Do You Have Social Media Clout?

social media book reviewsWhen Content Science sends their quarterly e-newsletter to their mailing list, their email open rate is 50%.

“Well, of course,” I hear you saying. “Sending an e-newsletter to subscribers who have opted in would most certainly have a fairly high open rate.”

Exactly.

So why would you want to broadcast your online message to millions of people who couldn’t care less, and be happy with a 3% click-through rate? Why are you still marketing online the same way you marketed offline?

A 2010 article in Harvard Business Review states the case clearly. “To compete in this aggressively interactive environment, companies must shift their focus from driving transactions to maximizing customer lifetime value. That means making products and brands subservient to long-term customer relationships.”

So how do you create long-term customer relationships in an online world?

clout“The way to get results online is clout—influence or pull,” writes Colleen Jones in her book, Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content. “On the web, clout allows you to attract the right people and, at the right time, change what they think or do. Achieving clout demands new thinking and a new focus on web content.”

Because content is what people want. Content is what they spend much of their online time reading, listening to and viewing. Content is what they share with their social networks.

But you can’t just create any old content. You have to create influential content. Content that will grab people and make them change their behavior.

“Because people use the web now more than ever to make decisions, everyone from big brands to small businesses to individuals has the opportunity to influence those decisions,” writes Jones. “My goal is to help you make the most of that opportunity.”

According to Jones, if you can create online content that literally changes people’s behavior, you have achieved clout.

But Developing Clout Isn’t Easy

In fact, Jones calls this marketing technique “the hard road” to business success. “Even though the road to influential web content is hard, it’s the right road for lasting results.”

Because creating web content that influences people means using the principles of rhetoric and psychology to send the right message to the right people at the right time. If they get to know you, like you and trust you, they might just become your customer for life.

That’s what Jones means by “lasting results”—creating long-term customer relationships. Remember that it’s much easier and cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to attract a new customer.

But did I hear some of you groaning when I mentioned the words “rhetoric” and “psychology”? Not to worry. Jones summarizes these principles in just two chapters. In those two chapters, you’ll learn the art and science of persuasion.

If you need more information, she recommends many other sources throughout her book. And she has a recommended reading list at the end.

The rest of her book will show you how to:

  • Plan a content strategy
  • Handle roadblocks in your climb to clout
  • Evaluate your content strategy
  • Use quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods
  • Adjust your content strategy when necessary
  • Use clout responsibly and ethically

Her book is filled with lists and questions to guide you on this harder road to business success. And she includes success stories from many companies, universities and government agencies that have used the same principles to achieve clout.

Think of her book as your roadmap to successfully creating lifelong customer relationships by publishing influential content. You start by raising awareness of your business, becoming liked and trusted and inspiring and motivating changes in people’s behavior.

Always remember that people are more likely to buy from someone they know, like and trust. And they buy from people, not corporations.

Instead of blasting advertising messages at millions of people who don’t care, try attracting people who do care. Create content that they care about. Show them you’re trustworthy and you have a solution to their problem and then help them move toward that solution.

So save yourself the expense of getting a degree in psychology and pick up a copy of Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content by Colleen Jones.

Social Media Examiner gives this book 4 stars.

Have you used any of these strategies?  Have they worked? Leave your comments in the box below.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author, Ruth M. Shipley

Ruth M. Shipley is a freelance researcher and writer who loves to write a good story. Because that’s what most people love to read! See her Social Media Examiner page for more stories about social media books. Other posts by »




More Info
  • http://ideagirlmedia.com/ Keri at Idea Girl Media

    Ruth,

    Thank you for this article. So timely, I can think of several to pass it along to!

    For a time, I was spinning my wheels hanging out on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. My posts were more casual, and then escalated in sharing others’ valuable content.

    It was when I engaged with a combination of my own content as well as others that my socialmediasphere changed. For the better! Attracting valuable connections has become much easier…and fun!

    My evaluation methods are consistently changing, but as I listen and hone, improvements come.

