social media researchAre you wondering how to influence potential customers and prospects?

The latest findings from Technorati’s 2013 Digital Influence Report show that “consumers are turning to blogs when looking to make a purchase.”

In fact, blogs rank favorably with consumers for trust, popularity and even influence.

Here are some interesting findings from the Technorati report.

#1: Blogs Influence Consumers’ Purchasing Decisions

The report found that blogs are now the third most influential digital resource (31%) when making overall purchases, behind retail sites (56%) and brand sites (34%).

Consumers said that blogs rank higher than Twitter for shaping their opinions and higher than Facebook for motivating purchasing decisions.

online services high in influence

Consumers consider blogs to be trusted sources of information.

Why are blogs so influential? Bloggers tend to be very honest and sincere in their reviews of products and services. They talk about both negative and positive aspects of a brand, and in doing so become a trusted source of information. Trust drives action, and thus consumers look to bloggers before they buy.

You may have heard that recently Robert Scoble (a very influential blogger in the tech industry) announced he was switching to Android because “Apple has slipped.”

Robert has a ton of clout in the tech world, so it’ll be interesting to see how consumers (and techies in particular) respond to his moves.

#2: Consumers Say Smaller Communities Are More Influential

Over half of consumers surveyed agreed that smaller communities have greater influence on a topic than larger ones.

The real value of online communities comes from discussing ideas, sharing information and learning from one another. Rarely does value come from the size of a community.

pr community size

Most consumers agree that smaller communities have greater influence.

Consumers understand this. But brands often get hung up on acquiring massive communities, sometimes at the expense of user experience.

In fact, brand marketers often pursue popular A-list bloggers to advocate on their behalf, hoping this strategy will help a message go viral and explode the size of their community.

The problem is that while a message blasted by a popular blogger might reach the masses, it doesn’t always produce the desired result. That’s because trust drives action, and popularity doesn’t necessarily translate into trust. It may even be more effective to pursue a less popular blogger who has earned the trust of and subsequent influence over his or her own small community.

If you want to become more influential with your online community, focus on providing value, building strong relationships (with your followers and other trusted bloggers) and offering great content.

#3: Brands Rely More on Facebook to Influence Consumers

Even though brands are devoting only 10% of their total digital marketing budgets to social media, Facebook is clearly the preferred platform, taking 57% of the slice.

Facebook is where the world hangs out and brand marketers know how important it is to be successful on this platform. In fact, the report shows that when metrics from earned media goals for brands were ranked, Facebook likes were at the top.

pr social budget breakdown

Brands are increasingly looking to Facebook to influence consumers.

This means that brands aren’t just focusing on Facebook ads. They are also interested in seeing increased activity on their Facebook Pages so much that conversation and engagement strategies have become vital for consumer outreach. The key to influencing consumers on Facebook is sharing content that generates interaction (likes and comments) and draws in more fans.

#4: Top Social Media Influencers Blog for Themselves

According to the survey, 86% of influencers blog. Of these, 88% blog for themselves. Moreover, a majority of influencers (59%) don’t produce much content outside of blogs.

pr primary publishing tool

Influencers are more committed to blogs than other digital platforms.

We’ve seen that trust is the currency of influence and that consumers are looking for “trusted digital friends” to give them advice on what to buy and where to go. That’s why bloggers who offer such advice are influential—because consumers trust their guidance.

If you want to grow your influence, the key is to become a trusted source of information in your industry. Provide compelling content on your blog and then amplify it through social media. People will listen and you will become their go-to resource for specific advice.

#5: Brands and Influencers Measure Success Differently

When it comes to gauging the success of their campaigns, brands and influencers think differently. Brands see success as increased activity on Facebook, Twitter and their websites, while influencers rank blog or website page views as the best measure of success.

pr success for influencers

Influencers regard page views as the best measure of success.

The reason why influencers focus so much on their blogs is because their priority is to deliver prospects to a site where that trust factor can begin to be tapped. For them, success is measured by the number of people reading their content.

You too can build trust by publishing high-quality educational content on your blog and providing calls to action that lead people to a purchase opportunity.

