You can safely say that internet marketing in general is going through an important shift. The rules are being changed, the focus is changing. It seems as if finally marketeers start to understand that they are not just there to spit out messages to as many people as possible, hoping someone will pick it up. They are starting to realise they are working with humans. And Social Media and Search are playing a big role in this shift.
Of course the changes Google (and Bing as well) are currently making to how they work are playing a big role in the mindset of the users. Implementing the authorship markup and connecting social accounts to search results and personalising search as a whole are important elements that make marketers think more personal than they were used to in the past decade.
With this change it becomes more important to know who it actually is you are targeting. Which person is influential in a certain topic and even more important, who is connected to that person. Some online marketing tools act on that as well. Linkdex was the first to implement authorship in their tool. They gave you a nice overview of who writes about what topic, giving you an indication of where your targeting should go. But as Matt Roberts, the brains behind Linkdex, said in Iceland last week: that is just a list. We want to know a lot more. As Roberts puts it: we want to know who to take to lunch.
Why would you want to know who to take to lunch? Everybody will understand the concept of lunch. When I was starting out in online publishing Kara Swisher once gave me a great piece of advice: go have lunch. And not just have lunch, have lunch with the right people. Those that can make happen what you want to happen, those that have the right influence over the right people.
Having a list of influentials is one thing. It is very valuable, but it is just a start. The next question will quickly be: so now what? Who of the influentials should I approach? And why? What will they be able to do for me?
The ‘old’ marketer would have stopped thinking at the point where he got the list of infuentials and just started spamming them. From personal experience I can unfortunately say, that still happens a lot. My inbox is flooding these days with people ‘asking attention’ for their product, service or wanting to guest blog. They get it wrong. If you get it right you understand that if you want that influential to have the right effect, you first need to know who he or she actually influences, who is he or she connected to? And then you need to know how to get to the right influential: who influences them?
The next step in this is now being given by, again, Linkdex. The tool is now capable of analysing networks, looking at who is connected to who, how they are communicating, how important they are and who influences who. And they map it out for you. It will show you what role everyone plays within a network.
Knowing what role everyone has makes that you can find out who is important within the network and on top of that: how to reach them.
A funny thing happened at RIMC this past week. Matt Roberts in his presentation talked about this specific topic and set the stage by asking the question ‘who should I take out to lunch’. He used Linkdex to map out how people who were present at RIMC been talking to each other and based on that he came to the conclusion he should be having lunch with two people, one of them, Kevin Gibbons, he already knew, the other one, our very own Marcus Taylor, he did not yet know.
Matt showed this to make a point in his presentation knowing that both Kevin and Marcus were in the room. To his surprise at the speakers dinner table across from him the night after two people were seated: Kevin Gibbons and Marcus Taylor. It wasn’t exactly ‘lunch’, but dinner, but that didn’t matter. They hit it off and now Marcus is going to map out the music industry, in which he might very well turn out to be an influential.
It’s all about the network.
So. Who are you taking out to lunch?