    What do others have to say?

    Looking forward to the book,

    ~Keri

  • http://ideagirlmedia.com/ Keri at Idea Girl Media

    Ruth,

    Thank you for this article. So timely, I can think of several to pass it along to!

    For a time, I was spinning my wheels hanging out on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. My posts were more casual, and then escalated in sharing others’ valuable content.

    It was when I engaged with a combination of my own content as well as others that my socialmediasphere changed. For the better! Attracting valuable connections has become much easier…and fun!

    My evaluation methods are consistently changing, but as I listen and hone, improvements come.

    What do others have to say?

    Looking forward to the book,

    ~Keri

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com/ John Paul

    Great post.

    You have to find that fine line between sharing you and sharing others. There is nothing wrong with sharing you, the issue comes when you share ONLY you.

    Find that mix and then be available to engage those shares “yours or others” is the best way to build your Clout.

    Hard work and putting in the time help to :)

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com/ John Paul

    Great post.

    You have to find that fine line between sharing you and sharing others. There is nothing wrong with sharing you, the issue comes when you share ONLY you.

    Find that mix and then be available to engage those shares “yours or others” is the best way to build your Clout.

    Hard work and putting in the time help to :)

  • http://twitter.com/ed_han ed han

    Ruth, I’m still so shocked at the 50% open rate I can’t process the rest of the blog entry. I’ll be back later when I can!

  • http://twitter.com/ed_han ed han

    Ruth, I’m still so shocked at the 50% open rate I can’t process the rest of the blog entry. I’ll be back later when I can!

  • http://www.robertantwi.com/blog/about-robert-antwi/ Robert Antwi

    Im working on this Clout Ruth and info like this is great for me, I think due to SEO and Social Media being intertwined it has infused me to build my social media clout.

  • http://www.robertantwi.com/blog/about-robert-antwi/ Robert Antwi

    From what ive seen sharing content in social media circles alone brings people to you but that traffic dwindles after a day and your back to sharing content. The content that needs to be shared is something that will show what attributes you have in your professions that your wide market would love to know and feel honored to enjoy such content that it continuously gets shared and builds up your clout. I think putting something like that into rotation and then staying on top of your social media activities – is one of the most powerful ways to build your social media clout

  • http://www.robertantwi.com/blog/about-robert-antwi/ Robert Antwi

    From what ive seen sharing content in social media circles alone brings people to you but that traffic dwindles after a day and your back to sharing content. The content that needs to be shared is something that will show what attributes you have in your professions that your wide market would love to know and feel honored to enjoy such content that it continuously gets shared and builds up your clout. I think putting something like that into rotation and then staying on top of your social media activities – is one of the most powerful ways to build your social media clout

  • http://www.facebook.com/angela.hausman Angela Hausman

    Thanks for the review. I agree that the marketplace has changed and firms need to change to adapt to the new reality of marketing. Firms caught in the old advertising paradigm will be left behind as the market continues to shift toward more customer interaction.

    In addition to using psychology and rhetoric (which require a lot of knowledge about your target audience or they can backfire miserably), you need to remember the lessons from Emily Post — be nice, say thank you, complement people … That’s part of the new market reality. Consumers want to be recognized as real people at a deeper level than just using personalization. They want to be recognized as individuals, responded to, and encouraged to communicate with a firm with some personality, not some sterile organization.

    Content is still king — but it has to give your audience something they really want.

    Angela Hausman, PhD
    Associate Professor of Marketing, Howard University
    http://LetsBlogForMoney.org/

  • http://www.facebook.com/angela.hausman Angela Hausman

    Thanks for the review. I agree that the marketplace has changed and firms need to change to adapt to the new reality of marketing. Firms caught in the old advertising paradigm will be left behind as the market continues to shift toward more customer interaction.

    In addition to using psychology and rhetoric (which require a lot of knowledge about your target audience or they can backfire miserably), you need to remember the lessons from Emily Post — be nice, say thank you, complement people … That’s part of the new market reality. Consumers want to be recognized as real people at a deeper level than just using personalization. They want to be recognized as individuals, responded to, and encouraged to communicate with a firm with some personality, not some sterile organization.

