Engagement is the First Step…Influence is More than Numbers


Brands have created exciting and immersive forms of engagement that have really captured the interest of people and compelled them to talk about it! Enter the Influencer.  Influencers have been defined and positioned as the “ideal” source for motivating brand messages.  But, are we looking at influence and engagement as the be-all and end-all of social media?

Influencers cannot be selected by numbers. They have to be selected via contextual insight and nurtured into lasting diplomats.

Engagement is the first step. The opportunity to create interest and to build on that initial hello occurs within every interaction.  Influence is an action that derives from an emotional excitement, an attachment to the brand, its services or resources.    So, How Do You Make it Last? To define sustainability; you must build true loyalty, stronger influence and possibly co-create engagement through original content.

The diplomatic approach…

Lasting connections begin with that first engagement, but it certainly does not end there.  Understanding what captured attention, and what delighted people enough to say hello again is important.  This is the process of discovery and for brands, a journey that should have no end.

The Ultimate Influencer is engaged…

Let’s have a look at an influencer, one that would most likely be under the radar.  Just as other Moms, Tiffany has looked forward to her family’s Disney World vacation for a very long-time.   Even planning a Disney vacation is an exciting part of the magic.  The planning and reservation encounters can set the tone for the entire Disney occasion!Tiffany started the process asking family and friends. Everyone was excited to share their best kept secrets and ideas.   What was the beginning of the process for Tiffany, was at the same time, another step in the process for those sharing their emotional points of view.   So, armed with a few adventures in hand, Facebook was the next step.  Disney does a great job creating content for Facebook. They have over 7 million fans filling the page with heart-felt comments and photos every single day.  The Disney World Facebook page is a starting point, a place to ask questions, gaining inspiration via photos and memory sharing.  Disney has also created engaging fun within specific attractions that help you prepare for, and share, your upcoming vacation.

Social environments have to allow a very natural expression of the user and the process of sharing…

Nurturing the process…

Tiffany monitored the Disney Parks Blog, and consulted briefly with the Disney Mom’s Panel for advice.

Flights and Rooms booked…now for dining reservations!” 

Tiffany called for help with the character reservations, loved their eagerness to help, but ultimately figured out how best to make reservations online.This may sound typical, and in fact it is very typical…but what Disney does not know may hurt them.

The person planning this vacation is the ultimate influencer.   Not that she has thousands of followers or blogs about family life.  This ultimate influencer has been nurturing the most loyal and trusted following imaginable.  Start with just family and friends.  Family and friends that eagerly await her perception of everything from cameras to onesies purchased via Disney Store online, and her account of how a problem was solved perfectly by Disney Store via Facebook!

Throughout every step, Tiffany continues to update everyone on Facebook…

The process was not facilitated by any branded dialogue or platform.  The ultimate influencer grew through every emotional post, every true experience. Shared via misspelled words and quick mobile images, this “original” content has become the most powerful substance in the role of social media.  Brands will rarely notice, respond or even act on what this influencer posts.  A brand would never know that they should pay attention to her.  Are brands ready to create a seamless view of this person across all platforms?  They certainly should be!

Nurture dialogues via social media. Enable people to have fun with the brand via SM, even make the brand their own.  Consider micro-deals.  Perhaps allow them to discover, be the hero and share unique offerings designed just for them and their followers.   Online and mobile must offer service that is effortless and create resources that people love and will want to share.

The celebration begins…establishing lasting connections

At this point the vacation is still a week away.  Consider enabling family and friends to send encouraging notes or easily have a surprise gift waiting for the family when they arrive.

The journey continues, as does Disney’s opportunity to observe, learn, respond and adapt.  Chances are, traditional measures would never identify “Tiffany” as an ultimate influencer.  But, the contextual information that she has created during her Disney journey is overwhelming.   The demos – She is a wonderful Mom; she has two little girls and a baby boy.  Tiffany has hundreds of family and friends at the same life stage, and with the same aspirations. They trust her to be “try-outer” of the group.  She loves her mobile and her tablet. She won’t take a survey, but she uses Facebook, almost exclusively, to communicate.  She is also a pediatrician at a well known children’s hospital.

Enable the passion and excitement of the moment…

Disney mobile apps and location-aware solutions are a great resource for families during their celebration.  They offer Disney an opportunity to create brand experiences that are tailored to what Disney may already know about Tiffany.   With mPayments, mobile will become even more intuitive. Privacy is an investment (“Privestment”) that will be worth it to Tiffany, when Disney offers “just-for-me” surprises and specials.  You can be assured mobile devices will be used as a life-tool and to share in real-time.

Enable effortlessness…

The little moments filled with “original” content designed to be shared!

Disney Hotels and Disney World could create “Disney Life-Cast”, social spaces for families.  A place to check-in, say hello via video and effortlessly share their real-time excitement and enthusiasm with friends and family. This is an excellent example of how brands can co-create and nurture “original” content. The emotional value captured in these short video messages is priceless.  Certainly families can go back to their hotel room and Skype family or even upload their own messages. But why not enable effortlessness.  Allow them to connect with everyone and still have time for one more ride on the tea-cups!

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