By Ed Keller 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
By Ed Keller Klout declares itself to be “the standard of influence,” and many marketers these days buy into the notion that when it comes to influence the action is mostly – or most importantly – taking place online. Social media influence is often called word of mouth on steroids. However, this belies the fact that the overwhelming amount of word of mouth influence – even among consumer influentials – still takes place offline, in the real world. I was pleased, therefore, to see a CNN interview with Klout’s founder Joe Fernandez in which he acknowledged, “Klout measures your ability to drive actions online. That doesn’t always reflect in the real world.” This is a point that has been made elsewhere, by others. For example, Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Strategy and
By Steve Thomson, Managing Director, Keller Fay- UK The UK’s Marketing magazine this week posted an intriguing article outlining how Unilever was “shifting focus from social media to word of mouth”. In fact, as the piece acknowledges, it’s not that Unilever is turning its back on social media as such, but that the global fmcg power is demanding more from it. Unilever’s Debbie Weinstein is quoted as saying “We are now looking to develop broader social CRM programmes and trigger advocacy through word of mouth.” – with outcomes such as ‘Likes’ being insufficient. Unilever is right to demand more from social media. We’ve noted recent strong evidence that engagement levels in social media are very low for most brands, and that the primary driver of social media conversations is social
Ed Keller With this week’s Facebook IPO filing, a lot of big numbers are being bandied about: An estimated $5 billion initial offer, and perhaps between $75 and $100 billion for the total market valuation. Facebook also represents big numbers to brand marketers: An audience of nearly 1 billion consumers, and the growing legions of brand fans – often tens of millions –marketers have accumulated on Facebook. Social media pundits often liken them to an army of brand advocates, ready to engage on a moment’s notice. The only problem with this scenario is that it turns out most fans are quite unenthusiastic about playing this role. After the initial click to “like” the brand, they rarely interact again with the brand on Facebook. That’s the headline finding from a new
By Ed Keller I have written previously about a groundbreaking academic study that highlighted how fundamentally different online conversation is from offline word of mouth. The headline finding from that research, released in late 2010 at a conference convened by the Wharton School and the Marketing Science Institute (MSI), was clear: “Online data does not reflect well the offline behavior. Word of mouth is not channel neutral. One cannot automatically generalize the results from online to offline.” This is particularly relevant in light of the fact that social media – despite its rapid rise to prominence – still accounts for less than 10% of all word of mouth. The authors of that research have now released a new working paper that sheds further light on the question of offline versus
By Steve Thomson, Managing Director, Keller Fay- UK UK department store John Lewis hit an apparent bulls-eye over the Christmas season, achieving the kind of viral success with its seasonal TV ad that all marketing directors crave, with four million hits on YouTube. Most brands today are desperately figuring out how to create content which is also shared widely and quickly. Is this a realistic strategy, or is it the marketing equivalent of hoping for a lottery win or X-Factor success, rather than setting your sights on a more attainable career plan? Looking at the latest stats on what is being shared suggests the ‘lottery win’ analogy is the reality for many brands and categories – something obviously desirable, but you’d best not plan your life or brand strategy assuming
By Ed Keller As the trade press continues to focus on the year that was in 2011 and forecasts for the year to come in 2012, social media remains a hot topic of conversation. Two reports have come out recently making the case that email remains a big and effective part of the social story. In his keynote address to MediaPost’s Email Insider Summit, Tynt CEO Derek Ball noted that despite the growth of Facebook, sharing via email has gone up over 20% in the past 18 months. “We call email the original social network because it really is social,” he says. About a week later came a report in Marketing Profs that two-thirds of business leaders (68%) say they plan to integrate social media with their email marketing efforts
By Ed Keller In Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson talks about the seven industries that Steve Jobs revolutionized: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, digital publishing, and retailing. As we approach Thanksgiving and “Black Friday,” the most important day in retail, let’s consider how the Apple Stores changed business retail, which is the topic of Chapter 29 in the Jobs biography. It’s easy to forget how dismissive experts were when Apple decided to enter the retail business in 2001. “Maybe it’s time for Steve Jobs to stop thinking quite so differently,” wrote Business Week. Of course, the Apple Stores went on to achieve record breaking success, despite such doubts, because they had a mission that was about more than providing a place for transactions with customers. Jobs envisioned the
By Ed Keller Imagine you have an important marketing investment decision to make, and you have what you think is clear and compelling evidence. Then, you subsequently learn that in fact you are overestimating the impact of your investment by as much as 40%. You’d be pretty upset. This is what may be happening today as marketers seek to understand and quantify the impact of their social media investments, according to a new analysis by MarketShare. It is one of several thought provoking points put forth by Pat LaPointe, EVP at MarketShare, in a recent piece in the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR) about the relationship between “traditional” and “social” media. Business investment in social media is on the rise, a statistic most recently reinforced by a survey released recently
by Ed Keller At a conference earlier this year, an executive from Facebook declared that social networking sites like Facebook deliver “word of mouth at scale.” He went on to say, “This is what marketers have always tried to bottle up. The social web is finally allowing us to do that. This is word of mouth on steroids.” The notion that social media is word of mouth on steroids is a comment I frequently hear others make, as well. Last week, I came across an article documenting “The 100 Most Engaging Brands on Facebook” for the month of September. At first blush, the numbers appear to be impressive, indeed. Topping the list was Facebook itself with 53 million fans, followed by Coca-Cola (34m), Disney (28m), Starbucks (25m), and Red Bull
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