Is Generation C the Key to Understanding Social Media Influence?

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At the beginning of the year, a journalist from the French magazine Marketing contacted me to offer me an interview on the topic of social media influence, starting by asking me what I thought of measuring tools such as Klout, Kred and PeerIndex. I simply replied that marketing influence in social media is a new science much more complex than the algorithms of these tools, and that I could not limit myself to this topic. That led me to revisit some of my posts published earlier to finally make a synthesis, which pretty much sums up my views on the issue.

The social capital is only the visible part of influence in social media

The social capital of an individual determined by various analytical tools and measurement of influence is only the visible part of its influence in social media. Marketing influence in social media is a new much larger science, which is just beginning to emerge.

This is a new field of knowledge and skills, which develops fast, and exceeds our learning patterns. This is a brand new ecosystem which is not only limited to the analysis and measurement of social capital (social scoring), but rather involves a new relational approach between businesses and connected consumers of the Generation C (from baby-boomers to the new Generation Z).

Over the next few years, the economic power of these ¨prosumers¨ will continue to boost social media and marketing influence which will integrate more and more into business strategies. With the arrival of new generations, workplaces will gradually adapt to social media, and training is a ¨must¨ as companies will rely more on their resources.  (Read also: And If The Social Media Trends Continues … 2014 – The day after!)

There is no miracle recipe

But for businesses and professionals, there is no ideal strategic postures or best practices for marketing influence in social media. Each new strategic plan must be developed according to the specific objectives of a campaign. And, as each campaign is unique, it directs the strategy and choice of tools.

Analytical tools and algorithms for measuring influence, as Klout and Kred, have improved greatly over the years. Applications today can effectively measure the activity in the major social networks, and get a score based on user response. For some campaigns, focus more on impact mass influencers that emerge from these lists can be quite relevant. However, for more targeted campaigns, these tools are insufficient.

Several other tools to measure influence in social media can be combined (as Empire Avenue, Social Bro or Twtrland). It always depends on the context of the campaign. The right combination of these tools, depending on the objectives of your campaign, you will identify the main influencers in your network, or targeted communities. However, to flush the ambassadors of the lot, you will need to use other tools for measuring influence, focusing on more contextual analysis algorithms, as Traackr, which further highlights the relevance of context and content. (Read also: Social Media Influence: For the Prosumer, Context Will Always be the Queen!)

Know your goals and select the right type of influencers

As I described in a previous column, initially, it is essential to first determine what type of influencer can best meet the objectives of a social media influence marketing campaign.

Influencers can be grouped into two main categories:

  • Macro- influencers: including celebrities and stars (that stand in the lists of Klout and Kred), but also thought leaders, specialists and trendsetters, who enjoy large audiences.
  • Micro- influencers: which includes networkers, broadcasters and social butterflies, which emerge and exert power to influence in respectable communities.

Among those micro- influencers we found ambassadors; These spontaneous influencers will prove to be the best advocates of a brand or organization. They can also be grouped into two main categories:

  • Employees and employees: They are located within companies and organizations, and are too often untapped
  • Customers and users: These are connected consumers of the Generation C, those who can exercise at any time, the real power to influence the brands and companies

(Read also: How To Recognize Ambassadors in Social Media)

The influence of social media is built on relationships

In a brilliant case study, which describes the results of a campaign he supported for Amachi organization, Mark Schaefer clearly shows how the influence of the media depends first and foremost on the quality of relationships we managed to establish.

Today, the connected consumers benefit from the power that brings new technologies to carry an undeniable influence on brands and organizations. They are now demanding to be heard at any time, and we meet their every expectation. Through social media, they have become ¨prosumers¨ who wish to get involved in each step of the process. They exert their influence to get the greatest satisfaction, and finally reveal the true social media influencers, forcing brands and companies to adapt. Cases of users and consumers who have folded major brands, following complaints on social networks, multiply, and reveal a true obsession for many businesses.

Over the next few years, if they want to bridge the gap continues to widen between them and the consumers, businesses and marketers should stop relying solely on social score of individuals to determine the value of their influence in social media. And instead learn to understand what motivates the Generation C, to develop personal relationships based on mutual trust based on the values ​​of the community and the relevance of the shared content. Because, they’re probably holding the key to influence in social media. (Read also: The 5 C’s that Rules the Social Media Influencers (or Ambassadors)).

What do you think? How do you measure influence in social media? What tools do you use? Share your comments and tips with our readers.

Raymond Morin
Raymond Morin contributes a monthly column on Social Media Influence. Raymond is a francophone author and speaker who has 20 years experience acting as a senior strategic consultant and coach for organizations, SMBs and independent professionals. Author of the books «Culture Web à la portée des PME» (2001) and «Comment entreprendre le virage 2.0» (2010), he has also contributed to several magazines and bloggers platforms over the years. His upcoming new book in French, entitled «Generation C et l’influence des consommateurs branchés», is prefaced by Neal Schaffer, and will be also published in English and Spanish during the next year. +Raymond Morin
Raymond Morin


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  1. says

    Really great piece Raymond!

    It’s something we at PeerIndex have been thinking hard about for a while now. Influence measured as a single score is limited in what it can do for a brand trying to light the social fire under their campaigns.

    One of the ways we’ve been identifying micro-influencers is with the concept of community-influence scores. This adds context to what is meant by ‘influence’. We often find that the people with a high influence score in a topic or group or community of followers compared to their overall influence score are valuable and approachable potential advocates.

    But you are right that using influence scores alone cannot bridge the gap between brands and consumers – for that they need to become more integratedly social themselves. Studying influence alongside content and in context can help them to do that.

    Generation C will feel no need to switch between social and ‘real’ life. Brands need to become the same.

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