Marketers beware - 74% of consumers are being influenced by the social web.
This is not really new information, but it does consolidate the method of the web.
The firm Gartner have just released figures that suggest one fifth of the population are influencing over 74% of consumers!
These "influencers" only succeed due to a particular method. Why? Because they don't use the web as a channel.
They have nothing to gain from "influencing" and, therefore, apply a different method other that one who does. This, in turn, dictates method and that method can only be relevant delivery of information coupled with delivery that is social in nature i.e sharing.
This does not mean that those with "product/service" cannot utilise the web, only that they must utilise it in a different method than has been used traditionally. This would appear to be "alien" to a lot of companies as it goes against "business" method.
But "business method" only works when you can "map" intent to purchase. This is easy off-line as consumers can be easily "mapped" by looking at a "high street" - i.e those that are walking up a high street are more than likely there with the intent to buy (otherwise why would they be there?).
But there is no High Street on the web other that shopping portals such as Amazon (which is more semantic than social).
Until that point of purchase consumers are being influenced by those that have a passion for a particular product and report on it, which in turn influences the 74% that are in question.
This is not wholly new information. Word of mouth has always been the preferred method of recommendation as it involves trusting the person who has made the endorsement. However, the web delivers constant relevance, therefore, dictating it to be more important than traditional methods/channels. As such, a business approach has to be less about selling and more about adopting a sharing attitude and creating customer experiences that will, in turn, influence buying decisions indirectly.
Question: Are you one of the 1/5 of the population that are considered influential enough to get through to the 74% of consumers that want to know about your product?
If not, then your web method needs adjusting. The social web can be mapped and can be influenced, and is not the whole domain of social media.