Influencer Insights: The Evolution of Word of Mouth

influence insights

 

Yesterday I attended Mom Central Consulting‘s Influencer Insights breakfast and was not disappointed. Let me set the stage. The panel was hosted in beautiful downtown Boston at Blu Restaurant. A delicious breakfast was served to a room full of smart women from great companies who were there to tackle some tricky questions: What is the state of influencer programs today? What trends should we focus on for our businesses, where are influencers moving, and how should we engage with them?

 

If I came away with one major takeaway, it’s that word of mouth is still incredibly powerful – it’s just evolved. Now that we have smartphones and social media, we have 24/7 access to information and can ask questions with a few taps of the finger.

 

According to Karyn Martin, panelist and EVP of PR at 451 Marketing, the paradigm shift has already happened – agencies have gotten past having to convince companies that influencer (namely blogger) relations are important. And this shift is one of necessity: 91% of Moms trust bloggers’ content when seeking product info online and 76% of moms have sought out blogs to learn more about a product appearing in traditional media (via Mom Central).

 

As a result, Mom bloggers have a lot of sway with consumer brands. “We’ve changed our marketing messaging for 2014 based on blogger feedback,” said Sarah Barow of HP Hood (client). “It’s that powerful.”

 

So, how does a brand get in good with these mighty influencers? “As a blogger, the make or break for working with a brand is that they have a relationship with their consumers,” said Melissa Pezza of the Mommyhood Chronicles. Bloggers want authenticity and reliability from brands.

 

So the message is clear – consumers trust bloggers. Got it. But, what should marketers focus on moving forward?

 

“This,” said Karyn holding up her iPhone. “You have to optimize your content for the mobile device, that’s where our audience lives 24/7.” And influencers have responded, putting their messages on popular visual platforms. “Pinterest and Instagram make sense for brands,” Karyn continued. “We’re visual learners, we’re visual shoppers. Brands have to portray a lifestyle, and they have to do it succinctly.”

 

And this means publicists have to evolve right along with the brands they represent. “We have to change the way we pitch,” Karyn continued. “We have to package content for media and make sure it’s shareable.”

 

Share your influencer insights with us – what changes have you seen? Tweet us @451heat.

Halley Sheffield

Halley Sheffield is the Director of Marketing at 451 Marketing @halleyalice

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