Consultant discusses role of social media leaders, related issues
Posted by Elena del Valle on August 7, 2009
Photos: Quill Driver Books
Paul Gillin makes his living advising marketing consultants and senior executives on social media. He believes one of the most remarkable aspects of the new media landscape is the emergence of people and media that influence others within “communities that have no rules, no governing structures, no standards and no hierarchy.” Toward that goal he wrote The New Influencers A Marketer’s Guide to the New Social Media (Quill Driver Books, $16.95).
Out of what should be chaos, he says, an informal structure is developing. Often those who command attention and lead the way online are individuals of authority in their own fields offline. He discusses Enthusiasts, a group of people who blog to express their opinions and share information. Although their motivations are difficult to pinpoint he believes they can be valuable to businesses and organizations as a sort of “global online focus group that works for free.”
He also refers to Influentials (from The Influentials, a book by Ed Keller and Jon Berry) who some believe play a major role in the decision making of the general market. According to the book authors, 10 percent of Americans influence the purchasing decisions of the remaining 90 percent of Americans. Gillin goes on to argue that many enthusiast bloggers see their role as one of commentary rather than original reporting. His advice: Businesses, such as Wal-Mart, which he refers to in an example, would be better served by addressing mainstream media for large focus issues and bloggers for personal issues.
The 236-page paperback book, published earlier this year, is divided into 11 chapters: The Origins of Social Media; From Chaos, Structure; Enthusiasts; Measures of Influence; Corporate Conversations; Small Is Beautiful; Putting “Public” Back Into Public Relations; The Talkers; Tools of the Trade; Going Viral; and Next Steps. He closes with two appendices: The Numbers and Leveraging Technology.
Prior to writing the book and offering his services as a social media consultant Gillin covered computer industry issues as a journalist for fifteen years. He was editor-in-chief of TechTarget and held the same title at Computerworld.
Click here to buy The New Influencers