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
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
The IoT has the potential to create a renaissance of manufacturing in the US and elsewhere. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Florent Solt, CTO and chief architect of Netvibes, will discuss how the expected exponential increase in the amount of data that will be processed, transported, stored, and accessed means there will be a huge demand for smart technologies to deliver it. Florent Solt is the CTO and chief architect of Netvibes. Prior to joining Netvibes in 2007, he co-founded Rift Technol...
If there is anything we have learned by now, is that every business paves their own unique path for releasing software- every pipeline, implementation and practices are a bit different, and DevOps comes in all shapes and sizes. Software delivery practices are often comprised of set of several complementing (or even competing) methodologies – such as leveraging Agile, DevOps and even a mix of ITIL, to create the combination that’s most suitable for your organization and that maximize your busines...
Struggling to keep up with increasing application demand? Learn how Platform as a Service (PaaS) can streamline application development processes and make resource management easy.
New Relic, Inc. has announced a set of new features across the New Relic Software Analytics Cloud that offer IT operations teams increased visibility, and the ability to diagnose and resolve performance problems quickly. The new features further IT operations teams’ ability to leverage data and analytics, as well as drive collaboration and a common, shared understanding between teams. Software teams are under pressure to resolve performance issues quickly and improve availability, as the comple...
The proper isolation of resources is essential for multi-tenant environments. The traditional approach to isolate resources is, however, rather heavyweight. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Igor Drobiazko, co-founder of elastic.io, will draw upon their own experience with operating a Docker container-based infrastructure on a large scale and present a lightweight solution for resource isolation using microservices. He will also discuss the implementation of microservices in data and applicat...
Join IBM June 8 at 18th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn how to innovate like a startup and scale for the enterprise. You need to deliver quality applications faster and cheaper, attract and retain customers with an engaging experience across devices, and seamlessly integrate your enterprise systems. And you can't take 12 months to do it.
See storage differently! Storage performance problems have only gotten worse and harder to solve as applications have become largely virtualized and moved to a cloud-based infrastructure. Storage performance in a virtualized environment is not just about IOPS, it is about how well that potential performance is guaranteed to individual VMs for these apps as the number of VMs keep going up real time. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dhiraj Sehgal, in product and marketing at Tintri, will discu...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, will discuss how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to im...
This is not a small hotel event. It is also not a big vendor party where politicians and entertainers are more important than real content. This is Cloud Expo, the world's longest-running conference and exhibition focused on Cloud Computing and all that it entails. If you want serious presentations and valuable insight about Cloud Computing for three straight days, then register now for Cloud Expo.
As you respond to increasing requests for new analytics, you need fast and flexible technology in your arsenal so that you can deploy the right workload to the right platform for the need at hand. Do you need self-service and fast time to value? Do you have data and application control and privacy needs, along with strict SLAs to meet? IBM dashDB™ is data warehouse technology powered by in-memory computing and in-database analytics that are designed for fast results, scalability and more.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
Up until last year, enterprises that were looking into cloud services usually undertook a long-term pilot with one of the large cloud providers, running test and dev workloads in the cloud. With cloud’s transition to mainstream adoption in 2015, and with enterprises migrating more and more workloads into the cloud and in between public and private environments, the single-provider approach must be revisited. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Yoav Mor, multi-cloud solution evangelist at Cloudy...
IoT device adoption is growing at staggering rates, and with it comes opportunity for developers to meet consumer demand for an ever more connected world. Wireless communication is the key part of the encompassing components of any IoT device. Wireless connectivity enhances the device utility at the expense of ease of use and deployment challenges. Since connectivity is fundamental for IoT device development, engineers must understand how to overcome the hurdles inherent in incorporating multipl...