Social media has become so powerful and personal in the last few years that many organizations have had to shift their strategies. We said goodbye to broadcasts, mass emails and blanket messaging and hello to shares, retweets and +1s. Today, if you really want to succeed at getting your message across, you’ve got to think small. Individual. Personal. And the only way to do that is to be a person. Not a brand.

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So what does that mean for companies who hire online marketers to infiltrate social networks to generate demand? In a nutshell, it means they are only as successful as the person they have building their relationships.

I’m working on a link-building project that involves a great deal of influencer marketing. I find out who’s who in my niche, like their posts, pet their egos, and three days later ask them for a favor. It’s tedious, a little sneaky, but it works.

The only problem we’re having is, all this "ego-bait" is coming from me -- not my client. And when I like a status update, retweet a post, or add someone to my circles, I am doing it, not the company. Why? Because people like to engage with people.

It’s all fine for today, but what happens when my contract ends? Who’s taking the Twitter followers, Facebook likes, and G+s with them? Not the client. But hey, kudos to me.

The trend to watch today is this: People are increasingly following people, not brands. The shift from brand to influencer loyalty is upon us.

Some advice for companies: Take care of your brand ambassadors and influencers. When they leave, so do the relationships, the link love, engagement and other warm and fuzzy buzz words we so desperately crave.

Original post.