ImageThe Oxford English Dictionary defines a crescendo as “a musical direction indicating that the tone is to be gradually increased in force or loudness.”  This is exactly what is happening with influence as behaviors and interrelationships continue to evolve in the still new world of social media. In analyzing data from a recent research project with the Society of New Communications Research; our team defined what we call “the social media crescendo effect.”

Our analysis didn’t just jump out of the data; it came from over two years with each team member blogging regularly at least once a month. We combined this experience with the latest data set from the New Symbiosis of Professional Networks research survey to come to one of many conclusions the crescendo effect perhaps being the most important.  

The crescendo effect is simply how many Tweets, Facebook, LinkedIn mentions and other digital means of notification a blog may get. This is paramount because the new flow of influence, (which has metamorphosed into a new form of advertising and word of mouth marketing,) acts like a crescendo through the ecosystem of whoever liked your blog enough to recognize it. Make sense? It is not the number of views that the blog gets but the ecosystem of the viewers, how they collaborate and how the influence flows from it.

When we first started blogging we envisioned our success would be the number of blog views and how many comments we received. Two years later after building our influence and gaining readership, we are experiencing a new form of collaboration in the crescendo effect. Last year our team created more than sixty blogs that generated around 100,000 readers, few commented, but many shared with their ecosystem through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Some Key Findings:

  • The Amazons of influence are now Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Just like magazines social media communities are all about content aggregation.
  • Collaboration is less about exchange but more about endorsement.
  • Information doesn’t have to be exchanged to be an endorsement, just viewed.
  • Endorsement is the interaction that flows into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Yelp and TripAdvisor for example.
  • In professional social media networks people trust the information enough now that it is accelerating business decision making.

Actionable Information

For years I have watched analysts and journalists, academics, and luminaries tell us what is happening and most of it is all rear view mirror analysis. Where they nearly always fall short is helping us to create actionable information that enables us to gain competitive advantage, insight, or sustainable profitable growth in the case of corporations.

What the crescendo effect means to companies, organizations and governments is that they need to:

1.     Know who their influencers are.

2.     What their ecosystem of influence is.

3.     Where that influence flows.

4.     Understand the dynamics of their influence outside of the social media world.

5.     Know when that influence wanes.

6.     Engage and create sustainable relationships with influencers that enhance your position and brand.

7.     Do not create episodic and adversarial relationships.

8.     Be extremely careful on who you promote as an influencer.

9.     Find out who are the influencers and thought leaders inside your organization.

10.  Leverage the organization’s influencers and expand their ecosystem of influence.

Net/Net

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to read more books, this month I picked up The Man Who Sold America, HBR press by Cruikshank and Schultz. This is a great book about Albert Lasker, an original Mad Man it would seem, who began the modern advertizing industry. Mr. Lasker was responsible for the creation of many brands, including Kotex, Palmolive, Sunkist, SunMaid, Lucky Strike, etc, etc. The beginning of this book starts out with, “we live in a world of mass persuasion,” our mass persuasion now comes in the form of social media.

Social media has created a new platform for interrelationships as the evolution of social media behavior continues to evolve with a new form of collaboration for the masses. Gary Hamel aptly said, “influence is like water it flows everywhere.” Until next time I wish you great selling and marketing in the millennium.