This Ad Age article caught my eye today:
It's an elegant summary of "influencer" activity across multiple social media platforms. The article mentions discussion forum posts as an area where influence happens....something we've known for years, but an idea that's just taking shape in the mainstream marketing eye.
So the question for you today is...do you know your influencers? If you are running a branded online community or social space (on any platform) are you fostering an environment where you can identify the influencers and ensure that they return again and again? The influence chain works both ways, as well...the influencer enjoys being heard, and the "influencees" (I just made that up) enjoy getting useful information from a trusted source.
No need to pollute the stream with ads, no need for paid endorsements, no marketing middle man necessary. Human-to-human recommendations are the strongest marketing machine around.