#6: Brands and Influencers Have a Different Understanding of Influence

Brands are always looking for the “right people” to connect with on social media. They believe that effective influencer outreach can help spark valuable word-of-mouth campaigns that increase brand visibility and ultimately drive consumer action.

Personally I doubt that I’ll reach for a Snickers bar every time I get hungry just because Aretha Franklin or Liza Minnelli are advocates for the brand.

The problem is how brands define influence. The Technorati report says that brands are using comScore or Nielsen rankings to identify influencers, yet these metrics do not represent influencers very well. Meanwhile “real” influencers (those people whom consumers trust and rely upon for advice) are hanging out mostly on their own blogs creating tons of content.

If you’re a brand marketer trying to connect with influencers, remember that having a large social media following doesn’t give you influence, it simply gives you an audience. Try looking for influencers who have very close ties to their communities, or bloggers who are relevant to your brand even if they don’t have worldwide fame.

Some great places to look include Google+ Communities and Boardreader (a search engine for online forums and community boards).

Quick Wrap Up

The biggest takeaway from the Technorati report is that blogging cultivates community, which is where influence is birthed.

Also there’s a lot we can learn from top influencers, such as what kind of content to publish, how top bloggers make money and much more.

So be sure to check out the full report to get deeper insights into developing strong digital marketing strategies.

Your Turn: What do you think? What insights revealed in this article did you find most interesting? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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  • This post rocks Patricia! I need to start a blog! 😉 What do you think would be a great blog concept for a podcaster like me who interviews Entrepreneurs with the intention of sharing their journey and inspiring millions? It may seems redundant if my blog contains the same content as Entrepreneur On Fire, but I also do not want to stray too far away from the entrepreneurial concept of my podcast. Will blogging about the brands that this entrepreneurs own or endorse do the trick? I would love to know what you think! Thanks in advance!

    Let’s rock this Wednesday everyone!

    ~John Lee Dumas

  • Hi, John! I was listening to your podcast with Tim Ferriss yesterday. Great stuff!

    Blogging about the endorsements is a good idea, but I was thinking that you could make it a bit more personal while still remaining under that entrepreneur umbrella. For example, pretend we’re talking about Tim’s 4-Hour Chef. You can talk about your own personal thoughts on what led and inspired him to push the book through the channels that he did and what it must have taken him to do it successfully.

    I mean if you do that, the endorsements are getting enough exposure but it’s not all about trying to promote them. It’s more honest and personal. You’re talking about their product, but you’re also blogging more about the man behind-the-scenes that brought that product to fruition.

  • Sarah Bauer

    Some unexpected insights here, Patricia! Thanks for the mid-week wake up call. I’m particularly surprised by the reports’ findings that smaller blog communities have a greater influence on consumers than large ones. I might otherwise assume that users would perceive large blog communities as more powerful authorities on certain topics, and therefore, more trustworthy. Not the case, clearly. We want to know the people behind the information, and feel part of a valued reader/blogger relationship, to trust the source.
    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

  • Hi John, I agree this is a very insightful post. The whole report shares a lot of valuable statistics for both digital marketers and brands alike.

    As a follow up to your question about a new blog concept for you I starting to think about this for awhile and kept coming back to the same idea of you blogging about the “behind the scenes of ‘Entrepreneur On Fire'”. I can only imagine the energy and excitement you feel on a daily basis when preparing for these interviews, and most of all what important tips that you yourself must take away, right? Perhaps you could share some of that positive energy and motivation that you experience with us?

  • This is a brilliant article with amazing insights on that issue. Thanks for writing it and sharing it with us, Patricia.

  • predsicker

    You’re welcome Michal – thanks for reading.

  • predsicker

    Absolutely Sarah – I thought that was a surprising find as well. But the other thing that crossed my mind about small communities (apart from the ability to connect personally and build relationships with others) is the idea of exclusivity. Sometimes people might feel that a small community caters to the exclusive interests of few, rather than many and there could be perceived value in that. Just my 2 cents. Anyway thanks for reading Sarah!

