Success in the networked economy means being unique. Increasingly we get business because of the conjunction of two or more dissimilar capabilities – eg research ability, organic growing practice, social media fluency.
The question is how best to promote that uniqueness.
One way is to create and manage a stream of outbound information that can be picked up via Twitter or the destinations to which the feeds are routed. But it also means holding conversations with the inbound communications that the original broadcast evokes. I think that is what Thomas means be engagement and is largely what the Ecademy index is seeking to measure.
Another way to leverage this uniqueness a good idea is to run a group. This has been, I think, successfully demonstrated by the way the Brand Network has developed here on Ecademy.
The owner of such a group wants ultimately to build a community of fans and advocates who will offer and produce profit opportunities and income streams – or support for their cause.
Someone considering investing time in joining someone else’s group will ask two questions.
1) Is the content any good?
2) Is this person to be taken seriously?
Traditionally networked environments have looked at the degree of connectedness and surrogates for performance such as speed of response. This was borne out by one of our recent research projects.
However now we see more comprehensive measures of influence emerging – tools such as Klout, Peerindex, Empire Avenue and most recently the Ecademy index.
This means that it’s possible to identify who the players are in a particular industry and for the community leader to proactively engage with these individuals to establish the relationships necessary to build the business.
I am coming to the view that the effective use of screening for high profile individuals is a valuable addition to the marketing tool kit of people trying to build communities of influence.
I may well come up with some case studies of people who I think do this well
Be afraid – be very afraid