Monday 01 September 2014

Mapping Analysis of Social Media Week London #smwldn

This post was originally published on Jonny Bentwood’s blog Technobabble.

Social media week in London provided an excellent opportunity to analyze influence. Too often when there is a breaking story, I wish I could have turned back the clocks by a few days to see how the story originated and spread while focussing on who the key people were in the conversation and what they did to help propagate it.

This blog post will illustrate several key concepts that are unique to TweetLevel and Edelman.

  1. Conversation map analysis shouldn’t be conducted post event but through real time metrics allowing you to understand what time of engagement behaviour an influential person has. After all what’s the point of a static map when conversations aren’t the end result but a flow of information over time.
  2. The key players in a conversation are not just the most popular but those who start the ideas, spread and curate them. We call these people the new influentials.
  3. Timing is critical. This isn’t just about what time of the day they tweet, but when they take part in the conversation. For example many of the idea starters initiated the dialogue a few weeks before #smldn even started. As a marketer if I could know who these people were in advance, then it would have been the perfect opportunity to engage with them.
Dynamic Conversation Map

What we can learn from this..

  • Idea starters engage early in the conversation (often weeks before the event)
  • A good three weeks prior to the event starting the people who would eventually be the thought leaders in social media week has initiated the conversations around the topics they were going to be pushing. Not surprisingly they were doing their own marketing.
  • From an objective point of view, they hadn’t managed to engage a large number of other people into this dialogue as they were instead waiting until the event started.
  • As a marketer I would if I was aiming to influence people, I would look to see who is engaging early and seek to interact then – if we wait till later then the conversation is too saturated to be heard.
Time Jump Conversation Map

The following slide show takes you from 29 Jan where just a few people were discussing the event to a screen shot every few days up till the end of 17 Feb.

Slide3 Slide9

SMWLDN - RTmin set to 300

Timestamp Social Media Week London

(Presentation Download)

What I believe this shows you is that some of the key people in conversations are not the those who normally jump out. Namely, the person who creates the ideas or the person who has the huge audience that helps spread them. It is in fact the “yellow dots” in the above images. These influentials are curators – those who are niche experts and connected to idea starters and amplifiers. This group helps to link and grow conversations even though most tools in the market would ignore them. (This is why TweetLevel puts a high focus on how information flows, its origin, connectedness and NOT just popularity.)

Slide3
 

Taking another example from the WC3 event last year, if you look at the final map you would hardly notice some of the key individuals who make this topic travel so far.

In this instance you may think that Tim Berners-Lee and Google Research were the key folks involved.

 

 

 

Slide5Slide6

Instead what you can also find is that early in the dialogue an individual who has relatively few followers is instrumental in making the conversation spread.

image

Timing is Everything

if you also analyze when people tweeted about the event, the amount conversation does closely mirror the actual main conference itself. Nevertheless, the thousand tweets in advance were as we already know populated by who we would know to be the idea starters and leaders of the event.

image

The second analysis focussed on the time in the day when the tweets were made. These also coincided with keynotes and social gatherings post event.

Quoting a favorite adage of mine, we need to fish where the fish are. If we hope to have any chance of engaging with the people that count, we need to make sure we engage at the right time.
 

Who is Influential?

The top influencers on TweetLevel for #smwwldn

What you can clearly see is that this list isn’t biased to the most popular but instead draws its focus on:

  • Context
  • How important they are to the flow of information
  • Timing

image

What does this mean?

As we continually look to identify and understand influence, we must instead look to understand engagement behaviors. This means looking to engage early in the conversation with the people that count knowing that they will be the idea starters as the milestone continues. We need to also build relationships with the curators, knowing that even though they have a limited audience, their connections are vital to enable a conversation to flow.

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