’s house). The end result — not only will your fun updates get a lot of attention, but so will your promotional updates. A few of the most popular kinds of status updates include news story commentaries, the day’s best video, popular wisdom, and easy open questions which invite lots of answers.
- Rule #7: Play it cool. You’re slowly but surely becoming more popular, so don’t run the risk of overexposure. It can be tempting to post constantly, but you don’t want to post so often that people hide your updates on their feeds – twice a day is the most recommended. Also, keep in mind that while you want to engage your fans on a personal level, you also want to maintain your company’s professionalism.
Evan Bailyn is an internet entrepreneur, bestselling author, child advocate, and business owner of First Page Sage. He is primarily known as a search engine optimization expert, having used his ability to rank at the top of Google to build and sell five businesses, including one of the largest children’s websites online. His first book, Outsmarting Google, debuted to rave reviews in mid-2011. Its sequel, Outsmarting Social Media, comes out in early 2012.