    Content is still king — but it has to give your audience something they really want.

    Angela Hausman, PhD
    Associate Professor of Marketing, Howard University
    http://LetsBlogForMoney.org/

  • Martha

    Angela,

    I totally, 100% agree with you. I’m many generations older than you and it is so refreshing to hear you reference Emily Post!

    Consumers are real people, as well as a market segment or target market. Important to remember – thanks for the jolt of reality.

    Best,
    Martha

  • Martha

    Angela,

    I totally, 100% agree with you. I’m many generations older than you and it is so refreshing to hear you reference Emily Post!

    Consumers are real people, as well as a market segment or target market. Important to remember – thanks for the jolt of reality.

    Best,
    Martha

  • http://dinodogan.com/ Dino Dogan

    You’re spinning those wheels fast I tell ya :-) You’re everywhere :-)

  • M.

    I am so appreciative of this book recommendation! It’s exactly what I was looking for. I want to help businesses align their online clout with their offline clout and this sounds like the perfect book. I’m also looking forward to signing up to the Content Science newsletter (and upping the open rate to 51%!).

    Thanks,
    Monica

  • M.

    I am so appreciative of this book recommendation! It’s exactly what I was looking for. I want to help businesses align their online clout with their offline clout and this sounds like the perfect book. I’m also looking forward to signing up to the Content Science newsletter (and upping the open rate to 51%!).

    Thanks,
    Monica

  • http://ideagirlmedia.com/ Keri at Idea Girl Media

    Well, Dino, a girl can’t be just sitting around…. hahaha ;)

  • http://ideagirlmedia.com/ Keri at Idea Girl Media

    Well, Dino, a girl can’t be just sitting around…. hahaha ;)

  • Anand

    I totally agree with you. Customers are always apprehensive of new product or service, if they are hearing about it for the first time or from somebody they don’t know. It makes a hell lot of difference if they come to know about product or service from the person he/she knows or have interacted before.

    Anand
    http://bootstraptoday.com

  • Anand

    I totally agree with you. Customers are always apprehensive of new product or service, if they are hearing about it for the first time or from somebody they don’t know. It makes a hell lot of difference if they come to know about product or service from the person he/she knows or have interacted before.

    Anand
    http://bootstraptoday.com

  • Pingback: Social Media Alert – “Social Media” | SMLRT()

  • http://startupgrowthexpert.com/ Vinil Ramdev

    It’s not about just sharing any content. It’s about content that benefits your reader. If it is not going to benefit your reader, why would they read it? It’s important you keep that perceptive in mind when you plan your content strategy.

  • http://www.internetincomecode.com George Tee

    Hi ruth, great post. Having clout in a business enterprise makes it additional powerful, dominate the industry. As you said it really is the difficult road. It isn’t simple to do mainly because clients have various wants, it is best to send the correct message at your targeted market at the right moment.

  • Pingback: Social media update: 6/5/2011 | Me, My Career and I()

  • http://www.blog.bulkofficesupply.com/ Adam Ekerr

    I believe that learning and understanding face to face networking is a great way to be good at it online. You have to respect and provide value to your readers/customers and make them feel appreciated.

  • Pingback: Content Marketing Round-Up | Round Ups | ideaLaunch()

  • Pingback: New Book: Clout | Launch Watch()

  • Pratishthachhetri

    just to add to this highly informative piece;how to build a social media community and use it for customer service.

    http://creativaindia.co.in/blog/build-social-media-community/
    http://creativaindia.co.in/blog/social-media-customer-service/









Pinterest
Join our Social Media Marketing Networking Club
Get Your FREE Copy of the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report
Wondering how your peers are using social media? Get this free report (50 pages, 80+ charts) and never miss another great article from Social Media Examiner.
Check out the Social Media Marketing Podcast!