In the Forrester report, Tapping The Entire Online Peer Influence Pyramid, we introduced the Mass Influencer, a category of online influencer comprised of people who create most of the peer impressions about about brands in social channels. Although just 16 percent of the online population, Mass Influencers create 80 percent of all peer impressions about products and services.
Engaging Mass Influencers is tough--getting a sufficient number of bloggers or Twitterers to mention your new product or participate in your promotion is challenge enough--but keeping them engaged is tougher. In the middle of last year Moonfruit, a free web site builder, ran a Twitter sweepstakes that got many tweeting. Some found the program spammy, but it was undeniable Moonfruit earned a lot of attention. The site received a huge spike of traffic, but the volume of Unique Visitors has since returned to exactly the same level as before. The promotion was successful in reaching many but did not succeed in creating lasting engagement.
One way Mass Influencers can create peer impressions for a brand is to post ratings and reviews, but there isn't much of a feedback loop to this activity. Are people reading my reviews? Do they find them worthwhile?
TripAdvisor needs to keep reviewers reviewing, and an email message they sent to me suggests one way to do so. They don't merely ask for more reviews but instead appeal to some of the motivations that Mass Influencers have for their social media activities. The TripAdvisor message takes away doubt about readership of reviews and implies that those who post reviews have an audience eager for more content. Here is what I received:
Do I believe I have an audience waiting to read my next hotel review? Of course not, but this email still motivated me to write a review of another property in which I stayed this past week. TripAdvisor's email message confirmed my content is relevant to and read by others, and this acted as encouragement for me to post more content (which, in turn, drives page views, return visits, and revenue for TripAdvisor.com).
TripAdvisor cannot succeed in being a content and opinion destination if reviewers only post a review or two and then never return. Their simple email program suggests one way that feedback can be used to keep influencers influencing.