Do Social Media Power Users Matter at All?

An interesting study was published today suggesting that “so-called ‘influencers’ might have less clout than some marketers think.” This is not really surprising but I would suggest that there is a spectrum of influence in marketing and advertising. Along that spectrum is our close friends and family which provide the most influential personal recommendations and at the other end of the spectrum would be advertising such as billboard ads.

As Marshall Kirkpatrick suggests, this means that the infamous “Tipping Point” that Malcom Gladwell created may not be accurate. To suggest that the majority of people make decisions based on a select group of people is somewhat ludicrous. The study stated that:

Of more than 1,100 adults polled in December, nearly 80% said they were very or somewhat more likely to consider buying products recommended by real-world friends and family, while only 23% reported being very or somewhat likely to consider a product pushed by “well-known bloggers.”

So does this mean that there is no point in investing in the “well-known bloggers” when executing a marketing campaign? I don’t think so. Ultimately marketing and advertising is about diversification so spread it out based on the impact of each of your marketing investments. This study also shows that Facebook’s SocialAds system could theoretically have a substantial impact. If our close friends and family are using something we are more likely to buy it.

Leveraging click-thru data of individual advertisements on Facebook to monetize our influence makes a lot of sense. Why not get paid for something that you’ve worked hard to build?
The study adds that determining influence is not simple though:

“Understanding real influence, you have to look at a number of factors from the type of audience someone attracts, where their expertise lies, and the context in which other sites are linking to them.”

While it’s not easy to track all of the factors of influence are, I would say that Facebook is currently the closest to calculating our digital influence. Do you think there are other companies that will succeed at this sooner? Do you think monetizing influence makes much sense?

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