Technorati released its 2013 Digital Influence Report last week, and it reveals what appears to be a disconnect between where marketers are investing their time and where consumers are being influenced to make a purchase decision.
Light Investment in Social and a Big Focus on Facebook
The report found that when it comes to their social media presence, the majority of businesses are on Facebook (91%), followed by Twitter (85%), YouTube (73%), Pinterest (41%), LinkedIn (33%), blogs (32%), Instagram (29%) and Google+ (26%).
The report also found that most brands devote about 10% of their digital budget to social media and online influencer outreach. Facebook takes up the vast majority of that social budget, leaving other efforts fewer dollars. That’s where things get interesting.
Consumers Take a Different Route
Consumers most often use YouTube, Facebook, Google+ and blogs in that order, which certainly varies from where brands are prioritizing their efforts.
When it comes to the online services most likely to influence a purchase, retail sites (56%), brand sites (34%), blogs (31%) and Facebook (31%) make up the top three. This means blogs, which make up a small portion of overall social budgets, are perhaps the most critical when it comes to a consumer making a purchase decision beyond retail and brand sites.
The Messenger Matters
Most brands should have a social media presence to distribute their own messages, interact with customers and learn from them, but what a brand says only goes so far. A brand is no longer only what it says it is. A brand is made up of what others say as well.
Third parties play an important role in building a brand and establishing third party relationships with online influencers can help in this area. Marketers may be missing an opportunity to put a greater emphasis on blogs to influence purchased decisions.
Following the Masses, Not the Influence
The report also noted that 54% of consumers agree (12% disagree) that the smaller the community, the greater the influence. This doesn’t mean brands should leave the worlds of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, but it does mean brands should consider the role niche communities could play to help them build their businesses. Consumers are increasingly looking to evaluate and reevaluate their social media behaviors, and niche networks are offering them reasons to spend more time connecting with people in places other than the mass networks like Facebook.
How Have You Prioritized Your Efforts?
Many marketers may be prioritizing their efforts effectively, but according to this report, there is a discrepancy between where brands and consumers see value. At the end of the day it’s where consumers want to be and want to get information and not where the brand wants to be. Look at your customers and learn the role social media plays in their interactions with your brand. You may be on the right track, but there’s a chance you’ll need to reprioritize your efforts.