As social networks become more prominent in consumer activity, including research and decision making, influence marketing will invariably play a big part in shaping thoughts and perspectives. The ability to connect with other influencers in a given field increases any particular user’s or brand’s ability to reach an audience effectively, as highlighted in new research from Simply Measured.
For example, in its “#SocialMarketing Planning Guide for 2015,” the firm finds that connections create opportunities to essentially amplify a brand’s reach and ability to engage with others. The report states that social posts mentioning the handle of another user increased the odds of post engagement by 56 percent. High-profile users present the opportunity to expand even further.
Social media users are increasingly dependent on others’ influence in the decision-making process—far more so than in other, more traditional forms of trusted content. The report notes research from Nielsen that found 90 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations. Only 33 percent of consumers, meanwhile, trust ads. Influence marketing has the opportunity to drive huge opportunities for brands, simply by offering implicit endorsements, votes, or otherwise building trust through engagement and sharing.
It is critical that brands look to relevant influencers within their niches. While endorsements from Justin Bieber might draw a lot of attention, such engagement isn’t realistic—and it may not even align with your marketing objectives.
Content marketing provides an outlet for engaging top influencers through quality, relevant methods that offer genuine value. Shani Hilton, an executive editor at BuzzFeed recently named to Forbes‘ 30 Under 30 list, is in the unique position of seeing influence opportunities from both sides. Hilton ascended to this major editorial position after coming over from NBC Washington and impressing executives within BuzzFeed.
But BuzzFeed produces content that also depends on social sharing—and influential social users drive this activity.
In Hilton’s case, content is the product as well as the marketing campaign. But the ultimate goal is to elevate the brand and push it forward. BuzzFeed is able to accomplish this by plastering the Internet with its own original content. As a result, the website has become a far more respected media entity in the last few years. A focus on quality, combined with keeping the audience’s interests in mind, enable the brand to grow and thrive.
Expect similar stories in the coming year.
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