  • predsicker

    Hi John,
    Here’s the thing. There are many people (like me) who don’t listen to podcasts. Just can’t fit it into my life/schedule. But I do love to read, especially articles that are scannable and a fast read. So having a blog ‘with similar content’ as the Podcast is not always redundant because you will reach people who don’t care for the podcast format. You can focus on the high value tips from your entrepreneur-guest and publish those in your blog. For example I love reading anything from/about Richard Branson over at Forbes or Entrepreneur. But I just couldn’t sit through a podcast even if Richard Branson were the guest. Again, I speak for myself but I’m sure there are others out there of similar persuasion. Thanks for your thought-provoking discussion – see you soon John 😉

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  • Brilliant post Patricia!!!! So good to read a blog that I feel is so spot on 100% with each point. Thanks! Keep em commin’! We love to hear this all the way from South Africa! Same wavelength phew!

  • predsicker

    Great idea Frances – I like what you say about sharing that positive energy and motivation (which many entrepreneurs lack at some point or other). Motivational conversations are particularly useful to entrepreneurs who have to deal with so much stuff when running their business. Thanks for your contribution Frances.

  • Thanks for this post Patricia. I thought impact came from “old fashioned” blogging and smaller communities. The research confirms that. Perhaps more people will be inspired to start (or continue) blogging without worrying that their audience is small. Quality improves with practice. Consistency helps build trust.

    Podcasting has a place but listening takes far longer than reading. I record my Riscario Insider blog posts as podcasts (200+ episodes). This helps keep the writing conversational and gives the audience the choice of format.

  • Sarah Bauer

    That’s a solid point, Patricia! The appeal of subreddits as tight-knit user communities built on very niche interests and “exclusive” knowledge comes to mind here. It’s a bit outside the blog landscape, but still relevant.

  • Petter Kolseth

    Good insights and reasonable conclusions. The odd thing is that I count blogs as being part of our social networks. As goes for YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and of course Twitter. I most certainly missed some of them, but he thing is – they are MANY. And every channel counts. Don’t they?

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  • Great article! What tips do you have for a company or brand putting out its own blog? My company currently has a blog but I would like to take it to the next level and hopefully get some sales out of it as well.

  • Jim Devitt

    Great stuff, Patricia.
    Great content to show my clients who don’t want to include a blog in their overall plan. Thanks for sharing.

  • Guest

    I found this article valuable; however, I’m still completely in the dark as to what to blog about. I’m still mesmerized and a tad overwhelmed by social media, generally. I simply cannot figure out how to convert what I do as a legal research and writer into something to blog about. I have other social media outlets (Twitter and Facebook) and don’t know how to convert what I do into conversations or marketing pieces with those either. Any help/insights/comments/suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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  • For sure check out the articles here on blogging: Also check out our blogging club at

  • Great re-cap of Technorati information! One note here, though, is that Facebook is only 1.3% behind blogs as the purchasing influencer on the list, so the title of this article is a bit misleading – particularly considering the source of the data. Is 1.3% really a material lead?Technorati reach skews towards bloggers/blog readers specifically, so… well, there’s that.

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  • predsicker

    Thanks for reading Paula.

  • Awesome and insightful article! So true about how Brands often will look into the wrong places, people or “influencers” to disseminate their information. They’re just now beginning to “get it” and it’s articles like yours above that help define the who the relevant consumer influencers really are. My question is a little more specific in how a blog benefits from video. Now that so many people are on the go and using mobile to research and surf the web. Do you see traditional blogs changing to include more video content, further tapping into that trust factor? Thanks so much!

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  • Hello, I just started to learn about how to start a blog. I’m still at the beginner stages and I’m working toward a motivational/online money making possibilities. Doing my research on things to promote that really works. Can you please give me some ideas on other things to add on my blog.

  • Oisin O’Connor

    Great Post!! Makes total sense especially as Social Networks become more noise than signal.

  • Robs Con

    As a blogger I truly do write from the heart and look to other bloggers for their views on various fitness products such as new running shoes or sports nutrition (I am a fitness blogger). Thanks for a well researched and topical article.

