Hello CMOs: Blogs Outrank Social Networks For Consumer Influence
Hello CMOs, an important wake-up call? Blogs outrank social networks for consumer influence, not Twitter or Facebook.
Most tend to focus at the social graph, but passion and influence are higher in the interest graph.
In fact, blogs rank favorably with consumers for trust, popularity and even influence.
The 2013 Digital Influence Report by Technorati clearly knows what many social experts have known for years: Consumers are turning to blogs when making a new purchase.
Strange, because this week the CMO.com council released the 2013 CMO guide to the social media landscape. Here the focus is at the 6 biggest social networks in reach and ad dollars, blogs are left out.
Have we forgotten that blogs are in important influential part of the social media landscape?
Or are we only looking at big? Well, big is only good when smart, right?
Technorati’s report reveals more interesting insights:
1. Why Blogs Influence Consumers’ Purchasing Decisions?
The report found that blogs are now the third most influential digital resource (31%) when making overall purchases, behind retail sites (56%) and brand sites (34%).
Consumers said that blogs rank higher than Twitter for shaping their opinions and higher than Facebook for motivating purchasing decisions.
Why are most blogs very influential?
Bloggers tend to be very honest and sincere in their reviews of products and services. They talk about both negative and positive aspects of a brand and in doing so become a trusted source of information.
Trust drives action, and thus consumers look to bloggers before they buy.
2. Consumers Feel That Smaller Communities Are More Influential
54% of consumers surveyed, agreed that smaller communities have greater influence on a topic than larger ones.
The real value of online communities comes from discussing ideas, sharing information and learning from one another.
Rarely does value come from the size of a community.
So less is more? Yes indeed very true people at CMO.com So I can understand that you display less social networks in 2013. But how about the blogosphere and the interest graph? Should CMOs truly skip it?
I feel you are wrong about that, for the following reasons: Consumers are about passion, media agencies are about numbers, spreadsheets and reach. So switch from mind-share to heart-share every now and then.
Think beyond reach and look at passion, and the heart: The key to the consumer’s broken heart lays in the interest graph.
A great example? Nike Running.
Or take any other verb or topic people have a passion for: cooking, cycling, fishing, traveling, fashion, football, gadgets, technology, marketing, art etc.
For B2C and B2B brands.
3. Why CMOs Rely More on Facebook to Influence Consumers?
Like stated in the story about the 2013 CMO guide, bigger is not always better.
Even though brands are devoting only 10% of their total digital marketing budgets to social media, Facebook is clearly the preferred platform, taking 57% of the slice.
Brands are increasingly looking to Facebook to influence consumers. And I understand that CMOs are embracing a 1 billion Facebook audience. Reach is everything their media agencies have told them.
But reaching is not engaging. Buying likes is not earning attention.
More fans are indeed making your ego bigger on the golf course, but more paid-for fans does not extend your range of influence.
4. The Power of the Blogosphere?
According to the survey, 86% of influencers blog. Of these, 88% blog for themselves. Moreover, a majority of influencers (59%) don’t produce much content outside of blogs.
Influencers are more committed to blogs than other digital platforms.
So for true influence, CMOs are seeking in the wrong direction.
Way before social networks, the blogosphere was already special, influential and huge.
The blogosphere is now bigger and even more powerful.
Rather 100 influential fashion bloggers that convince 10 million consumers, than 100.000 paid-for Facebook likes.
5. Why CMOs and Influencers Measure Success Differently?
CMOs think in campaigns, reach and the number of likes.
Brands see success as increased activity on Facebook, Twitter and their websites.
Bloggers and influencers rank blog in unique visitors, and their authority as the best measure of success.
Example? The fact that ViralBlog has a top 50 ranking in the AdAge Power150.
No we are not the biggest out there, so should this be bad for our ego? No, only one can be the biggest (or cheapest).
We are an authority and influential in the global marketing community, a perfect place to be in the long run.
I was surprised to learn that CMO.com left out blogs in their 2013 CMO Guide to the social media landscape.
I am surprised to see that not more CMOs use their branded blog as epic center of their social marketing strategy. As explained in our recent story: Blogging Benefits And Checklist For Smart Brands.
Same goes for blogger outreach. Why don’t more CMOs invest in long term, mutual beneficial relations with influential bloggers? In a way that goes way beyond sending them a press release that is only bragging about the brand or product.
Now to CMOs leading a B2B brand. Why don’t you invest in long term content, sponsored stories and sponsorships with blogs?
If you want to fuel your brand and business objectives, blogs cannot be left out. Your targets have shared their insights.
Closing thought? Keep looking at the power of the blogosphere.
What About You?
Where do you see blogs in the social media marketing strategy? Our readers would love to read your opinion.
About the Author
Igor Beuker was CMO at 3 listed companies, chairmain at the IAB, jury member at Webby, AMMA and Esprix awards, founder of 2 agencies (both sold to WPP) and global chief social officer at Mindshare. Now he is ‘freejack’ consultant and still a sought after keynote speaker.
Source: Social Media Examiner.