Social Media Hype

Social media offer marketers fun and exciting new ways of reaching their customers. It is one of the hottest channels and is top of mind for most brand managers.

Is all of this attention misplaced?

The key benefit of social media, if you believe the hype, is the ability for people to share things across a platform. This is essentially digital word of mouth, a form of marketing that has repeatedly proven to offer an extremely attractive ROI. But a recent study by Keller Fay, a consultancy, may call into question this new found conventional wisdom. Roughly 7% of word of mouth is generated online, while a whopping 80% is still done face to face.

While social media is a great tool for enabling word of mouth, marketers cannot use this shiny new toy to replace a basic fundamental of brands – you need a great product. If your product is worth talking about, people will talk about it. And today, people still do much more talking in person than on Facebook or Twitter.

Social media will not magically create word of mouth for your brand. Your brand is going to have to do that by itself.

What do you think?

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One Response to Social Media Hype

  1. I don’t think that the percentage difference by comparison says anything about whether social media is effective or not for word of mouth.

    I think it is important to see what is really supporting social media and recognize the dynamics from a practical and a social perspective.

    The only reason that the web works at all and that social media can take place is because of search engines. If the search engines didn’t exist the web probably would not be as big as it is because it couldn’t function in any practical sense.

    Search engines ground the web by sorting relevance and delivering the best pages they can find for any search term. Without grounding and making the billions of web pages practical to search through then the web would be next to useless. So, of course, search engines came into being so that social media, forms of information and other human interests could be located.

    People find their groups, and they find their groups by keying in their values and beliefs. In this way a social fabric is created on the web that could not happen without the means of a practical form of search.

    I doubt that social media will ever replace a personal word of mouth interaction but the Internet is becoming the first choice for searching out whatever our needs are because it is quick and easy to do. From choices made online we gravitate toward physical, emotional and intellectual connections in person. There are few people, by comparison, that prefer to have all their social needs met by web networks without personal physical contact.

    Therefore, a social media that generates a big YES or a big NO to something will also travel offline and spread through personal connections by word of mouth. Where does one end and the other begin?