Why Word Of Mouth is Social Media's Greatest Asset
When discussing social media marketing options with a business, one of the first points made is "it's where your customers are!" Although this phrase or some variation of it is used often, that should not detract from its value in a business's eyes and it absolutely holds true in reality.
People engage on social networks in order to share information about themselves and to explain themselves in more detail to a wide range of users. Therefore, the brands they interact with are considered a part of their own "personal brand." This is why it's so important for brands to consider the content they are publishing and what that content will say about the users who share it.
Based on a study conducted by Burst Media, 43.5% of moms, 44.4% of other women and 30.7% of males follow brands on social media in order to keep up with the latest content. A close second at 41.9%, 40.9% and 26.3% respectfully was in order to share content with family and friends. Due to the personal nature of these interactions it makes sense that users are more likely to trust one another than an advertisement.
The combination of users sharing content and their networks trusting that content creates word of mouth advertising that now spreads farther and faster than ever before. Nearly one-fifth of US Internet users would buy a brand if a friend followed that company on social media. In today's technology driven world, consumers have direct access to their friends' and families' interests and are influenced by them daily.
A recent study from Ipsos OTX and Ipsos Global @dvisor asked internet users about their presumed action when they saw that a friend "liked" or followed a certain brand on a social network. In March 2012, 18% of US users said they would buy such a brand.
The actions of consumers are growing and gaining a much longer reach and impact. Social networks are very aware of this trend. Facebook, for example, promotes the use of "sponsored stories" for businesses on the social network as opposed to traditional advertisements. Anytime a friend "likes" a brand or business on Facebook, it creates a story that will appear in other users' news feeds, thus creating a very literal translation of word of mouth advertising.
As always, the focus is on the user in social media not the brand or company. Social media derives its value simultaneously from the collective and the individual, not the mass - a reversal of traditional marketing and creative models where a single message is crafted and pushed out to a mass audience. In order to encourage content engagement and sharing, it is absolutely necessary for brands to understand and adapt to that framework, and when done so successfully, it can result in increased sales and brand loyalty.
To begin building your social media marketing strategy contact Wild Frog Studio today at 914.428.4645 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.