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DESCRIPTIONAs social media evolves, a new breed of influencers has arisen with power to spread new ideas and products through their online connections. The purpose of this study is to explore how Diffusion of Innovations is being used in social media marketing, revealing the ways that the DOI concepts are being used in new ways to market companies more effectively.
- 1. Sunshine J. Baker University of Central Florida April 23, 2014
- 2. As social media evolves, a new breed of influencers has arisen with power to spread new ideas and products through their online connections. The purpose of this study is to explore how Diffusion of Innovations is being used in social media marketing, revealing the ways that the DOI concepts are being used in new ways to market companies more effectively.
- 3. DOI states that the adoption of a new product or technology is a predictable process that progresses through different stages over time The visible links between people means that social media platforms are perceived as a highly suited environment for network-based marketing: word-of-mouth marketing, diffusion of innovation, or buzz and viral marketing all aim to take advantage of the relationships between users to facilitate the spread of awareness or adoption (Rogers, Chapman, & Giotsas, 2012, p. 97). Friendships and other relationships are more visible on social media, making it easier to see how ideas and products spread throughout networks.
- 4. Electronic Word Of Mouth (eWOM) is an application of DOI that involves online reviews of items or experiences. In the context of social media like Facebook and Twitter, eWOM is often referred to as Viral Marketing. One study showed that over half of the time, people took action based on the SNS referrals of people in their networks. The Nielsen Global Trust Survey (2012) revealed that 70% of consumers trust other consumer opinions posted online, and 92% trust recommendations from people they know.
- 5. Influencer marketing online involves brands identifying and targeting people with large social media and blog audiences to spread the news about their products.
- 6. One goal of influencer marketing is to increase Facebook Likes for a company Page Facebook as a company has specifically studied Diffusion of Innovations as it applies to posts in the newsfeed. Their study discovered that when items shared by a Facebook friend appeared in a subjects newsfeed, they are several times more likely to be shared with others.
- 7. As with other forms of DOI, selection of Influencers is vitally important in online influencer marketing. In DOI terms, influencers can be either Opinion Leaders or Change Agents, depending on whether they originate inside or outside a community
- 8. Tie Strength is an attribute of interpersonal relationships made of up a combination of the amount of time, the emotional intensity, the intimacy (mutual confiding) and the reciprocal services which characterize the tie (Granovetter, 1973, p. 1361). Users were more likely to influence those within their networks with whom they shared strong tie strength They found that strong ties were more likely to result in generating awareness in a group, but that weak ties are also useful in spreading information between separate clusters of people.
- 9. Homophily is extremely important in influencer marketing, and several studies have found it to be one of the strongest determinants of whether a consumer would read and act upon a recommendation. Participants in SNSs are likely to experience homophily because they have shared experiences that resemble those usually realized by the traditional collection of special interest people in close proximity (Chatterjee, 2011, p. 84). Homophily is most important in the early stages, because people are far more likely to open an email or read a Facebook post from someone they know, trust, and feel similar to.
- 10. As Mark Schaefer, author of Return on Influence, notes, You cant just send these people a t-shirt, it has to be something that will make people get on the internet and say, Youll never believe what Ive just received! (Bell, 2012, p. 35). Katona et al.(2011) modeled the process of adoption over a social network, finding that the more of an individuals network members had adopted an innovation, the more likely they were to adopt.
- 11. DOI is a useful framework for understanding the relatively new phenomenon of influencer marketing through online channels. DOIs unique focus on social systems and relationships pairs well with the existing networks that exist in social media networks online. As influencer marketing grows and changes, it is important to go back to the source of the model, DOI, to learn how these types of efforts have been successful over time.
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