Word of mouth marketing has been an essential part of business since its inception. Over the years, studies have proven just how influential word-of-mouth is over the decisions people make.
One such study by McKinsey and Company shows that word of mouth marketing is behind anywhere between 20-50% of purchasing decisions.
Although word of mouth has always been important, it has never been more important than it is today. With social media and blogs, an influencer has the ability to tell the world exactly what they think about a product or service, extending the audience of one persons word of mouth to proportion never before imagined.
There are a number of reasons why marketing through word of mouth on the Internet is so powerful. One reason is that it is more intimate and personal then other advertising mediums such as print media or television. This means people trust the messages of influencers who have a blog or a large social media following more then traditional advertisements marketed directly to consumers. Another reason word of mouth on the Internet is so effective is that people are jaded and skeptical of traditional media ads. On the other hand, people do not have the same sentiment towards the word of mouth of Internet influencers.
There is a plethora of different people on the Internet who have a great deal of influence over the following that they have built up. In fact, according to Best Web Host Geek, there are over 152 million bloggers on the Internet, and most people on the Internet read a blog at least twice a day. The same study showed that 21% of people have decided to make a purchase because of a blog post, and another 19% of people making purchases on the internet fine tuned their purchasing decisions based on blog posts. That’s a whopping 40% of people making purchases based on what some influencer on the Internet said. It is clear from this, that bloggers and people with a large presence on social media can exert a massive influence on a businesses target market.
There are some notable examples of Internet influencers both helping and hurting companies. One example is in 2009, when the head of Taylor Guitars Dave Carroll’s had his expensive guitar damaged on a United Airlines flight. Carroll took to YouTube in order to seek retribution from United, making three videos defaming the company. These videos got a total of 11 million views, and it was estimated by the Times online in the UK that these views caused a 180 million dollar loss to United shareholders. On the other hand, there have been many studies that show that the return on investment by using influencers such as bloggers is very lucrative. GoPro, the camera that you can put on your helmet was brought to the public forefront by a firefighter on social media. This firefighter uploaded a video of himself saving a cat while a GoPro was attached to his helmet. The video got over 6.5 million views, and was one of the major reasons according to Entrepreneur.com that Foxcon recently acquired a 8.88% stake in the company for 200 million dollars
Influencers on the Internet have a great amount of power, as they can affect the choices of millions of Internet users around the world. This can benefit or hurt businesses. However, if utilized correctly influencers can be an extremely lucrative part of any businesses marketing campaign. In fact, influencers can be much more effective then many other traditional marketing mediums.