Forget banner ads, billboards and the bevy of celebrities touting brands of every type. When it comes to influence, as in who people listen to when researching products and services, they turn to one source more than any other.
Check out the “wheel of influence” in this infographic from the influence marketing company Crowdtap.com. It’s not surprising, perhaps, that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, but when 7 out of 10 trust recommendations from people they don’t, it’s obvious that online reviews and opinions carry a lot of weight.
By comparison, not a single form of advertising broke the 50% mark.
The numbers take on even more significance in social media circles. Consider the data for Facebook and Twitter, which shows that even when people share content on the major social networks, few of their fans and followers actually access the content. In other words, a large number of followers is a poor indicator of influence.
What’s that mean for doctors? As Josh Catone of Mashable.com writes,
[It] means effective influencer marketing is about enabling customers to easily make peer recommendations to their networks of close friends, rather than helping widely followed people blast out marketing messages to thousands or millions of people.
Successful social media marketing isn’t about reaching as many people as possible. It’s about reaching the right people, i.e., those who are actively researching a product or service, those who are communicating with other like-minded consumers and those who are ready to connect with providers who can meet their needs.