Engaging CultureStrategy & Marketing

Does Social Media Influence Translate into $$?

The short answer is “not yet” – but the democratization of media is definitely moving forward.  In a recent conversation with a major movie marketer, he told me that although one of his recent studio projects had 3 million Facebook fans, the movie did dismal box office business.

On the other hand, we’re seeing more and more bloggers and social media mavens snagging big bucks in exchange for Twittering and Facebooking about products and projects.  A 28 year old from Toronto named Casie Stewart earned a free flight to New Zealand based on her manic blogging.  Other social media users are being rewarded with weekends in Vegas and other resort cities for pushing products or causes.

Apps like Klout, PeerIndex, and Twitalizer try to rate social media “influence” based on numbers and connections of followers.  And companies are scanning these results to find people who can help them share their story.  At Cooke Media Group, we’ve been doing some fascinating projects creating live online webcasts for clients, and mobilizing social media followers to important causes.

But does it directly translate to financial success?  There’s not a lot of support for that hope, although these and other examples show me two things:

1.  Significant numbers of people can become engaged in online conversations about products, people, and issues, which can spawn new ideas, trends, and even movements.

2.  Anyone can now become an influencer.  Blog, Twitter, or update your Facebook status enough – with interesting and focused content – and you’ll start to create a following.

What you do with that following is up to you…

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  1. I’ve found this to be true. I’m a top 1000 book reviewer on Amazon in the US and top 100 in Canada. I do it as a hobby and as I’m an avid reader anyway, it ties into my passion. I seem to attract a following on face-book based on writing in other areas, and it’s a satisdying feeling when genuine connections and friendships begin to develop.

    Has it translated into impact outside of the immediate environment? Yes and No. It makes me an “interesting person” when I submit a resume or proposal and even though it’s usually not a prominant part of how I present myself, it often comes up when people follow-up with me, making me think that it may be the “tipping point” for them in terms of setting me apart from some others. I get publishers and authors wanting to send me free product and books. Amazon does that regularly too, but those are perks, not livable income.

    I dream of tying together those networks that are building now even though I don’t know how that might happen right now. I think maybe I should be writing some books instead of just reviewing them and if and when I do, I have some built in credibility and networking in place that might open a door quicker than sending in, unsolicited offers. Maybe not though. As you say, there’s no direct connection unless I’m working what there is and even then, there are no guarantees.

  2. Integration, timing, alignment and messaging of multiple channels including social media campaigns results in an agragated bottom line for a total ROI, Social is only one part of the mix and depending on the target audience, it can play a much larger roll in reaching specific demos and potential for profitability. Although the jury is still out on if Social can be profitable on its own…it feels a bit like fuzzy math, but think big picture and it still works together across platforms to measure overall total income and message impact.

  3. I heard an interesting thing from web maven Nathan Tabor recently:

    “Behold, a social media fundraiser went online to sow the word about his organization. And it happened that as he sowed, some messages went to accounts that hadn’t been accessed in several months, and the full inboxes devoured them.

    Some messages went to those who only carried about the latest online craze or what their friends were having for breakfast, and they were promptly deleted. Other messages went to bots and hackers, and those automatically replied with ads for the latest pharmaceuticals.

    But some messages were received by audiences who were interested, and those yielded a long and healthy relationship, growing followers, donors and referrals: a crop returning thirtyfold, sixtyfold, or even a hundred times what was sown.”

    Learn more at http://www.teninternetcommandments.com/

  4. Don’t underestimate the tme and effort it takes to become an expert. It takes time. The key is consistent communication across multiple social media platforms.

    In other news, I am now an expert in Seatback Tray Tables.

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