This post kicks off a multi-post miniseries on the topic of influencers: how to find them, engage them, and collaborate with them in word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing programs.
Influence marketing today is in a state of experimentation that scientists call the pre-paradigm phase or exploratory phase. During this phase, everyone is trying different approaches based on experience. There are incomplete theories about why some approaches work and others fail, but there is no underlying fundamental principle that explains everything.
To understand social network analysis (SNA), you must understand what a social network is, and what a social graph is. Simply put, SNA is the analysis of social networks and a social network is just a network of entities that are connected by the relationship among the entities. This concept has existed since humans began walking the earth. In fact, social networks exist even in many social animals beside humans (e.g. wolves, lions, dolphins, bats, and even ants).
Of course, the entities that interest us are people, and the relationships that are of particular interest include friendships (as in Facebook), colleagues (as in LinkedIn), kinship, communications...