When you’re looking for your brand’s social media influencers, it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers. You might think more followers means more influence, but in reality, it’s about much more than that.

According to Ben Cobb, global content and community manager for Reebok, there are lots of ways to create an influencer program, but to find the right influencers, you have to focus on what and who you’re trying to influence. In his presentation at SocialMedia.org’s BlogWell conference, Ben shares some lessons learned from Reebok’s search for the right influencers for their Classic Leather brand.

Some key points from his presentation:

  • Fame doesn’t equal influence: Reebok learned that even though one celebrity advocate had lots of followers and the right audience, he was only influential in music, not fashion. His social media followers were put off by mentions of Reebok’s shoes where they expected to hear about hip hop.
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Those comfortable beds, big TVs and fancy pools? They’re not just in nice hotels anymore. According to Hilton Worldwide Director of Social Media Planning Vanessa Sain-Dieguez, with people’s homes becoming more like destinations, it’s not enough to compete with luxury features — hotels have to deliver amazing service.

One way Hilton Worldwide is doing it is through social media customer service that’s so proactive that one customer called it scary. In her presentation at SocialMedia.org’s BlogWell conference in Boston at Fidelity, Vanessa shares how their social media programs, such as Hilton Suggests, are making guests and other travelers feel warm and fuzzy.

Here are some key points from her presentation:

  • Feedback is feedback — even if it’s in social media: They proactively look for and respond to customer complaints on social sites the same way they would in the non-digital world. According to Vanessa, that’s unlike 70% of other companies who completely ignore complaints on Twitter.
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One morning, an entire neighborhood in New York woke up with brand new Keurig brewers on their doorsteps. It wasn’t because they won a contest or because they asked for them — it was all a part of Keurig’s surprise and delight mission they carried out in L.A. and Miami.

According to Crystal King, Keurig’s social media manager, giving away brewers is just one way they earn loyal fans and word of mouth (like the 1,000 social media posts and 3 million impressions they earned from this campaign). In her presentation at SocialMedia.org’s BlogWell conference in Boston, Crystal explains why they do stuff like this.

Here are three key points from her presentation:

  • When upset customers vent on social media, they’re already pretty mad: That’s usually because they didn’t get the answers they needed elsewhere from calling or e-mailing. Crystal says that’s why it’s more important than ever to make these customers happy as quickly as possible.
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“If someone is going to get a tattoo of your brand, you should figure out a way to celebrate them,” says Jessica Gioglio, social media manager for Dunkin’ Donuts. According to Jessica, their celebratory strategy was inspired by a Facebook fan who sent them a photo of her Dunkin’ tattoo.

In her presentation at SocialMedia.org’s BlogWell conference, Jessica shares how a fan-centric approach has helped Dunkin’ Donuts earn customer loyalty, create fun content, and keep the conversation going.

Some lessons shared in her presentation:

  • Surprise and delight your fans: When someone shows their love for Dunkin’ Donuts, they show it back by sending them little gifts and handwritten notes. Jessica says these moments spark even more word of mouth and customer loyalty.
  • Tell a visual story: Jessica’s team knows that photos and videos win in social media. They take inspiration from their fans to make stuff like their Vine video TV ads and Instagram photo contests.
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EMC Corp. had something good going for them: Executives who encouraged employees to be social. But it led to something negative: Too many EMC-branded accounts competing for fans’ attention.

Their senior social media manager, Thom Lytle, calls it the “Social Sprawl.” The number of followers across all of their social media accounts spiked for a few accounts and flat-lined for the rest — meaning their social media message was spread too thin.

In his presentation at SocialMedia.org’s BlogWell conference in Boston, Thom cited a “Shawshank Redemption” quote to explain how they consolidated and strengthened their social media presence: “Get busy living or get busy dying.”

Some key points from Thom’s presentation:

  • Get busy dying: Thom and his social team shut down more than 150 EMC-branded social media accounts that either didn’t work or overlapped other accounts. He calls the process brutal, explaining that getting employees to let go of these ineffective accounts takes a lot of time and communication.
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