  • Very insightful article. I find it amusing that consumers get the point behind small communities while some brands do not. At my company, we sell software to help other companies manage their advocate community. Many of these communities are relatively small but they pack a powerful punch. Importantly, they are people who have earned the trust of their peers and being advocates is by definition equal to being a super fan. We are seeing a lot of exciting developing in the area of advocate marketing!

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  • Stephen

    NAILED IT!! I had just begun to preach a need for self marketers, like those found on social media, to create blogs, as opposed to simply relying on social media. This piece came right on time!!

  • Stephen C Hogan

    Hey, when you do create your blog, I would love to follow, and have my readers follow as well. We are in the same area when it comes to expressing the entrepreneurial, and what lies behind it.

  • Would you scan through a transcript of the interview?

  • I totally agree with this article but having been in this space for over 6 years, more and more bloggers are closing shop since it is really hard to be profitable as a blogger. Brands come knocking and expect content for free by dangling a giveaway or free item for bloggers to review. It gets old really fast but the patterns doesn’t change despite the rise in bloggers’ influences. Brands need to start valuing bloggers and their influence. I love that you mentioned the power of the small community. Bigger isn’t always better.

  • Zeta

    I think what consumers need is independent, trustworthy advice. If bloggers created a social network of blogging then perhaps that would be even more influential. Advertising is still valid for brand awareness

  • Peter Apel

    Excellent job, Pat, thanks a lot.
    Trustworthyness is one of the most important dimensions of marketing success. The survey and your article brought impressive evidence to that. I was wondering where all this energy for all these idealistic and intrinsic motivated articles and shares and posts that come in tons daily originally derives from. Where did this energy go before there were blogs? Do we live in a sharing-phase right now or will this engagement and even altruism stay for good?
    Personally I believe this ranking will change over the years, the faster the more marketers realize and understand the influential power of independent bloggers. We’ll see. Thanks again, Peter

  • Vernon Louw

    Thanks for a great article. I do not have a blog, but I read a LOT of blogs and they certainly have a great influence on me, but from a consumer’s point of view, I do have few thoughts. For me a blog should be trustworthy, of high quality, well-written (some humour helps) and not too long. The more focused a blog is and in line with what I am interested in, the more likely it is that I will become a regular reader and follower of that blog. Social media examiner is a case in point. In some cases, I literally read every blog that a particular blogger writes. There is so much out there, that one quickly stops reading if someone becomes repetitive, dragging on about things that everyone else is saying already. Niches are growing larger and larger as search engines get better at guiding us to the exact place we want to be without dropping us in the deep water and letting us swim to the island shore by slogging through irrelevant information. What to blog about, John? I would say something that you know a lot about and that you are passionate about. Passion will make you read, study, think and share high quality information. It will also increase the likelihood that you have the breadth and depth to provide high quality insights and ensure that you will verify your facts. If you don’t, you lose the discerning and influential readers immediately.

  • Really interesting research, thanks! It’s good to know making the effort to provide decent content makes a difference.

  • I fully agree with this survey, as I personally too research online first and generally lot of blogs come up with reviews. So you can say it’s blog which make out mind for our purchase.

  • Hi Patricia,

    Thanks for the thought provoking answer. Many EntrepreneurOnFire listeners do claim that the only time they have for podcasts are while they are exercising, and otherwise stuck in front of a cpu where reading makes more sense. I do have a show notes page, where I should probably look at taking it to the next level and really form a more comprehensive rendering of the interview. Great stuff!

  • Love this idea Vincent…and thanks for the kind words and for listening!

  • Wonderful Stephen, I am definitely going to make this happen! Thanks for this insight 🙂

  • Frances,

    You are really getting my creative juices flowing…this is exciting stuff and definitely needs to happen. There is so much behind the scenes at EntrepreneurOnFire that I would love to share…

  • Sam


    Does the research focus on B2C or B2B?

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  • Fantastic news for bloggers huh. I can see why this is so powerful today. It’s all about engaging the readers, and in my opinion it is much easier to do that via blogging than via social media interactions. Thanks for sharing this article Patricia!

