I had my own thoughts on social media before reading this book. The book was published in 2009 and covers a lot of aspects of social media. I will say though, that a published book about social media in sort defeats the message. This is not an updatable source, and it is very traditional. Yet the content is critical of traditional methods. The books gives some great examples of successful social media and web 2.0 business operations. The ones made up by the author are a little disappointing and far-reaching in my mind.
Going in I held this belief- Social Media is not a new concept. It’s a new medium, that’s all. Everything we’ve done before social media, on a basic level, is being transferred to the social media medium. The difference doesn’t lie in what we do, but how we do it. The Internet allows us to do more things in a faster way, and social media helps us in that process. After reading, I still retain my belief.
Avoiding Information Indigestion:
It’s in the news and
Coined in the book “Socialnomics,” the term refers to receiving so much information that you can’t keep it all down. So with access to vast amounts of information at a whim, how do we not experience this? The answer is actually simple; we don’t care about the stuff we’re not interested in. Are you going to read every article on MSNBC or FOX news? Probably not. You’ll ingest the information you care about. Carry that idea over to social media
it’s what we watch so
The model of broadcast television is to bring 1 show to millions of people. You can watch all the Spin City reruns or Madmen you want, as long as you watch it when it’s being broadcasted on the television. DVDs bring many shows to 1 or more people whenever they want to watch it together. Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, Vimeo, and any other video site brings unlimited amounts of videos to you at any point you chose. The model went from 1 show to millions at a specific time, to multiple shows at any time, to Millions of shows to any 1.
what does this do to us?
Think of the things you like. If you say you like everything, that’s a lie and you just don’t know what you like. So because we have a vast amount of information we can access at a whim, what are you going to look into? Something you like. Then, because you like that thing, you will probably like things that are similar to it. Without knowing it, you’re making a niche for yourself. This niche is how web 2.0’s interactivity works. Your Pandora station won’t play hard rock if you don’t “like” hard rock songs. We are unknowingly limiting ourselves to information that we have free and vast access to.
Things you didn’t care about
Who cares about Fantasy Football it’s
So we’ve established that we only care about a certain perception of things. Now, it’s important to realize that there is something outside of what we care about that exists. Not only that it exists, but the advancements being used there translate over to what we care about. Two ESPN anchors realized that fantasy football was becoming a huge success in the mid 2000s. So much of a success that they talked to ESPN about running more segments for it. ESPN noted the phenomenon, but did not want to incorporate any more airtime to the subject. Instead, the network gave the two anchors free reign to create side content, as long as it continued the ESPN standards. They came out with weekly podcasts and the number of downloads and listens increased as they continued their broadcasts. The great things about this were, consumers were able to receive the content they cared about, when they could access it, and move on whenever they wanted to. ESPN was not the first to create podcasts for their content, but by using podcasts, they gave their audience the access to the content they wanted. This is a good example of businesses properly using the tools available to increase value of their product. Even if you don’t care about fantasy football or sports, what ESPN did was more than-
just a bunch of guys talking about stuff I don’t care about.
Traditional Mediums are Taking their Advertising Methods Down with Them
An example of approaches to Past Philosophies in Marketing
1. It’s all about the message and brand of imagery
2. We know what the customer wants because they don’t know
3. We develop messages in house and send those to the public
compared to Marketers Philosophy Today
1. It’s important to listen and respond to customer needs
2. We don’t know what is exactly right for the customer so we adjust the message accordingly
3. Our customers send out messages about us more effectively than we do
in two different podcasts.
BestBuy bought advertising rights to the CNET’s technology podcast Buzz Out Loud. BestBuy took a past philosophy to advertising this message to its consumers. The podcast played commercials at the beginning, middle and end of it’s content. BestBuy did not update their advertisement for seven months wanting to maintain a consistent message. What BestBuy found was their ads were 1: Disruptive to the flow of podcast content 2: Not innovative 3: A traditional approach to a nontraditional medium
Two different companies (Charles Schwab stock brokers and marketers behind the film Eagle Eye) were interested in advertising during the ESPN podcast. So how would ESPN and the two companies handle this? Well, they were much more innovative than BestBuy. Instead of traditional blocks of advertising, the two anchors incorporated the advertisements into their show. Charles Schwab was incorporated in the segments by the anchors telling the audience which players Chuck (Charles) had for the week as definite starters. This works well for the stock aspects as brokers are picking stocks to do well much like fantasy football partakers are picking players to do well. One question asked on the show was a direct metaphor for stocks. An emailer asked if they should a certain player. The anchors responded by saying Chuck knows when to sell high and buy low, and encouraged the trade. Eagle Eye was mentioned in the podcast in a similar fashion. Anchors would talk about specific games or players and say they had their Eagle Eye them. The companies found this to be 1: In tune with the flow of the podcast 2: Innovative 3: A nontraditional approach to a nontraditional medium.
