Interested in the science behind influencer marketing and social networking theory? Check this baby out.
…Being well-connected or strategically positioned within a social network may impact one’s ability to influence others more than the size of one’s following. That’s not to say that size never matters — individuals with bigger networks do tend to more influential. But the structure of those connections matters, too. So marketers should focus on two other factors that measure influence in a social network: “betweenness centrality” and closeness.
“Betweenness centrality” is a person’s location between different sections of a network. A high betweenness centrality signals a strategic position. For example, consider an executive with connections throughout several industries, as opposed to a leader who is only well-connected within his own industry.
Closeness is the average number of degrees between an individual and other members of the network; someone with one degree of separation, or more closeness, will probably wield greater influence (consider the ease of getting a favor from a friend as opposed to a friend of a friend’s mother’s cousin).
Influencers who have a high betweenness centrality are ideal for reaching a wide audience, while influencers within a tightly-knit niche group are best suited for action-driven goals.
Want to quickly get the word out about a new product? Get a handful of influencers with high betweenness centrality talking about it. Potential reach is greatest among these strategically-positioned influencers since their connections across various networks help them efficiently disseminate information. Ann Handley (@MarketingProfs) and Daniel Pink (@DanielPink) are two great examples from our network graph with high betweenness centrality (8.71 and 7.72, respectively). Notice how their connections span across the entire graph.
Want to get people to take action, such as signing up for a free trial or sharing a video? The researchers found the majority illusion is most likely to occur when group members with a low number of connections have a tendency to connect with individuals with a lot of connections. In networks where members have a low degree of connections, exposure to outside ideas and opinions is limited, making them more easily influenced. The high-degree members of these close-knit networks, who we’ll call niche leaders, have great influence within their network, making them an ideal partner for accomplishing conversion-driven goals.