  • Sure thing! You can send the royalty checks over 😉

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  • In fairness, the Technorati Digital Influencer Report replaces the annual State of the Blogosphere Report, so it’s very skewed towards blogs and bloggers. It also carries forward the premise that social influence is led by perceived influencers based on algorithms that may or may not be highlighting the right people.

    Meanwhile, the true influencers are the ones that wouldn’t have even completed this survey, nor will they be getting measured by algorithms looking for influential people based on these same algorithms.

    Influence marketing as we know it is about to change, with real actionable data helping brands beyond the current model. It won’t just be restricted to blogs, although they are most certainly key.

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  • That really struck me, too! I was surprised to think about the value in community exclusivity like brand exclusivity.

  • Great read!! As a blogger it makes me happy to see we’re becoming more and more influential! It’s not surprising tho, so many people give much consideration to reviews and review sites, this just seems like the next logical step.

  • Wine Julia

    An absolutely outstanding post, and one that certainly puts a smile on this bloggers face! Cheers! – Julia

  • John, I think a blog about your guests would be fantastic. It’ll serve many purposes from increasing your own audience to providing an additional incentive for your guests to be on your show. Blog readers and podcast listeners aren’t necessarily a duplicated audience, I know I never listen to podcasts but I do read a ton of blogs and would tune in if I read about something that interests me. I think you should do it!!

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  • Patricia ~ awesome post! Love your insight and summarization of Technorati’s report. Very useful and helpful information.

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  • donnalehman

    Agree with Danny. Interesting data points from Technorati, but need to be placed in context. Thanks for adding.

  • Scott

    Do you think that self written blogs by smaller companies on their general market with the odd one about their product has a strong influencing effect or is it if other people blog about your services that has the most sway?

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  • Trang Nguyen

    Thank you Patricia for your great blog! I just wonder a little bit whether this trend applies to B2B also? And what do you think the content of the blog should have in order to increase trust and influence on customers?

  • predsicker

    Good point Danny! Yes the report is obviously skewed towards bloggers. I agree with your ideas about who true influencers are (I think I mentioned something about that in the article). But for sure they’re not the folks who are being measured by comScore and Nielsen.

  • predsicker

    Hi Sam, the report does not specify whether brand marketers surveyed are B2C or B2B. My assumption is both.

  • predsicker

    You’re welcome Felipe.

  • predsicker

    Thanks so much for reading Nitsa.

  • predsicker

    Thank you for your kind comments Julia!

  • predsicker

    Thank you Sarah – glad you found the information helpful.

  • predsicker

    Hi Scott, the report says that influencers spend most time blogging for themselves. That tells me that regardless of the size of your company you should be blogging for yourself, solving relevant problems and talking about things that are important to your community.

  • predsicker

    Hi Trang,
    I thing whether B2B or B2C all readers are people with problems. A blog in either category should seek to provide highly relevant and helpful content that solves the problems and challenges of their readers (whoever they may be). That seems to be the way to increase trust and influence.

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  • DMAssociates

    Patricia, I have a question about blogs and visual content vs podcast and downloadable audio. Isn’t aural friendlier than visual because sound is portable vs a screen that prevents you from doing anything else?

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  • Thanks for confirming what I always preach: that a blog is the centerpiece of any company’s social media efforts. You own your blog. The content is unfiltered by third parties, and you have the space to develop your points of view and authority on your subject matter expertise. This study makes my heart sing!

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  • I was thinking the same thing. You can develop a strong influence with a community on Facebook.

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  • Alexandra Coroian

    Almost never better, I would say. Brands will start looking for blog attention again when the huge communities won’t do the work anymore. It’s all going that way

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  • Great great article, love the links, too. The thought about how a big network gives you no more than audience and trust is a different chapter is very helpful.

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  • Great observation Leslie. So the best way to approach this is to have your blog posts integrated with your Facebook, right?

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  • BobMacKie

    Excellent analysis. We deal with online communities for associations and I found your comments about honesty/sincerity/trustworthiness and the effect of smaller communities are just what we are finding in that space.

