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Marketers have understood for a while now that nearly all of us are a lot more inclined to click through, watch, listen to, read or buy something if someone we know or trust recommend that we do. And hence they try very hard to show us ads like the one above, hoping to get people to retweet, share a video or an article. They understand that spreading the word is important and that spreading it through the right people is even more important.

But we're still at a stage where we see someone from our social network recommending something (like in the picture above). It can be anyone from our social network recommending anything. The people we interact with more automatically rank higher in the list of people who are considered our influencers. 

But influencers are generally more narrow in their reach (in terms of types of products as opposed to followers) than this strategy accounts for. The people whose music recommendations I trust may not be the same people whose book recommendations I trust. Just like there's Zomato for finding restaurants and Practo for finding doctors, each of us has different people we go to for recommendations on different things. There are still a handful of people we go to for recommendations on everything under the sun, but these tend to happen more in-person as these are all people we see or talk to very often. And a good bit of these conversations happen on WhatsApp.

Identifying these influencers for everyone on the planet for every category of products is the ultimate goal of Facebook. They are already half way there (no wonder they shelled out $19 billion for WhatsApp) and there's hardly anyone I see who's better placed to get there. If I were you, I'd buy Facebook stock and hold.

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