Reach, credibility and influence are the ultimate objectives of social media marketing. Reaching the right audience in ways that resonate, prompt viral distribution and drive action are the reason we get out of bed in the morning.
In the scramble for attention, credibility and ad dollars the social channels jockey to make their cases. One has volume and global scale. Another has real-time immediacy; a third touts its influence and opinion leadership. A fourth is the playground of the too-cool-for-school crowd.
Enter Technorati, who replaced the annual state of the blogosphere study, with a new report titled “The 2013 Digital Influence Report” based on data drawn from its blog network with a reach of 130 million unique users per month and a survey that included 6000 influencers, 1200 random consumers and 150 marketers.
Evidently 75 percent of digital ad dollars are flowing to display, search and video but attention and influence are being accumulated by influential bloggers who get a measly 11 percent of the pie. “Where brands are spending is not fully aligned with how and where consumers are seeing value being influenced,” the report concludes.
Recognizing the practical difficulties of creating, measuring and buying blog networks, the report claims that “when making overall purchase decisions for consumers blogs trail only behind retail and brand sites.” Furthermore “blogs were found to be the fifth-most trustworthy source overall for information on the Internet” trailing news sites, Facebook, retail sites and YouTube.
Self interest aside, nobody disputes the role of blogs or their potential influence on consumers. The question is how to separate signals from noise and how to assess genuine influence from hyperbole.
Consider ten criteria to assess the potential value of influential bloggers.
- What is a blogger’s base audience day-in and day-out?
- Do they routinely generate significant buzz and virality?
- Is the buzz about what they think and say or about the blogger as a personality/guru/speaker?
- Can you immediately identify their insight or expertise?
- Do they generate original content or endlessly re-tweet others’?
- Have they written a book, done a TED talk or produced significant data?
- Are they independent or part of a group?
- Are they overtly or clandestinely supported or sponsored by someone?
- Are they looking for freebies and handouts?