Are you an Alpha user?

The Alpha User is a human networking hub. The Alpha User is someone who loves to communicate with everyone and keeps the social group connected and informed. The Alpha User is also earlier in adopting most operator’s services than the peers on the same social network.

That does not make an Alpha User the same as an “Early Adopter” but rather, that among each discrete community, the Alpha User tends to be the one of the earliest adopters within that community.

The group itself could be very laggard in adopting a service – likely for example for the older ladies of the bridge club – or can be a group of all early adopters such as for example broadband users’ group today. Each such group will have one Alpha User who leads the adoption of new communication technologies to that group. Alpha Users are natural teachers of any new technology they like. Think of it, who was the person who taught you to send an SMS, or an MMS. These people are very likely to be Alpha Users.

So, are you an Alpha user? You might not be interested in knowing, but let me tell you that your mobile operator is really interested.

The Alpha User is the ideal evangelist for anything new that we might offer to that community. Because the Alpha User tends to be the earliest in adopting new communication technologies the Alpha User is eager to learn about and trial new telecoms services. If the Alpha User likes the new service or product, he/she will immediately start to promote its brilliance to all in his/her community who would most be attracted to the service. The Alpha User will do this without any of our active promotion or pushing. The Alpha User feels compelled to tell the world about the latest greatest discovery. If we then recruit the Alpha Users, reward him/her for promoting the service, a perfect partnership is formed.

How does the operators identify Alpha Users and why?
There is no single Alpha User group that lead all social networks, but rather someone who is an Alpha User in one community, may be just a regular member in another community. Thus all distinct communities must first be identified and then the networking hub person in each to be isolated. It is also valuable to recognize the communities in each behaviour-based segment, because it helps to target marketing alpha users of a specific segment.

Once communities are identified, the next step is evaluating the influence of the Alpha users in key metrics such as churn, ARPU, service adoption, MOUs, etc, as an Alpha subscriber’s actions have a real impact on their immediate neighbours in their social network, and therefore can be considered “heavy-influencers”. Finally, it’s just a question of identifying the “bad influence” and driving a corrective action to prevent or even cure it.

This sounds science-fiction to me…
Yes, I know. But after some social-network-related engagements, I have to say that I believe in this. We have been including some specific social network analysis in our churn, pricing and ARPU stimulation projects unveiling significant upsides for the operator (i.e. churn reduction, service adoption, and customer retention). In my opinion, it’s soon yet to use social-network  concepts across all the commercial areas of a telecom provider, but it won’t take too much time to see deep social analytical  studies behind every single campaign, product or service launched.

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