Influencers and idea generation (how our networks help us make choices)

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engageya

engageyaIt’s a brief, passing, reference on a Google+ posting.

I’ve added engageya.com for recommending contents internally on my site. So far, I have used Outbrain, nRelate, and AddThis, but Engageya seems to get things right both in English and Japanese. I liked nRelate: they were fantastic in responding to e-mail queries, and if my site were on WP or Blogger, I’d use nRelate, but it couldn’t really cope with contents in Japanese on my site. Anyway, which third-party plug-in do you use to show recommended or related contents on your site / blog? Has anyone used Google+ content recommendation for mobile with any great success?

I had never heard of engageya.com before, but it took me just a few seconds to decide to go ahead and install this widget, based on the recommendation of someone from the UK that I met for the first time two years ago, in Santa Clara, California.

Of course, this person has some credibility to me. He is one of about a dozen English language Google AdSense Top Contributors, or forum moderators.  I happen to also belong to this rather exclusive group. No pay, but a couple of years ago, Google flew us (and several hundred others, from different forums) to California for a two-day summit.  We’re heading to the west coast again on Sept. 30.

Maybe this means I also have some influence and credibility, too. So Engageya.com has managed to receive a double-positive recommendation, even though I haven’t even started to use the widget and barely know how it works. And the website, which I didn’t know just an hour ago, now has even more influence and credibility.

How do you win this sort of recognition/success?

Obviously, the product or service needs to be really good. Sure, celebrities can be bribed to endorse products and services and you can hammer the message in, but you won’t get much in the way of spontaneous recommendations without getting it right in the first place.

The second challenge, however, is the one that both inspires and vexes marketers. How do you find the influencers? I mean, how could engageya.com know that I happen to know the person who recommended the widget — I would never have met him if our own accomplishments and quirks of fate had not let us be members of a group who receive all-expense paid trips to northern California from Google?

The answer, I think, is a combination of serendipity and thoughtful networking and relationship-building. You can research influencers — and usually find they are more accessible than you might expect with a simple email, or maybe a phone call to their administrative assistant (or directly, even). The challenge is when and how to approach them. Your story needs to be convincing.

The other option is to create the situation where you are an influencer yourself. This is best achieved by worthy community and industry service.

Regardless, I’ll let you know how engageya.com really works. I’m confident, however, that the person recommending it has got it right. That’s trust — and that’s influence.

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