The (Web3) Value of Influencers

tl;dr: how crypto brings measurement to influence

I’ve been thinking about the value of influencers since the early days of my foray into social media.

I could probably go back and find 100 posts on the topic and a few e-books as well.

Concepts like 1000 True Fans and Cialdini’s “Influence” also figure prominently.

In the CMO Primer for the Age of Blockchains, I also spent some time exploring how crypto’s unique ability to assign and track value would be a new tool in the box for marketers.

All of this came to mind as I read James Currier’s piece, Network Bonding Theory: Understanding Your Startup & The Web3 Ownership Economy

While many of the concepts he discussed were familiar to me, I thought he did a much better job of diving deeper into the mathematics behind it.

As he writes:

Here’s the thing. 

Every person or asset you bring to a startup network is bonding to that network in an implicit mathematical equation. 

They have other options with what to do with their time/money/expertise and they are “getting paid” to bond to your network over other networks.

Perhaps they are getting paid in multiple ways, but believe me, there is math underneath it all.

Furthermore, he pulled back the existing model by one layer of abstraction and demonstrated that, as we do in Web3, we already pay people for belonging to our networks of employment.

It’s called a salary.

That person, particularly in an age of individual empowerment and influence ranging from macro to micro, not only provides a service to the organization but, by virtue of association, is “bonding” to the organization and thus signaling to others the value of the bond.

As our tools for “node value” measurement increase, we’ll see crypto networks that offer different amounts of incentive awards for nodes to join them.

If you think about this, as Currier did, this is what a “brand ambassador” is and why having a Kardashian or LeBron represent your brand is valuable. It sends a signal.

That’s necessary, but not sufficient.

Currier again:

 A node simply bonding to your network might be all you need, but in most cases, you want your nodes active on your network.

If a Kardashian creates a profile on Twitter, that’s worth something to Twitter. And if she posts crazy stuff 5 times per day, that’s worth a lot more.

But if she never posts, that teaches the other nodes that Twitter isn’t cool. It indicated she has un-bonded, and it will have a negative impact on the network value. So you have to design carefully for continuous bonding and engagement.

We’ll have the same type of “influencer marketing” that we have to do only overlayed with a crypto twist and a measure of node value for each node (and it need not be a person, it can be an anonymous address) that tells us–in real-time– how “bonded” a node is to our network AND the relative value of that node for our network.

In the short-term, this may actually exacerbate wealth distribution, but hopefully, that will level out over time.

That’s a social negative externality, for sure, but the reality is that not all nodes are worth the same to a growing network.

Soon we will just have a much more effective way of knowing which ones and by how much.

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