    Technorati did their survey for consumer purchases so it is no wonder that blog sites outrank Facebook et al for influence in purchasing decisions because they are honest opinions, not advertising. Honesty and sincerity create influence in any group; be it friends, family or online association communities. Trust and respect are crucial to networking and reputation building.

    “Consumers Say Smaller Communities Are More Influential.” This confirms what I have been telling potential association customers. Association members in particular recognize that “The real value of online communities comes from discussing ideas, sharing information and learning from one another. Rarely does value come from the size of a community.” Bang on.

  • listen little man

    Facebook is actually only .3% behind, not 1.3%. So even less significant.

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  • Leah Van Rooy

    Great article! A question rolling around in my head is which would be more influential for company blogs — a blog written “as the brand” or a blog written by their employees? It seems as though having employees blog for you under their own identity while staying within the brands image would be able to reach a broader audience — the brands audience and the employee’s following.

    -Leah Van Rooy, Blue Door Consulting


    just a couple of clarifications based on my pov (I run my Fashion blog and my FB page):

    1 -Blog and FB have different targets (e.g. FB is more visual, people wanna see pics at least in fashion)

    2 – dont agree that FB Likes are the key criteria to judge the brand engagement. The ” Talking about this” is much more important. Quality vs Quantity

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  • Right but the point is moot isn’t it? The reality for the marketer is that this isn’t an ‘either/or’ discussion. There is no content you would ever deploy to your FB page that you wouldn’t also deploy to your blog. Blogging is the hub of Content marketing…the main leg of the three legged stool (SEO, Social & Email) They are all critical to prospect & customer relationships.

  • Great post Patricia!

    Just goes to show that us bloggers have a big impact on the world. I honestly thought social sites like Facebook & Google+ would have ranked higher though. If businesses (both local and big corporations) can incorporate a blog into their marketing strategy, it could have a lasting impact.

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  • Willy Wortel

    I cant imagine facebook is more influential than forums for shaping opinions.

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  • Connor Singerline

    That is incredible that blogs are now the third most influential digital resource (31%) when making overall purchases.

    Connor Singerline

  • Connor Singerline

    I think that statistic may be off because Facebook is a major influencer on consumer decision.

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  • Shannon Dooley

    Great insights on the value of blogging – companies often overlook this platform when entrenched by Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I guess I just personally struggle to grasp whether or not Facebook has as much power as people give it, especially in purchase decisions.

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  • Narah Valenska Smith

    Blogging is where it’s at… where it has been for quite some time. It’s starting to really THRIVE now though and will only grow even more. Thank you for this research, Patricia. I’m promoting you in my blog as someone who knows her stuff. 😉 Great day to all!

  • Jessica FM

    Blogs are more influential than Facebook or twitter because they provide the consumer with a level of personality, opinion, and can reach more people. Thoughts, ideas, and opinions are more easily explained and captivating through a blog post rather than a tweet or Facebook post. Also blogs tend to reach more people than both Facebook and Twitter.

    Jessica Fonseca-Moreira
    A.B. Freeman School of Business
    Tulane University

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  • Cool Places to Live

    Thank you Patricia, this was very helpful information. I have a start-up business that locates rentals in greater downtown Detroit, MI. based on the criteria that is given to me. I will either provide them with a list of places, or I will physically go out and look for a cool place for them to live (I know that was a shameless plug). I have a facebook page, but it’s hard to offer up information, because that’s what I charge my clients for; information that I have regarding available places. How do I engage them and get them to respond without compromising my business?

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  • Chase

    I argue that Instagram’s percentage is higher for influencing purchase decisions because of the amount of smaller independent clothing brands that utilize the platform to showcase their inventory. Due to the over saturation of “everyone can start their own online boutique” I believe Instagram has a great deal of influence.

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  • Victoria Krivonos

    Hi, not sure if this point has already been mentioned but are the stats referring to a mainly US based audience or incl UK, Europe or worldwide?

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  • Sharon Jarrett

    This blog was right on time!!! Thanks Patricia…

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  • Deborah

    Hi, I am Writing my Dissertation on the Influence of Bloggers and Vloggers..I was wondering if you could help.