This simple question is at the crux of social media – after all why should anyone bother spending their increasingly limited time and resources trying to influence what a blogger writes if what they say has no impact.

Which begs two more important questions…

  • Firstly is there any proof that a blog can influence behaviour (specifically where it counts for many firms – i.e. procurement)
  • And secondly, how do I identify which blogs have the power to influence?

Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group ran a survey to find out what people thought of his blog. Anecdotally, you may think that seeing as Jeremiah has a huge audience that regularly comments on his posts, it would presume that his blog does indeed influence. Unfortunately for me, firms do not commit budget to presumptions so research like this is fantastic.

These are some of the results:

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What can we learn from this?

  • Jeremiah’s blog influences action internally to a large degree
  • The correlation to actual buying is mostly equal for and against.

The fact that there is any link between the blog and procurement is a massive validation point. Obviously we are taking people’s words for this and it would be excellent to have credible evidence to back this up, but this in itself is a huge factoid.

They point that I keep trying to remember is that in the buying cycle, the people who are closest to the money have the greatest level of importance. Some argue that the media and analyst industry help to create buzz about a need or even a shortlist, but it is the (very few) people at the top that hold a significant amount of weight. This is why influencing these influencers is of paramount importance.

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To my second point regarding how do I indentify which blogs are important – there are tools (such as BlogLevel) but this is part of a greater theme that I cannot do justice in this post alone.

A few additional facts about the survey on the methodology:

  • Survey fielded through Web Strategy blog, using SurveyMonkey
  • Conducted from Nov 30 – Dec 12, 2009
  • 19 questions total – 15 multiple choice, 4 open-ended. Specific questions about Altimeter Group and contact info are not included in the attached sample data.
  • 195 respondents – 100% of data clean

There are several other points that this survey found that are interesting but not directly related to this post’s title. However, as I have often said:

be interested not interesting

…what Jeremiah as also found regarding technical know-how fascinates me. Taken with the caveat that the people who read what is on his blog have an interest in what he says, the market skew is not a representation of the world en masse. However, it is fascinating to find that both many firms social media and mobile strategy are in their infancy. I guess 2010 may see a change to that model.

image image I am sure that Jeremiah will publish his own take on this survey but my thanks to him for giving me an advance copy of the results to draw my own conclusions on.

Originally posted on Technoabble 2.0

by @jonnybentwood

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