A new report form the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa found that targeting social media marketing campaigns at social users with smaller, more interactive networks is often more successful.

Social users with smaller, more interactive networks may be more effective targets for social media marketing campaigns than those with large, varied lists of friends, according to a study from the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business.

Intuitively, social media users with myriad followers seem like the best targets for marketing. However, few of these accounts regularly interact with most of their followers, and they are less likely to have social influence over their contacts. On the other hand, someone with fewer followers but frequent conversations probably has a stronger relationship with his or her contacts, according to the study.

The study goes beyond social media pointing to email and mobile as channels people frequently use to share ecommerce offers or other calls to action.

“People who email each other more frequently are closer, more likely to influence each other, and have influence over others,” Gary Russell, a professor of marketing in the Tippie College of Business, said in a release. “We found that a person who has a large network but doesn’t buy anything isn’t important from a marketing perspective. A person at the fringe of a network but who buys a lot is more influential than someone at the center but who doesn’t buy a lot.”

From a marketing perspective, smaller social circles are also more likely to buy similar items, according to Tippie.

Ultimately, promoting content among the right social audiences can help drive more convertible traffic to business websites. iPerceptions’ Q2 Retail/E-commerce Industry Report found that more than 6 percent of online shoppers landed on a website through a referral from a friend.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.