Wrap up from #TFOI London

On Tuesday we held an event on the Future of Online Influence in London at Ketchum’s offices. The gathering brought together a great crowd of agency professionals, engaging speaks and, of course, drinks! Here’s a quick summary of the ideas shared with links to everyone’s presentations.

Stephen Waddington, Head of Digital at Ketchum for EMEA, set the scene by illustrating how influence has been democratized through social media. He gave two enlightening examples on how anyone with a social media presence could have influence beyond his or her traditional reach of friends and families. He even showed how influence can translate into very measurable outcomes in the real world, such as getting reimbursement from a train operator! (Pretty much the most illustrative proof of ROI :))

Philip Sheldrake, author of the “Business of Influence” and founder of Euler Partners, then took us down a thought provoking path through the world of network and influence analysis. “Influence is complex and can not be easily measured”, he said, provocatively. Those who contend that they can pack influence in a single social score are wrong.

In his lively style, Philip highlighted that influence impacts all aspects of a business and should not be reserved to digital or social media experts. As he put it, “If agencies have a head of digital, who then is their head of analog?”.

Whilst measures of success need to be specific to every company’s strategy and objective, Philip invited marketers to share common definitions, especially across sometimes antagonist practices such as PR and advertising.

We should agree that everyone is an influencer (and that means there are 7 billion influencers in the world). Thus, the important thing to do is focus on our “key influencers”. Or in his words, “someone who, following statistical modeling and analysis, is considered with some degree of confidence to be part of a cohort central to the efficacy of a program of influence”. You’ve got to love that definition!

philip-stephen

Stephen and Philip looking happy at #TFOI

Pierre Loic Assayag, our CEO, concluded the mini conference by highlighting five key trends in influencer marketing. He cited Eric Schmidt of Google, who said 97% of the content created on the web is social. Thus you must focus on key conversations to you if you want impact (and this is incredibly challenging).

Pierre-Loic reminded us that for an influencer strategy to succeed you have to remember that “context trumps popularity and relevance beats reach”. He concluded with a cute slide showing his 1 year old daughter in a video chat with her grandparents — the perfect demonstration that the frontier between real and digital life will soon be obsolete!

You will also find a great Storify summary of the event curated by Stephen Waddington and originally posted on his personal blog here.

Please share your feedback and ideas. We are planning a follow-up event to see whether the future of online influence is becoming a reality!