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
With SaaS use rampant across organizations, how can IT departments track company data and maintain security? More and more departments are commissioning their own solutions and bypassing IT. A cloud environment is amorphous and powerful, allowing you to set up solutions for all of your user needs: document sharing and collaboration, mobile access, e-mail, even industry-specific applications. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Shawn Mills, President and a founder of Green House Data, discussed h...
The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), which enables organizations to seamlessly run in a hybrid cloud model (public + private cloud), is here to stay. IDC estimates that the software-defined networking market will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2016. Security is a key component and benefit of the SDDC, and offers an opportunity to build security 'from the ground up' and weave it into the environment from day one. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin,...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a software development company, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software development company with representative offices in Atlanta (US), Sheffield (UK) and Würzburg (Germany); and development centers in Ukraine. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobi...
There are many considerations when moving applications from on-premise to cloud. It is critical to understand the benefits and also challenges of this migration. A successful migration will result in lower Total Cost of Ownership, yet offer the same or higher level of robustness. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Michael Meiner, an Engineering Director at Oracle, Corporation, analyzed a range of cloud offerings (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) and discussed the benefits/challenges of migrating to each offe...
Chuck Piluso presented a study of cloud adoption trends and the power and flexibility of IBM Power and Pureflex cloud solutions. Prior to Secure Infrastructure and Services, Mr. Piluso founded North American Telecommunication Corporation, a facilities-based Competitive Local Exchange Carrier licensed by the Public Service Commission in 10 states, serving as the company's chairman and president from 1997 to 2000. Between 1990 and 1997, Mr. Piluso served as chairman & founder of International Te...
Mobile, social, Big Data, and cloud have fundamentally changed the way we live. “Anytime, anywhere” access to data and information is no longer a luxury; it’s a requirement, in both our personal and professional lives. For IT organizations, this means pressure has never been greater to deliver meaningful services to the business and customers.
In a recent research, analyst firm IDC found that the average cost of a critical application failure is $500,000 to $1 million per hour and the average total cost of unplanned application downtime is $1.25 billion to $2.5 billion per year for Fortune 1000 companies. In addition to the findings on the cost of the downtime, the research also highlighted best practices for development, testing, application support, infrastructure, and operations teams.
In their session at 17th Cloud Expo, Hal Schwartz, CEO of Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS), and Chuck Paolillo, CTO of Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS), provide a study of cloud adoption trends and the power and flexibility of IBM Power and Pureflex cloud solutions. In his role as CEO of Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS), Hal Schwartz provides leadership and direction for the company.
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.
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducte...
Container technology is sending shock waves through the world of cloud computing. Heralded as the 'next big thing,' containers provide software owners a consistent way to package their software and dependencies while infrastructure operators benefit from a standard way to deploy and run them. Containers present new challenges for tracking usage due to their dynamic nature. They can also be deployed to bare metal, virtual machines and various cloud platforms. How do software owners track the usag...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Arch...
Providing the needed data for application development and testing is a huge headache for most organizations. The problems are often the same across companies - speed, quality, cost, and control. Provisioning data can take days or weeks, every time a refresh is required. Using dummy data leads to quality problems. Creating physical copies of large data sets and sending them to distributed teams of developers eats up expensive storage and bandwidth resources. And, all of these copies proliferating...
Malicious agents are moving faster than the speed of business. Even more worrisome, most companies are relying on legacy approaches to security that are no longer capable of meeting current threats. In the modern cloud, threat diversity is rapidly expanding, necessitating more sophisticated security protocols than those used in the past or in desktop environments. Yet companies are falling for cloud security myths that were truths at one time but have evolved out of existence.
Digital Transformation is the ultimate goal of cloud computing and related initiatives. The phrase is certainly not a precise one, and as subject to hand-waving and distortion as any high-falutin' terminology in the world of information technology. Yet it is an excellent choice of words to describe what enterprise IT—and by extension, organizations in general—should be working to achieve. Digital Transformation means: handling all the data types being found and created in the organizat...