Measuring the value of social media
I’ve often wondered how people were able to get followers behind their ideas online. As a member of Facebook, I’m equally amazed at the sheer number of friends some people have. As an unofficial rule, I’ve always like to keep my number below 200 if possible, whereas some people online have almost 1,000 friends. How can any of us really know 1,000 people? The answer is that we can’t really know 1,000 people, but we can be associated with that many and more. This association means we have the ability to influence those people, and to some degree the people they know, should they choose to share our ideas with their friends.
The power of these indirect relationships is at the core of The Influence Project, a new experiment being conducted by Fast Company to find out who is the most influential person online. The premise is simple: the more a person’s unique link is clicked, the higher they go in the ranking of the site. Contestants are displayed in a gigantic photo gallery wall, the size of the photo dictated by that contestants influence. The competition runs until August 15th, after which the winner, or most influential person, will be announced in the next issue of fast company. You can check out my personalized link here.
Though this could be dismissed as a simple popularity contest, what the project uncovers is which people are being looked to as the providers of solid and reliable information. With this fun experiment, Fast Company can uncover which people social media marketing can reach in order for ideas to spread most effectively. For small businesses and grassroots efforts, information like this could be incredibly powerful. One of the most important things in creating buzz for products and ideas are people who are going to be evangelists for them. This uncovers who our evangelists are, based on quantifiable data.
What’s important to note is that so far the list is not inundated with celebrities. These are everyday citizens, who happen to hold a lot of sway in their social circles. It’s also a sign of the power of social media in marketing and advertising that doesn’t seem to be going away. More and more, companies and campaigns rely on social media as much as traditional advertising to get the job done. You can visit the influence project, sign up and start measuring how influential you are today.