Digital Influence with Arianna Huffington & Perez Hilton

January 15, 2010Sparxoo

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By Tara Lane, Staff Writer

Influencers can be found on nearly every medium — online, through mass media, and through face-to-face contact. The newest influencers in the digital space have been empowered by new digital tools and are strategizing ways to make an impact on digital society. As the internet continues to grow, more and more people are learning how to make a name for themselves and become influencers for their peer groups or industry niches. They’re doing something different and unique – and the world is listening and following their lead. While the internet has provided a platform for more equal opportunity at becoming an influencer, it is up to each person to study their space and learn how to use these tools to their maximum advantage.

Examples

Coca Cola — Coca Cola has really set the stage for corporate influencers. Their unique approach to connecting to customers and fans on Facebook, combined with their timeless and historic brand has kept them riding high despite a tough economy. Coca Cola has also set the curve for many corporations looking to branch out on Facebook and other social networks. The brand’s interactive and eye-catching Facebook fan page is one of, if not the best corporate fan page out there.

Emerging Stars —  Emerging stars such as Arianna Huffington and Perez Hilton – now household names – didn’t just shoot to fame over night. By carefully crafting their brands, promoting their web sites and building their knowledge of the digital space and all it has to offer, they’ve become the go-to sources for millions of people on a daily basis. They’ve become examples of what other start-ups dream of attaining, spurring an increase in the number of people starting blogs for both personal and professional reasons.

Stats

  • A JC Williams Group consumer survey found that 91 percent of respondents ranked consumer generated content as the number one aid to a buying decision.
  • 74 percent of customers said they are influenced by the opinions of others in their decision to buy a product.
  • Marketing Sherpa found in a survey that 87 percent of respondents would trust a friend’s recommendation of a product or service over a review by a critic, while 84 percent said they would trust user reviews over a critic.
  • Buzz Agent found that one word of mouth conversation has the impact of 200 TV ads.

Take Aways

Everyone has access to the tools to become influential. You don’t need a press pass or newspaper rag to have a voice. Through creativity and innovative thinking, anyone can be influential. Those with the most knowledge and better connections will inevitably be able to build a better network and become more influential in their market. By spending your time on those connections of best quality, you can gain even more from the time you invest, especially when it comes to building business connections.

We want to get on the right side of inequality. If there were complete equality, no one would want to stand out and be different. In order to get there, influencers need to bring something new, unique and different to the table and embrace the tools at their disposal. Being fully invested and always being a step ahead of trends and paying attention to established influencers is a great way to stay involved and learn how to build one’s network.

Predictions

  • Velvet-rope networks will require certain rankings to be accepted. Google Wave was an example of this – only those who had more digital influence were considered for early invites. Then, initiations were very limited – prompting their want even more.
  • Just as Myspace and YouTube have paved the way for a number of successful musicians, top bloggers and Tweeters will be approached by companies for partnership and sponsorship deals.
  • We’ll see a decline in traditional advertising as, despite the FCC disclosure regulations, companies will utilize the influence of others and continue to seek out bloggers and influential online faces to promote their brand and product on their personal Web sites.

Who’s On Trend

  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Mashable

Read all of the 2010 trends here.

Read all of the 2010 trends here. (PDF)

Image by Piotr Bizior from Stock.Xchng