Influence is the new online currency

Rarely do I have a conversation these days that doesn't end up on the subject of the increasing relevance of social media and how we...

Rarely do I have a conversation these days that doesn't end up on the subject of the increasing relevance of social media and how we as public relations practitioners need to accurately measure the effectiveness of what we do online for our clients.

It is also an all-too-common experience when an executive is irate about a blog posting in which the blogger has been raving about a competitor's product; and the executive wants to know why we can’t secure the same type of glowing online endorsement. The irony is that for all the so-called authenticity that supposedly defines the social media world, it is not uncommon to find that bloggers are a member of a competitor's marketing staff, cleverly designing blogs to appear as an independent influencer voice in the blogosphere, or that an executive’s response to such a posting is far greater than the importance of the blog.

Added to this is the challenge that while social media has taken on an increasingly high visibility role, the ability to identify and measure the importance of blogs is undeveloped and many of the methodologies used to rank and rate blogs don’t address the most critical question. With online communications, influence is the new currency – and the real question is how influential is a blog relative to other blogs within a particular category (technology, small business, eco/green, mommy blogs), and what are the criteria that are most meaningful in defining that. Necessity is the mother of invention and we have set out to develop a way to accurately measure blog influence, but more about this later this week.

-Susan Butenhoff, CEO/president Access Communications

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