Final Touches to Social Networks Nodes
As a rule,
• those who flatter the audience by telling them what they want to hear;
• those who write vividly and interestingly,
get real likes and followers.
Just as in life, opinion leaders and experts in social networks are different. To clarify the concept, let me remind you that:
Opinion Leader is a “node” of a social network existing in real or virtual space, according to communication theory. An opinion leader gets the trust of the audience and can influence their opinion about certain processes and phenomena thanks to numerous contacts with other people and personal qualities. If the opinion leader is simply very popular, it is a representative of the celebrities category. At the same time, if their state of mind and life inspires respect and even awe – this is moral beacon.
Expert may not necessarily be a public person but necessarily a highly qualified person in a certain field of knowledge and/or skills. An expert may or may not be an opinion leader but must be an extra-specialist separating the wheat from the chaff, and the lambs from the goats.
Also, both opinion leaders and experts can be real ones or pretenders.
Real are people who really arouse the interest of this or that community or society. They also perform the function of the so-called nodes of networks of interpersonal contacts in real life. As a rule, the audience of followers is built up organically.
Pretenders are people who claim publicity, recognition, and authority, without having any personal qualities and merits. As a rule, they use the services of SMM specialists and their audience is fake users in many cases.
The following key varieties of opinion leaders/experts and fake opinion leaders/experts are most likely to gain popularity online (e.g. Facebook):
- an official holding important position, who is of interest to everyone primarily because of the position;
- experts writing on the most painful topic for Ukraine – the war;
- well-known (mostly odious) politicians whose political and/or private Santa Barbara is loved by ordinary people;
- well-known editors or journalists with a wide circle of communication in the media community, expert community and among their sources of information;
- political and economic experts who write non-trivial things in non-trivial language;
- owners and top managers of large companies, whose sense of self-importance in FB is supported by their subordinates and other dependent people (in the case of PR directors – mass media journalists who a systematic selfless cooperation has been established with);
- niche (industry) experts;
- moral beacons (priests, philosophers, and writers);
- recognized or self-appointed arbiters of taste;
- talented freaks;
- just common people who write for fun and whose private life is interesting to people because it is similar to theirs.
Having strong sponsorships from reputation political or commercial brands or at least the ability to publicize the fact of affiliation with them greatly helps to gain popularity.
In the rest of the cases (although, each specific case must be studied separately of course), real likes and subscribers are received, as a rule:
- by those who flatter the audience by telling them what they want to hear;
- by those who write vividly and interestingly.
Accordingly, the average user does not really like those who write in a sophisticated and too intellectual manner; who says unpleasant and inconvenient things that do not fit into fashionable stereotypes; whose posts have no tangible value for them personally.
This is bad news for those who are not populists and demagogues. But you should not despair, because popularity in the network is not equal to influence. And politicians who do not let their smartphone out of their hands (although many people want to take it away from them forever) in pursuit of a new dose of emotions, are not so much working for their reputation as killing time and cherish their sense of self-importance. The world history and even the recent history of Ukraine clearly show that many non-public figures have no less influence than those on the Internet and often even much more. Therefore, the ratings of the “most popular” residents of social networks are similar to similar offline influence ratings, where up to 90% are random people.
If you really want to tell the network community about yourself, then the way is clear and well-known:
- it is necessary to understand why popularity in the network is needed (to set a goal) and in the eyes of which part of the audience it should be formed;
- come up with how you want to look in the eyes of the network community in order to achieve these goals (to build a personal brand) taking into account the resonance of network activities in the real world;
- provide quality content (from the point of view of your audience);
- create a system of mutually beneficial information exchange with other congruent opinion leaders;
- promote created content using those SMM methods that will meet your goals;
- enlist offline support (ideally, a synergy of activities in the real and virtual world should be achieved)
- and so on, and so forth.
Although, again, this will not always be the case. Growing generations of digital natives is next to us; they live in the world of virtual social networks already. The functionality and realism of social networks in relation to the user’s feelings will increase. Only time will tell which leaders will be in demand in this new world. Perhaps it will be easier to recognize the pretenders there. But on the contrary, it is possible that it will become almost impossible or unnecessary. Let’s wait and see.
Novoe Vremya 2015