Click here to close now.




















Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

Social Media is Word of Mouth on Steroids, or is It? Part II

word-of-mouthOriginally posted at KellerFay.com

I have heard it said on a number of occasions that social media is word of mouth on steroids.  The argument goes like this:  Whereas face-to-face conversations only reach people one-on-one or one-on-several, social media allows people to reach hundreds and often thousands of people with a single post.  As a result, it has a far greater reach than word of mouth.

I have been skeptical of this view, arguing that while social media is certainly a piece of the social influence puzzle for brands that deserves to be leveraged, it is just one piece among many.  And the premise that social media is word of mouth on steroids ignores the facts.  A singular focus on social media is misguided, in my view, as it can blind brands to the full array of opportunities available to them to drive brand advocacy.  This is the subject of my forthcoming book, The Face-to-Face Book:  Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace, co-authored with Brad Fay and coming in May.

A few months ago I wrote a blog under the headline, “Social Media is Word of Mouth on Steroids, or is It?” In the piece I shared research that shows for brands with tens of millions of Facebook fans, active engagement by those fans is quite small.  In fact just 0.45% are active fans.  In a similar vein, research was released last month from the prestigious Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science in Australia showing that after the initial click to “like” the brand, consumers rarely interact again with the brand on Facebook.  Here too, less than 1 percent of people remained active on Facebook after the initial engagement.  Ehrenberg-Bass summarized its results as follows:  “Big Brands Snubbed by Fans on Facebook.”  The message here is that the large numbers associated with social media can be seductive, but they are not always exactly as they appear to be.

Now comes a very different type of study that further debunks the “social media is word of mouth on steroids” argument.  This research, conducted by BuzzFeed and StumbleUpon, looks at the sources of shared content online across their respective networks and comes to this conclusion:  “Put simply, the vast majority of sharing occurs in the normal fashion evidenced in real-world word-of- mouth.”

More specifically, they report that the average Facebook share leads only nine people to visit the story. The median for Twitter was even lower, with each story shared on Twitter leading to five people visiting the story. This reality is far from the “one-to-many” image of social media that many proponents postulate and would be consistent with the “word of mouth on steroid” claim.

The conclusion from BuzzFeed and StumbleUpon:  “What emerges is a picture of social networks where stories go viral when lots of people engage with their normal-sized circles to share content. . . In looking to get content shared, marketers and publishers should focus on content that will resonate and get people talking to their colleagues, friends and families. Social media is about engaging people in conversations that mirror the offline world.”

The research that is emerging helps to separate fact from fiction.  Yes, social media has the potential to reach hundreds or thousands of people at a time, but the reality is that it rarely does.   It should be considered as a part of today’s marketing mix, but it is becoming increasingly clear that for brands which wish to spark the conversations that will move their business forward, it is not a panacea nor is it “word of mouth on steroids.”  Remember, for each conversation people share with their colleagues, friends and families via social media, there are many multiples more that get shared at the dinner table, at the water cooler, on the sidelines at youth sports events, and anywhere else people congregate.   Those conversations collectively generate far more sharing.  Let’s take a holistic perspective on the best and most productive ways to engage today’s social consumer.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

Latest Stories
Puppet Labs has announced the next major update to its flagship product: Puppet Enterprise 2015.2. This release includes new features providing DevOps teams with clarity, simplicity and additional management capabilities, including an all-new user interface, an interactive graph for visualizing infrastructure code, a new unified agent and broader infrastructure support.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advance...
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and e...
SYS-CON Events announced today that G2G3 will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Based on a collective appreciation for user experience, design, and technology, G2G3 is uniquely qualified and motivated to redefine how organizations and people engage in an increasingly digital world.
In their Live Hack” presentation at 17th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty and Paul Fletcher, Chief Security Evangelists at Alert Logic, will provide the audience with a chance to see a live demonstration of the common tools cyber attackers use to attack cloud and traditional IT systems. This “Live Hack” uses open source attack tools that are free and available for download by anybody. Attendees will learn where to find and how to operate these tools for the purpose of testing their own IT infrastructu...
DevOps Summit, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Whether you like it or not, DevOps is on track for a remarkable alliance with security. The SEC didn’t approve the merger. And your boss hasn’t heard anything about it. Yet, this unruly triumvirate will soon dominate and deliver DevSecOps faster, cheaper, better, and on an unprecedented scale. In his session at DevOps Summit, Frank Bunger, VP of Customer Success at ScriptRock, will discuss how this cathartic moment will propel the DevOps movement from such stuff as dreams are made on to a prac...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DataClear Inc. will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The DataClear ‘BlackBox’ is the only solution that moves your PC, browsing and data out of the United States and away from prying (and spying) eyes. Its solution automatically builds you a clean, on-demand, virus free, new virtual cloud based PC outside of the United States, and wipes it clean...
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and a...
Contrary to mainstream media attention, the multiple possibilities of how consumer IoT will transform our everyday lives aren’t the only angle of this headline-gaining trend. There’s a huge opportunity for “industrial IoT” and “Smart Cities” to impact the world in the same capacity – especially during critical situations. For example, a community water dam that needs to release water can leverage embedded critical communications logic to alert the appropriate individuals, on the right device, as...
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, will discuss how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the ...
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing thes...
Organizations from small to large are increasingly adopting cloud solutions to deliver essential business services at a much lower cost. According to cyber security experts, the frequency and severity of cyber-attacks are on the rise, causing alarm to businesses and customers across a variety of industries. To defend against exploits like these, a company must adopt a comprehensive security defense strategy that is designed for their business. In 2015, organizations such as United Airlines, Sony...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.