It’s easy to fall into thinking that focusing on the top 15 or 25 or 100 influencers in a given market is a good idea for every company. That’s not necessarily so, unless you can vet their influence with decision-makers for your product or service in your market.
Mack Collier points out a good example: his experience with the “Pepsi 25″ campaign. Pepsi had targeted Mack and 24 other high profile bloggers with 3 deliveries of cans showing the evolution of the Pepsi logo over 100 years, right up to the latest logo. Most of the 25 bloggers were happy to blog about Pepsi and it’s logo. By contrast, Mack said:
I mean on one hand I appreciated the effort that Pepsi went to in sending these materials to me. Obviously they send the cans and promotional materials to myself and 24 other people because they thought we were ‘influential’ in the social media space, and that we would blog/twitter/podcast about this promotion, and hopefully in a favorable light… Now the problem for me is, I know I’m not influential to Pepsi drinkers, cause I don’t drink Pepsi (Dr Pepper here. Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper, too?).
He goes on to suggest that his spot in the Pepsi 25 would have been better used on a loyal customer — someone who would have behaved as an evangelist out of love for the Pepsi product. Someone connected to others who also would talk about Pepsi and encourage purchases, and so on.
Pepsi 25 hit a dead-end with Mack.
As Duncan says, it’s not about influence, it’s about influence with the right people.