Hello again my fellow bloggers
So the question is can social media users really influence global brands? The simple answer is yes, absolutely social media users can influence global brands.
Did you know that 4 out of every 5 internet users visit a social networking site on a monthly basis (Radwanick, 2010). And did you know that 72% of social network users visit social networking sites at least once a day (OfCom, 2013). This is a massive number of people who have the potential to view blogs and write their own and give their opinions on products. These regular customers have the potential to influence brand equity like never before, they are unintentionally becoming brand ambassadors and broadcasting their personal experiences and stories to social networking sites.
Market practitioners are feeling very uneasy at the fact that they no longer feel in control of their brand conversation, but the reality of it is they were never in control of brand conversation this always fell with the consumers however until recently the consumers never had a medium in which they could speak their minds. Now these mediums are available and they are available in abundance. More than ever before people are writing blogs and reviews on various products and services and the reality is there is nothing the brands can do about it. One way that businesses are trying to combat this is by outsourcing to digital marketing PR companies, and getting them to come in and run their digital channels to try regain some virtual strength.
The other way in which companies are trying to combat the increase in social media and blogging is by creating partnerships with these bloggers in the hope to regain some control over the brand conversation. But first, due to the sheer volume of bloggers that there are out there, the highly influential ones need to be identified. To do this social media valuation algorithms have been created, every blogger gets put through this algorithm where typically the following criteria is assessed; viewers per month, engagement index, post frequency, linkage, social aggregator rate, media citation score and related posts. Once these are all assessed an index score is then given and the ones with a high index will look to be targeted by large companies to form partnerships. Partnerships can be very beneficial to both parties as the blogger receives some of desire as does the company.
The algorithm can go one step further and put the successful bloggers into tiers. There are 3 tiers; tier A, tier B and tier C.
Tier A will have a large readership following and is generally more news orientated.
Tier B will have fewer followers than tier A but will be more focused on particular topics where occasionally data is not found elsewhere.
And tier C will have the smallest readership following and has an extremely targeted subject matter. Often provide frank, candid, detailed product reviews that can springboard discussion boards and forums.
By practitioners placing bloggers into these sub-categories it allows for them to not only identify the high profile bloggers but to also target the correct bloggers for the correct target audience.
So in summary social media users have influenced global brands and they will continue to do so over the next few years, the only thing the brands can do is hope to build good relationships and produce high quality products so their brand image does not suffer from it.
Ofcom, (2013) Adults media use and attitudes report [Online] <http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/research/media-literacy/adult-media-lit-13/2013_Adult_ML_Tracker.pdf> [Accessed 19 November 2014]
Radwanick, S. (2010), The 2009 US Digital Year in Review, White Paper, comScore, New York, NY