The old marketing adage that 20% of your customers will generate 80% of your business holds true with social media.

In fact, the technological ease of peer-influence in social media means this rule of thumb is even more pronounced. Research in the US by Forrester concludes that one particular group, called Mass Connectors, make up 6% of the adult online population but influence 80% of site impressions. Meanwhile another group, called Mass Mavens, comprise 13% of the online population but create 80% of social media posts.

Clearly, identifying and communicating with these influential groups should be a key component behind social  media strategy.

Forrester's Peer Influence Model

Three Target Groups

But targeting online influencers in your community requires more than a one size fits all approach. Further research has identified three  key types of social media user, with each requiring a different marketing approach.

Social Broadcasters occupy the elite top tier of the Peer Influence Pyramid. They are the creators of online social content such as blogs and podcasts about your sport. They are likely to be a small number in Scottish sport but have a disproportionately large influence in the community.

Social Broadcasters are generating awareness of your sport through their own, independent efforts and so have significant power to influence perceptions of your sport. They should be engaged in an inter-personal way and given exclusive access to senior management staff and inside information on (selected) future plans.

Mass Influencers dominate the online discussions about sport. Advances in scale and technology allow these influencers to be the ‘loudmouths’ of social media. They are the critics who contribute to discussion forums, comment on their friends’ Facebook status and post ratings and reviews. Mass Connectors are the social glue that binds the sporting community together online, while Mass Mavens are the self-taught experts and accumulators of knowledge about your sport.

Connectors will respond to opportunities to join your sites, share content (e.g. with Facebook and Twitter) and comment on posts.

Mavens will be engaged by content that is unique to your social media sites or posted online before wider release, e.g. updates from key events, scores, statistics and selection announcements.

Potential Influencers are the majority of social media users. They join social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn and take a spectator role by reading blogs, listening to podcasts and reading comments and peer reviews. They are well trusted by the people in their network and have the potential to be create positive word of mouth.

Simple, easy to use social media efforts like Facebook pages and twitter, backed up with quality content will engage Potential Influencers and begin the process of moving them up the peer influence pyramid.