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Raymond Morin
December 22, 2015

Bloggers: The New Influencers of tomorrow

More than ever, content marketing, and blogs in particular, are at the center of issues. It is estimated that there are currently about 200 million blog sites, and there are about 1.25 million new blog posts published daily.

Due to this, the importance of standing out and asserting leadership amidst the clutter is crucial, and leaders are more involved than ever in online marketing strategies. At the same time, we are seeing more and more executives and professionals embrace social media and start their own blog.  We are, in fact, witnessing the emergence of a new type of influencer.

The real benefits of professional and corporate blogs

All studies demonstrate that blogs are an ever more crucial challenge for brands and organizations. They enable leaders to publish quality content to their communities, establishing their position through social media.

By properly exploiting the various social platforms, they can assert their leadership and build personal branding in their niche, while more effectively managing their digital identity. By producing and disseminating regular relevant content, thought leaders eventually build a solid online reputation, allowing them to gain greater credibility with their communities. This is the basis of their influence in social media.

By actively participating in the blogosphere – commenting or by regularly publishing new and relevant blog posts – professional and corporate bloggers (guests bloggers, managers and executives) can expand their reach, adding further value to their communication.

However, companies and brands should avoid the trap of excessive self-promotion, which would eventually be regarded as intrusive advertising. One of the first rules of communications in social media we must remember, is that you should never claim to be the best, but rather let others say.

Connected consumers rely more on bloggers

Unlike brands that aim for instant results with specific campaigns with new social media celebrities, entrepreneurs and organizations will continue to favor longer-term relationships with opinion leaders, as demonstrated by the study from the AUGURE Office: State practices and relationships – influencers 2015, published in July, and to which I had the pleasure to participate in:

  • 69% of respondents prefer writing blog posts to undertake collaboration and engage influencers, and blogs are proving a major channel (54%) to establish and develop relationships with them, behind only Twitter (68%).

Meanwhile, the new Generation C connected consumers turn more to social media and blogs for information. Social networks now prove the main source of each generation to keep abreast of the news. With broadcast mobile applications available on the Web and social media, anyone can become a journalist – citizen, and relay and comment on news and current events. And while the trust of the population towards the organizations and the media crumbles, they gradually replace professional journalists in public opinion.

Opinion leaders emphasize the value of content

For thought leaders, their blog platform proves to be the hub of each of their activities on social media, and the landing page on which will eventually build their reputation and credibility line. This is the central pillar of their influence that can’t be sacrificed or neglected. To protect and develop that, they will naturally favor collaborations and relationships with people and organizations that can help them add value to their communities and on their blog platform. As the Augure study also says:

– 55% of respondents consider the opportunity to reach new audiences as the main motivation for influencers, while 45% favor the creation of quality content for their community, and that almost 30% (29%) place their reputation as paramount.

According to the Augure study, only 24% of influencers are motivated by the desire to earn money, whereas 22% seek new experiences, such as travel or events.

The “Influencerati”: the new social media celebrities

Amongst the thought leaders and current social media influencers, new groups have arisen, including Mommy bloggers, Teen YouTubers, Fashion Instagramers, and a multitude of new bloggers who exploit new platforms to address their community. These are the new “influencerati”: the new celebrities of social media. Their community is very focused, and they have a large number of subscribers and connections, who in turn massively relay and amplify the message. That is creating something that Kristina Lerman and others at USC have dubbed “the majority illusion” – the sense that some things are common when they actually are quite rare. The study, The Social-Network Illusion That Tricks Your Mind, was released by MIT Technology Review

For brands, these new influencers can provide qualified distribution channels to reach their customers directly. To this end, these new ¨influencerati¨ are increasingly solicited for marketing campaigns on social networks. Some, like PewDiePie on YouTube, have estimated annual revenues up to $12 million. Despite the tremendous impact that new brands among celebrities get, the viral effect of ¨influenceratis¨ is often ephemeral, lasts the time of a message. And the scope of the message they convey is generally limited to their specific niche.

With the emergence of new platforms, any blogger can now exploit rich content to convey their message. In turn, thought leaders and influencers of social media develop more and more new media (such as eBooks, podcasts, and webinars) to reach more new generations.

Building relationships with the new bloggers pays dividends

Establishing good relationships with the new bloggers seems to pay dividends, and satisfy marketers. ¨Paid Social and Content Marketing has provided companies an easy way to see ROI, as the expenses can be justified like any other traditional expense that contributes to the marketing funnel.¨, as said my friend and colleague Neal (Schaffer) on one of his latest blog posts.

A recent study published this year by Tomoson, also revealed that influence marketing in social media has at last reported big ROI for brands. The study of marketing campaigns with influencers has reported an average return of $6.50 per dollar invested. In such a favorable context, it is not surprising to see large companies invest as much in the new celebrities of the Web and social media. 58% will increase their influencer marketing budgets during the next year.

However, we should ask how long will this new paradigm last? As the new influencers grow older, or change their mindset as they nurture their young families, the majority illusion of vast numbers from the ¨influenceratis¨ will inevitably fail. And as their influence will gradually fades, we’ll probably never hear about them. Or, might they replace or augment the ranks of the thought leaders in public opinion?

What’s your opinion on this topic? Share your blogging experience with our readers, and comment this article.

 

(Note: This article is repurposed and updated from a blog post that was originally published on April 29th, 2015, on my French website: RaymondMorin.com and later republished in English, on May 22, 2015, on MaximizeSocialBusiness.com.)

Read also on the same topic :

http://www.augure.com/blog/influencer-engagement-pyramid-20150119

http://www.augure.com/fr/blog/etude-relations-influenceurs-20150610

http://www.theshelf.com/the-blog/2015/3/30/step-by-step-instructions-for-setting-up-your-first-blogger-campaigns

http://www.fredcavazza.net/2015/11/11/la-blogosphere-a-un-tournant-de-son-histoire/

http://www.influencia.net/fr/actualites/tendance,observatoire-influencia,blogueur-influenceur-pleine-mutation,5885.html

http://maximizesocialbusiness.com/content-marketing-is-the-core-of-thought-leadership-19609/

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/05/27/why-blogging-is-key-to-the-future-of-higher-ed.aspx

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/she-turned-parenting-into-a-5m-daily-deals-business/2015/10/24/c2acd014-78e2-11e5-bc80-9091021aeb69_story.html

http://www.inc.com/jayson-demers/the-top-10-benefits-of-content-marketing.html

 

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Profile photo of Raymond Morin

Raymond Morin

SMO Senior Consultant, Author/Blogger and Speaker at Virage 2.0
Raymond Morin is a francophone author and speaker, who has also acted as senior strategic consultant and coach for organizations, SMBs and independent professionals for over 20 years. An early adopter to the Web and social media, he shared his learning and knowledge, throughout those years, for the benefits of several funding and governmental organizations, before choosing to be a freelancer for entrepreneurs and professionals organizations. His focus is on establishing bridges between the different enterprises and consumers, to fill the gap between cultures and generations, for the benefits of each professional user. Author of the books "Culture Web à la portée des PME" (2001) and "Comment entreprendre le virage 2.0" (2010), he has also contributed to several magazines and bloggers platforms over the years. His upcoming new book in French, entitled "Generation C et l’influence des consommateurs branchés", is prefaced by Neal Schaffer, and will be also published in English and Spanish during the next year.