Last fall, a young graduate of ISCOM in Paris asked me to help for writing her thesis on the phenomenon of influence in social media. Its theme immediately challenged me because it raises important new paradigms for professionals and companies. They must now develop their digital identity on social networks: “How do influencers manage to position themselves in social media to become a true trademark themselves? “
Personal Branding, a must for professionals on the Web
In the digital age, developing and having a strong and influential digital identity on social networks is essential and indispensable for all professionals working on the Web. It is essential for the self-employed and professionals in agencies, which offer professional services, and for SME owners and shopkeepers who sell products. Even the future employment candidate(s), which are now recruited by companies during college, should integrate the concept of digital identity in their training.
According to a recent study by Mondo: The Future of Digital Marketing, 80% of companies expect to increase their digital marketing budget over the next 18 months, mainly for hiring new skilled personnel in social media, including managing their activities on social networks (54%), content creation (44%), data analysis (33%) and mobile marketing (30%). And, over 70% of organizations are already recruiting new staff through their social media.
On the one hand, while diversifying professional skills in the workplace, economic uncertainty encourages the development of a range of specialized services and strong growth in self-employment jobs. On the other hand, there is also greater customization of the brand-customer relationship. Consumer confidence crumbles enterprises, and nearly 3 out of 4 consumers (70%) do not hesitate to drop a brand at the slightest dissatisfaction. In 2015, connected consumers (Generation C) now refuse any one-sided conversation and demand that their voices are heard and that we personally meet their expectations. Executives, business leaders, and organizations are starting to see a benefit to developing their own personal branding, like the self-employed and independent professionals.
The six keys of influence marketing in social media
For several years this has interested me and is the subject of my new book. Especially with the pyramid of social media influence, which suggest six levels of evolution (as Maslow’s pyramid), which correspond to the six pillars of influence and persuasion, as stated by Roberto Cialdini (Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion). Or, if you prefer to simplify, the six keys of influence in social media marketing:
1 – Context: This is the base of the pyramid, the initial phase where the user must first establish digital identity in social networks. This is the stage where he sets his digital DNA, reflected both by the footprints he leaves on each web presence, comments that exchanged, and content that is shared.
2 – Consistency: This is the second level, the pyramid influencers spread their presence across social networks, ensuring a certain consistency in their message, and in their promotional activities.
3 – Content: This is what really allows influencers to stand out. It’s at this stage they will launch a personal blog and will begin to publish rich content to assert their authority and leadership in their sector.
4 – Community: This is the scope and amplification of trade and commitments raised through their communities of interest. It really is at this level of the pyramid begins to solidly manifest influence.
5 – Credibility: At this stage of the pyramid, influencers have already acquired a certain consensus in the community. The originality and uniqueness of their actions have earned them a platform, and they are regularly in demand. Resonance and the influence of their message will result in public benefits that overflow their own network.
6 – Confidence: It’s finally here that a level of trust and reciprocity with influencers develops. This often leads to collaborations and co-creation of content. In Maslow’s pyramid, it corresponds to the ultimate level of realization of self.
In the adoption curve of social media, as I also explained in my book, the achievement of each level of the pyramid of influence will depend on the result obtained in the previous level. It is the first two levels that build the digital identity and develops personal branding influencers. They must be relevant, interesting and consistent through the content they broadcast on the Web and social media, before acquiring the credibility enabling them to establish their authority in their niches. And, it is not until the end of the third and fourth levels that their influence will really begin to manifest.
Most however, never exceed the third or fourth level of the pyramid, and their impact will be restricted to their community. Those who reach the last two levels (only 10%) will have developed a superior professional credibility, and they deserve the trust of users and other influencers. It is at this point, the last two levels of the pyramid of influence that their digital identity becomes their trademark, and they will prove indispensable in their industry.
Personally, I believe that those who manage to stand out at this level, will prove the real influencers of social media; those whose voices will definitely be heard and respected, both by organizations and companies from other professionals and influencers.
What are your thoughts? Do you believe that digital identity is the basis of influence of marketing in social media, and personal branding remains the main lever for success? Comment on this article and tell us about your own experience of personal branding as a professional.