Moms Love their Smartphones: Study shows mobile is now mainstream
Reality bit me

Ladies - it's official - YOU are Influential!

Emily-cherry-on-top If you blog, if you do product reviews or offer an opinion on your blog, Twitter or Facebook, your friends and network connections are listening. Not only are they listening, they're taking your words to heart.

Blogher, the women's online blog network, did a 2011 Social Media Matters study and discovered that women trust their blogger friends more than they trust the celebrities pocketing millions to promote products. Well, it's only natural! Even if a brand if offering *F*R*E*E* stuff, it's a small payment compared to what the Kim Kardashians of the world get to 'mention' the make-up they use. Even a payment from an ad network is far less to bloggers than payment to TV or movie stars pitching...paper towels.

Let's face it - we all want to make money at what we do. I do sponsored posts now and then. I don't write about any product I wouldn't use. Or haven't used. I do book reviews occasionally and yes, I get those for free. Would I turn down a million dollars to promote, oh, say... the latest fashion from Sarah Jessica Parker? Probably not - but, I'd openly SAY - I don't care for her or her stuff. (so they likely wouldn't give me the million dollars, darn it!)

Here's the scoop - according to this article on the Fox News site (not a place I visit very often), "...personal branding and marketing guru Dan Schawbel said it simply comes to the fact that the average American can't identify with Tinseltown types."

He's further quoted in the article saying, "Corporations who are trying to target a specific market shouldSmiley-writing  invest in several blogs that cater to that market. It's a cheaper, more effective and measurable way of advertising."

Elisa Camahort Page, co-founder and COO of Blogher is also quoted. Here's what she said, "There is a definite trend we've seen where people trust th eopinion of a regular person, we trust any person force more than any corporate force when it comes to getting advice and recommendations."

Interestingly, however, the latest Trust Barometer from Edelman, says we trust "people like yourself" LESS than we have in the past. From 2009 to 2011, the trust barometer went from 46% in favor of people like us, to 43% trusting people like us. They show a 70% response to trusting "an academic or expert."

Ok...that makes sense. If I'm looking for health information, key industry information, knowledge on finances or nutrition or any number of topics, I do want an 'expert' opinion. Here's the glitch in Edelman's report - IMBO - we women appreciate input from the Dr. Oz's of the world and from key resources like Katie Couric or Diane Sawyer, but after they tell us what they feel is right or truthful, we go right back to our gal pals, and ask them.

You're probably one. I'm one. My daughter is one. My granddaughter, even at the tender age of 13, is one. I want to hear the nitty-gritty from women I know. I value other women's opinions. If you do a product review on a camera, I'm listening more closely to you than to the blogger over at TechCrunch, although I'll listen to him or her, also.

In the end, it's about personal relationships that grow as you get to know the blogger better. It's about women knowing their friends will always be honest with them. It's about being able to have that conversation - not something you can do with Ellen DeGeneres or Rachael Ray or Oprah. We value them because they at least try to relate to us. But, in the end, they're celebrities. They get paid more in one day than we'll make in a lifetime. When they promote products, they're depositing big chuncks of cash in their bank account... when we promote products, we're probably receiving enough to go to the store or the vet or the daycare center...and then, it's gone.

Here's the big question: when do bloggers stop being trusted 'friends' and turn into celebrities? How big do you have to be... how much cash does a brand have to throw at a blogger before her readers will begin to wonder if she's sold out? 

Comments

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baccarat

I prefer not produce but read, being a better writer and author in general I'm stuck to other's blogs

Kevin Warhus

Interesting article. I think that women have a very influential role in social media. Of all the active users I know online I would have to say that a large majority of them are women. I am excited to see how their roles continue to develop down the road.

Yvonne DiVita

Elisa, thanks for the clarification. All the more reason we ladies can feel good about trusting each other. I find it so interesting that corporations and major media continue to try and convince us they're in control - just look at these numbers, kind of stuff.

Truth is - WE, the people, have always been in control and have always trusted each other. Social media just makes all of our opinions and thoughts more important now - because they have a wider audience.

Thank goodness for Blogher's studies. They get to the heart of things... in my brazen opinion.

Elisa Camahort Page

Thanks for the post, Yvonne. The issue with the Edelman Trust Barometer is in the methodology. Our four years of annual studies have consistently shown that you use what you trust and trust what you use. Those who rely mostly on traditional media for their information and entertainment trust traditional media more than social media. those who use social media actively trust social media more than traditional media.

Edelman's trust barometer specifically surveys only people who meet this criteria:
"college-educated; household income in the top quartile for their age in their country; read or watch business/news media at least several times a week; follow public policy issues in the news at least several times a week." (Source: http://www.edelman.com/trust/2011/uploads/2011%20Trust%20Barometer%20Methodology.pdf)

So, it's not too surprising that they don't track against the mainstream audience who has become totally social media immersed (78% of online adults now use social media actively).

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