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Social Influence Marketing is About to Change Your Business: Author of ‘Return On Influence’

GUEST AUTHOR BLOG: “How social influence marketing is about to change your business” by Mark W. Schaefer author of "Return On Influence: The Revolutionary Power of Klout, Social Scoring, and Influence Marketing."

Return On Influence by Mark W. Schaefer
Source: McGraw-Hill
Return On Influence by Mark W. Schaefer

We are on the cusp of a marketing revolution – and it’s beginning with you.

The latest trend is not being set by advertising executives, creative teams, or marketing wizards. It’s emerging from the powerful and passionate voices of consumers, and the companies that are finding and measuring their ability to create buzz.

“Influence” has been one of the most studied aspects of politics, marketing, sociology, and psychology and yet it has never really been measured in a statistically valid way. Until now.

People creating content on blogs, Facebook and Twitter is an action. Having a link clicked, or a message tweeted, is an effect. Finally, there is something to measure in this field. In fact there are billions of actions and effects to measure and compare every day!

In the online world, the ability to move an idea or opinion through an engaged online network creates influence. To the extent a company can measure content moving through this system, we would be able to quantify one sliver of influence.

And that is historically important. Influence has been democratized.

Some of the biggest and brightest marketers and brands like Disney , Audi, Starbucks , and Nike are incorporating social media influencers into their traditional marketing efforts. And this idea of unleashing the passion of customers and turning them into brand advocates is working. According to Klout, the leading company in this space, each influencer in one of their outreach programs generates an average of 30 pieces of content and millions of possible impressions.

"For the first time, companies large and small can find these passionate influencers, connect to them and turn them into brand advocates." -Author, "Return On Influence", Mark W. Schaefer

Essentially, this is creating an entirely new marketing channel to complement traditional methods. And it's cost-effective too. Early results from case studies show the cost per impression is as good, or better, than paid advertising and it is ORGANIC since it is being generated by people who already love the brands.

Although most of the activity right now from national brands, these capabilities are quickly moving down to a local level. The net effect is that we can now identify who is creating buzz about beer in Boston, or fashion in Philadelphia. Maybe the world authority on science fiction movies is a teen in Indiana or an elderly man in Portugal. For the first time, companies large and small can find these passionate influencers, connect to them and turn them into brand advocates.

Author Mark W. Schaefer writes about the social influence trend in his new book “Return On Influence: The Revolutionary Power of Klout, Social Scoring, and Influence Marketing.” You can find him on Twitter at @markwschaefer

Email me at bullishonbooks@cnbc.comAnd follow me on Twitter @BullishonBooks