Traditional Marketing is not the only thing Outdated in the Marketing Department
Companies spend a lot of time in small focus groups asking
Imagine you’re asked to participate in a focus group for a company. The company will compensate you for your time. You will be in a room with a group leader who directs the conversation. It’s a small room full of strangers and you’re supposed to talk about this company in depth. This approach is outdated. Marketers don’t need focus groups to tell them about the public’s appearance of the functionality of a product anymore. The Internet is full of this material.
questions that can be found on social media sites.
Sites like Twitter, Blogs, and Facebook allow users to talk about their consumer experiences when they want. Marketing researchers may not get the same responses from people in the focus groups as they would from an online forum.
Mike likes this product from this brand and I want it because he likes it
Sixty-Seven Percent of 1977 Purchases derived from word of mouth advertising compared
It’s true that we listen to what other people say about a product and make our judgments about this product based on what this person said. We don’t trust companies, they have a motive. They want you to buy their product and they will do everything they can to convince you their product is best. Since we have this predisposition, how can we be sure their product is the best for me? This is where word of mouth advertising, and social media, comes in to play.
to 92% in 2009.
You can ask any of the friends on your network about a specific purchase they made. Their judgment of the product’s value will be the determining aspect of your view of the product. Suppose you are interested in the best hotel in New York. You’ve had some friends who went there and can tell you about their experience. So, you could listen to your friend’s testimony, which you will believe is as credible as your friend, or you could check online reviews from strangers, some of whom could be rival hotels bashing on the site.
Interestingly enough, while I’ve been working at KHS, we’ve noticed our Spay/Neuter services receive more customers who know we offer the service because of word of mouth than anything else. I’ve only been entering the survey results for nine months now, but it is a huge portion.
So because you’ve listened to your friend’s testimony and bought the product, that’s all that the company wants from you. Wrong. You will undoubtedly talk about the investment you made in a positive or negative light. In a positive light, and you continue the cycle that you were on the purchasing end of. In a negative light, and companies can use your feedback to properly alter their product. An example would be a hotel stay. Let’s say you had a good stay and blogged/tweeted about it, you may have other friends who now can see that you’ve had a good stay and this may increase their interest. On the flipside, you could blog or tweet about it, and the hotel can 1: Contact you to see if they can repair their damaged reputation 2: Fix the problem, and thus provide a better product.
The most famous form of testimony almost did not exist. The Subway campaign featuring Jared was originally paid for by an ad agency. They knew the story was great and could help the Subway image. Jared appealed to customers as a person, not a corporation. Social Media allows so many success stories to be heard and shared now. Jared’s successes vastly improved the image of Subway, and this testimony is being done every day now. Status like “mmmm…I’m eating Chipotle now.” are great for businesses because they aren’t the ones sending the messages.
Social Media is a new world that we are just experiencing, but it is helping to improve our everyday lives.
The book provides an analogy for social media. The consumers are sheep and the shepherd looking over them are the companies. The fence holding the sheep in breaks and some sheep are now in a new, never before explored pasture (social media). The Shepherd has 2 options: 1: Chase after the sheep 2: Ignore the sheep that wandered off. If the shepherd choses option 2, the sheep will be either lost/confused and not return or be picked up by another herder (the book says wolf, but this feels more apt), one that isn’t afraid to venture into an unknown world. If the herder choses option 1, the sheep, and herder will engage in a process of communication that benefits both parties. The shepherd can talk and observe each sheep directly, and the sheep can provide feedback on the products. This constant communication is efficient because you no longer have “experts” talking about what consumers want or need, rather you have the consumer telling you. Having said this, there are a number of companies that did not chase after their sheep.
For Every Poison there is an Antidote
I got that above line from a really bad movie I watched called Spider 2.
What are the downsides of this perceived positivity? There are two major ones: 1: Social Media puts it’s users in a preventative behavior type mode 2: Social Media removes physical experience. In case number one, a bad Facebook post or tweet can and will be seen by lots of people on an immediate basis. This forces us to watch what we say and, in a way, the mass media engages censorships. Compromising pictures, videos, status, or opinions can be viewed by mostly anyone and thus are subject to scrutiny. Think about Anthony Wiener… In case number 2, we see little value in experiencing things in a physical sense because we can just have someone tell us about it. Why waste the money going to New York if you can just view pictures of it online? Not only that, but we decrease our interpersonal communication skills because we are communicating behind a monitor. And we’re communicating with other’s presentation of themselves. We all boast a little and extend the truth, how certain can we be of the validity of the person we’re talking to (unless we’ve known them before of course). I’m going to leave on one last note. Think about Australia. What do you imagine? You probably think of something you’ve seen online that someone posted. Your subjectivity is completely dependent on what that person framed. You do not have the experience of going to Australia, but you have another person’s experience. Social media is a great tool for accessing and spreading information, but we need to be careful no to remain subjective based on our experiences on a matter, not just recycle another person’s words. Who knows, maybe Spider 2 wasn’t a bad movie and I was just saying that so you would question your own belief and see for yourself?