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Jun 22

IN THE NEWS: Who is most influential on Facebook?

Photo Credit: Birgerking (flickr.com)

We all have those friends on Facebook who are constantly sending requests or invites to Facebook apps and games. No matter how many times we decline, they continue to bombard us with requests. So then we defriend them. Facebook is a place where some friendships go to die..

But this begs the question, who is most influential on Facebook? Who do we listen to the most and who do we ignore? Who’s most susceptible to influence on social media? Researchers at NYU’s business school conducted a study of influence on Facebook, which was recently published by the journal Science. The study tracked how successful people were in convincing others to use a Facebook app that allows users to share information about the film industry. The relative influence of different groups (age, gender, relationship status) was compared.

These are some of the trends they discovered:

  • Men are 49% more influential than women on social media
  • Single people are 113% more influential than those whose relationship status says “In A Relationship”
  • Married people are more influential than both single people and those in a relationship
  • Those who listed their relationship status as “It’s Complicated” are least influential as well as most susceptible to influence

What does this mean for marketers? Perhaps it will pay off for marketers if they specifically target a group with certain characteristics (in this case, married men). However, for it to pay off, the influential people must be driven to spread the word to people who are susceptible to influence. While the results cannot be generalized, the study can shed light on WOM on social networks and how awareness of products/services spreads within someone’s group of friends.