Digital Influence in the Network Economy

November 16, 2009Sparxoo

By David Capece, Managing Partner

Yesterday, I presented “Digital Influence in the Network Economy” at the PodCampAz Conference.  The high level principle is that in a network economy, value flows from connectivity. Value is created and shared by all members of a network and economies of scale stem from the size of the network (see outtakes from our podcasting interview).  While transactional exchanges of goods and currency have traditionally been the primary economy, the network economy is emerging in which reputation and relationships matter more.  In the new world, digital influence is vital (see our reports on social cause influence and news & politics influence).

To illustrate this point, we discussed the relative influence of Google and Microsoft.  When asked who wields more influence, the vast majority sided with Google.  It’s interesting to note that Microsoft has a higher valuation, more cash, more revenue, and more profit.  All of these measurements would signal Microsoft as the leader under old economy rules.  However, Google wins in total user relationships and advocacy, which are increasingly important measures of influence.  We also discussed Arianna Huffington, Perez Hilton, Twitter, CNN iReport, Peta, and Kiva.  Briefly, the key considerations for establishing and building digital influence are as follows:

1) Define the brand you are building.  Once you start aggressively building a brand, it becomes difficult to change the brand as you risk losing links and any initial momentum in building fans (see developing your online reputation).

2) Lead with purpose. In a world of overcapacity, don’t be average. Stand for something you are passionate about, and make it outstanding (see What do Glenn Beck and American Idol have in common).

3) Build a valuable network. Network value is a function of the number of connections, influence of connections, and depth of relationships (see Top 5 Networking Tips).

4) Advance the conversation. Listen to the existing conversation, share expert advice, tell stories, create an experience through visual cues, reference influencers and celebrities, and build on ideas from the community (see How Charity Newcomers are Revolutionizing the Non-Profit Sector).

5) Mobilize the community. There’s enough ideas out there. We want action. Get involved and get others involved. Make it fulfilling (see Crowdsourcing and Community Involvement in Social Cause).

6) Be transparent. Know who you are and manage one persona across platforms (use a consistent voice). Be human … it’s ok if you have flaws (note JetBlue’s Customer Bill of Rights and the transparency trend).

7) Measure success. Use a combination of reach (Twitter followers, Facebook fans, blog traffic), word of mouth (using net promoter score), and sphere of influence (creators, innovators, and celebrities with audiences matter the most). With metrics in hand, you can refine your approach (see How to Measure Success).

Thanks to the team at PodCampAZ for organizing a great conference in which we learned the latest tips, met digital trendsetters, and further immersed ourselves in a community of passionate leaders.  Can’t wait to see everyone in 2010.

Image by ivan petrov from Stock.Xchng