The recent frenzy of acquisition and consolidation in the social media space is reminiscent of many other boom periods in specific industries. With a wave of social media acquisitions that really came into prominence with the recent acquisitions of CMS vendors Vitrue and Buddy Media, there certainly are those out there that are riding that wave to glory.
Yet this is also a time that marketing consultants Ed Keller and Brad Fay liken to the Gold Rush in 1848. They point out that while this period brought fame and riches to some, for many others it was a farce, a period in which great promise bought little return due to the abandonment of reason by those attracted by its riches.
Keller and Fay carry out a survey that measures offline word-of-mouth, a service called TalkTrack, which dives into what gets consumers really talking. Their research shows that 90 percent of conversations about products, services and brands that take place every day happen offline, maintains that the conversations that we have online are wildly different to those we have offline and warns against what I label Bright Shiny Object Syndrome (this is the desire to blindly follow the latest trend without looking at a true goal or purpose, often leading to botched programs and unsuccessful activations).
Keller and Fay make many valid points in the book, all around what drives word of mouth and how marketers should take the time to understand how their end target will share information. It also maintains that social media are ultimately about people.
On reading it, this ultimately made me connect back to the principles of good social media and how their theories relate to the work we are doing. I have always strongly supported the importance of IRL – in real life – in all we do. I also support the “people theory.” Put otherwise, human beings are at our core fundamentally social. We are, and always have been, guided by the drivers of influence. All good social media practitioners will base their work on social behaviors rather than the latest trend.
At Ogilvy, we combine different theories of human behavior to drive impactful social that scales. One of the most effective theorists in the space is Robert Cialdini, seen by many in the industry as the Godfather of Influence.