A report from Zuberance found that businesses can use social media and content marketing to appeal to the increasingly large portion of web users advocating for products and services on the internet.

Zuberance recently reported that the web has provided multiple channels for consumers to influence their friends, colleagues and others in terms of purchase decisions. The study suggests that social media marketing and website content can help businesses appeal to these brand advocates.

According to Zuberance, 38 percent of web users have recommended between five and nine brands to their friends and other web contacts. All of the users studied advocated at least one company, and 30 percent recommended between one and four businesses or other organizations.

In terms of the frequency with which users discuss brands, 38 percent do so about once per month, Zuberance found. This was the largest subset with the smallest being the 12 percent who recommend brands several times weekly.

Technology was the most frequently discussed industry, as 25 percent of users studied advise their web contacts on new smartphones, computers and other products. Since consumers often spend more on these items, they want to ensure that the one they decide on is the best fit for them.

Consumer and business technology companies are well aware of the value of word-of-web referrals, and many have been active in shaping web discussions surrounding their products or services. Brafton recently reported that technology companies are spending aggressively on content marketing this year, especially as a means of boosting search ranking.

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.