A couple of years back I was on a social media course, during which the organiser highlighted that people who like a brand on Facebook are twice* as likely to buy from you as people who don’t. The conclusion, therefore, was to get more people liking you on Facebook. I always felt this confused the cause and effect. Instead I’ve since claimed (with absolutely no evidence to back it up) that surely someone who is willing to buy your product is more likely to like you on Facebook, and that adding likes won’t add sales.

The blog ranking site, Technorati, has announced its 2013 Digital Influence Report, which makes some very interesting reading for anyone in PR and marketing and nicely provides the evidence to back up my claim. The study quantifies the relationship between the major social marketing channels, drawing on responses from 6,000 influencers, 1,200 consumers, and 150 top brand marketers to determine the influence that various channels have on spending decisions.


Source: Technorati’s 2013 Digital Influence Report (pdf)

Instead, a second infographic shows that, once you’ve got the information on the retail sites (Digikey / RS / etc) and on your own websites right, blogs are one of the biggest online sources of information that will affect a purchasing decision.

PR online services high in influence

Source: Technorati’s 2013 Digital Influence Report (pdf)

The report looks at responses from all organisations, and there’s no breakdown of b2b vs b2c. My gut (once again, no proof whatsoever) thinks this would mostly be b2c. But, working in electronics PR, the findings are handy. Ignoring the fact that, Qualcomm and a small handful of other companies aside, very few chip manufacturers use social media well; our own, recent study of European engineers highlights that very few engineers use Facebook or Twitter. But they do read magazines, news sites and other authoritative sources to influence their designs.

This means things can be done well, and cost effectively – Technorati’s data show that just 6pc of a company’s social budget go on blogs, versus 57pc on Facebook and 13pc on Twitter. The process is simple, identify the 5-10 most influential blogs for your sector, read them, figure out what interests them and reach out to them with good information in the way they want.

And, as one final stat shows, niche is good. According to the survey 54pc of consumers agreed with the concept that that the smaller community, the more influential it is.

Back to where we began. If anyone tells you they can drive Klout score or raise your Facebook likes ask them how this helps your bank balance. If they point out that someone who likes your Facebook page is more likely to buy something, tell them they “gave that answer because the report was going in the bin” and see if they then understand cause and effect.

* OK, so I can’t remember the exact figure, it may have been 1.5x, it may have been 5x, for the purposes of this story it is now 2x.