The most exciting new area (to me) of social media marketing, or as @ShivSingh, my latest guest on DishyMix from Razorfish likes to call it, “Social Influence Marketing,” is mining the clusters of connections to identify new prospects for products and services.
Similar to the concept of behavioral targeting, marketers and researchers believe that if they target the friends of an existing customer, they will find “birds of a feather” prospects for their goods.
There are a number of companies using social graph data including Lookery (my interview with Scott Rafer, CEO), Media6Degrees and UNBOUND Technologies . These data mining and ad targeting companies are leveraging your data: the things you “fan” on Facebook, your personal profile information, your network of connected friends (and god knows what else!) to find new prospective consumers connected socially to you so they can market products to your friends if you are a customer.
UNBOUND Technolgies can take a marketer’s existing customer list, compare it to their database of all known LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter users and come up with a rank order list of who, among their existing customers, are the most influential. If a brand has a Facebook “Page” (Fan Page), they can map the most to least influential fans, based on number of social connections.
Here’s an article from Business Week that gives you some idea of how important this data mining of social graphs is to the social net companies and marketers.
These next two images are very telling. These are my Affiinty Map and my Influencer List from UNBOUND Technologies.
First you can see, of my 3,200 Facebook friends, what the top Celebrities/Public Figures, Brands, Bands, Services et cetera are of the people to whom I’m most connected.
If I were a brand (I’m certainly trying to be!) doing co-marketing promotions, it would be brilliant to partner with Guy or Seth or Arianna or the IAB or 212 in NY. My friends and friendsters (virtual friends) would be more likely to pay attention to my messaging if I were to co-create something with other public figures, associations or brands about which they care most.
In this list from UNBOUND Technologies, you can see who in my network are the most influential. If Joe Jaffe, Charlene Li or Mike Webb were to promote DishyMix, for example, their followers would be most likely to be interested in my work and they have the biggest reach.
If I give Unbound Technologies my professional contact database, they can also match it up with the premier social networks to give me an even better rank order of those people I know who are most connected in the social sphere. Even if I’m not directly connected to them now, I’d know who I should approach to friend to continue to widen my network more proactively.
Just replace Susan Bratton with your brand and think of the efficiencies and implications. What comes to your mind?
And here is this week’s DishyMix. Perfectly timed to talk about Social Influence Marketing with Shiv Singh of Razorfish who has been thinking about social network theory since grad school at the London School of Economics & Political Science.
Shiv Singh, Razorfish on the Social Influence Marketing, the Portable Social Graph and Friendsters