Who to trust?
Social media. It’s the future, right?
Every company on earth is intent on mastering this new form of branding and marketing, and spending big bucks to learn on the go.
When you cut to the chase, the idea is that if enough people “Like” a brand, lots of your specific friends will “like” that brand, and somehow you will be influenced by their opinion.
Is that really how it works?
If so, then I see one immediate problem.
Edleman in Chicago released research showing a significant drop in trust in social media referrals, from 45% to 25% between 2008 and 2009.
You can feel that’s probably right, because it mirrors your own experience.
Come on now, be honest. You probably friended me and have been ignoring my updates ever since. If not me, someone else who hit you up.
Once Facebook and Twitter became a popularity contest, part of the benefit commercially began a swift decline in direct proportion to the number of people included in your circle.
The truth is, none of us — no one — has thousands of true friends, much less millions.
And if they’re not in my ‘close friend’ circle, why would I give a rat’s butt what they think of toothpaste or baking soda?
And I think this is more true of women than men.
Women build their lives around their relationships, to family, to friends. They invest more time in their relationships than men do.
Women are much more likely to trust the opinion of someone “like me” and those are the women most likely to be in her inner circle already.
Granted, men have always looked at “experts” to help make purchasing decisions, especially for big ticket items, like cars and furnaces and big screen plasma TV sets. I subscribe to Consumer Reports too.
But if you want a social media strategy for your brand I don’t think sheer numbers should drive it.
I think engagement with each individual user should be the measure of success.
I think social media is the perfect place to prove you hear, and act on, complaints, suggestions and problems. Actually “acting on” is the problem.
I think Facebook is a great place to introduce new products free or at a steep discount, so that you encourage usage and comments, and apparently so do you according to research released this week. Twitter can spread the word on a freebie in your market almost as well as…Radio. “Free Gas” Friday anyone?
Just don’t expect social media to replace your other marketing.
Yes, word-of-mouth is really, really effective, but the best way to generate great word-of-mouth is still by producing a product so remarkable that we can’t resist telling our inner circle of friends.
In other words, the better your product, the more success it will have with social media.
Nordstrom’s known that for a couple of generations. Their “no questions asked” return policy is one of the best marketing campaigns in retail history.
Just ask one of the women in your life…