Last month Technorati Media released the 2013 Digital Influence Report confirming the significance of bloggers in influencing consumer spending and the findings of this research has some important take home points for Australian brands.
While Australia is still a way behind America in the way businesses are engaging in social media, we are forging ahead in some more innovative and well-integrated bloggers partnerships which I find extremely exciting! I believe we have a unique opportunity in Australia to learn from the good and bad of American blogger programs in order to deliver greater value to the readers of blogs – they are after all the people that both bloggers and brands want to reach.
These are 3 of the key points we think Australian businesses need to pay attention to in order to excel in this space.
1. Blogs DO influence consumer purchasing
Blogs were found to be the third most important digital service (31%) most likely to influence a purchase, only behind retail sites(56%) and brand sites(34%). In fact, blogs were found to be the fifth-most trustworthy source overall for information on the internet.
This is HUGELY significant.
In order to see these results in your business you need to understand what Social Media Examiner has artfully called trust, the digital currency of bloggers. Bloggers aren’t just writing on the internet, they are forming vibrant communities online. While there are thousands upon thousands of bloggers online, the key factor both bloggers and brands need to think about is TRUST. Finding bloggers who have a good alignment with your brand even if they aren’t the most widely read blogger will deliver stronger results than 1 blog post on 1 blog for 1 day will.
We need to move past a “1 click wonder” approach to blogger outreach and move toward deeper engagement and ongoing social relationships (between brands and bloggers not just bloggers and their communities). This is how we can deliver true results for brands and bloggers alike.
2. Smaller IS Effective
54% of consumers agree that the smaller the community the greater the influence showing that smaller communities can be important pockets of influence for brands. The take home for brands is to look closely at the blogs you choose to work with and look for those who do demonstrate readership relevance not just size. You want the blog with the right audience not just the right reach.
The take home for bloggers is that if they are a smaller blog then think about defining your area of influence – if you can say to a brand that you write specifically on a topic such as education, technology for children, health and nutrition, parenting boys etc… then you can demonstrate your relevance to certain brands. The flip side is to realise that when you do niche yourself there will also be certain brands that are not a good fit for your audience and it will be important not to work with those brands lest you diminish trust with your readership (e.g. if you write about parenting boys then working with a brand that is dominantly relevant to girls or the parents of girls would not be a good idea).
3. Success is in the eye of the beholder
I was interested but not surprised to read that bloggers consider pageviews to be the most significant indicator of success whereas brands are using analytic programs and the number of followers to identify influential bloggers. This is an ongoing mismatch we see constantly. The problem with looking at programs to determine influence is is that influence can’t be determined through a formula. Identifying influential bloggers is a nuanced business and while reach is one factor, there are more important elements at play – relevance of readership, audience vs community, levels of engagement.
If you are trying to get your head around blog stats and how to best measure them then please have a read of our post on unique visitors vs total pageviews.
Last week when Social Media Examiner shared some of this report with its readership one of our clients emailed us to say “this supports everything you have been saying for some time…”Blogging cultivates community, which is where influence is birthed”. We are thrilled to see this research is confirming what we know and preach about blogging, community and influence!
Bloggers truly can influence consumer spending and the time is NOW for bloggers and brands to develop an approach that is rich, vibrant and effective!