If you have been getting friendly with the likes of Klout Perks, Yelp and BzzAgent then you’ve likely noticed that there is some serious swag you can get your hands on these days (and I don’t just mean landing a job). But is this just internet’s way of saying “I Love You” or is there a less touching force at play?
BzzAgent describes their process as the chance to try “cool new products, share deals with friends and influence top brands.” But actually it’s your network that is being influence by your promotional efforts, not the brand. Facebook has made a pretty good business from your influence with their “Sponsored Stories” advertising program.
Your Facebook activity and corresponding influence is a hot commodity. But as most of us have heard at this point, if you’re not paying for the product then you are the product! And that is certainly true with the content you publish online.
Free is good, right?
Privacy issues aside, if you’re being rewarded with a free product or service then surely it’s you’re the one getting the most benefit out of the transaction, right? Sadly no. Peer recommendations are the most effective form of marketing*, far more effective than print, TV or online marketing. And harnessing peer recommendations, likes, pluses and shares on social sites is big business. Though the majority of marketing budgets are still being spent on TV and print, there is a noticeable shift towards platforms with social integration. Trust in traditional marketing has fallen so drastically in the last decade that it only a matter of time until marketers figured out what to replace it with. Ever notice how keen Starbucks is to give you access to free wifi while they’re “rewarding” you for being such a lovely customer?
I like giving reviews!
If you like giving your opinion but would like to maintain more control over your influence then stick to sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor where you have plenty of space to give your what for and the reviews can remain as anonymous as you would like.
*Ninety-two percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising (SOURCE: Nielson “Global Consumers’ Trust in ‘Earned’ Advertising Grows in Importance”
Image credit – www.bzzagent.co.uk/
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