With an emphasis on sites like Twitter and Facebook, a number of companies have the impression that the marketer with the most friends wins, but a new study puts that theory in question.

According to the study from Zsolt Katona, a business professor at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, as the number of contacts a person or business has on a social networking site increases, the amount of influence they wield decreases.

The study would seem to go against the grain of what many marketers are trying to accomplish with their social media campaigns – getting themselves in front of as many eyes as possible.

Katona says that instead of the number of friends a person or organization has on one of these sites, it would appear that the relationship built with those people is more important.

"This finding is important as it shows that beyond sheer network size, strong communities are more relevant for word-of-mouth influence," says Katona.

However, these findings are unlikely to slow the growth of sites like Facebook and Twitter, which have exploded in popularity in recent months. According to statistics from comScore, traffic to Twitter grew 131 percent last month to more than 9.3 million visitors.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.