WOM-ophily: Why does social media marketing matter?

19 08 2008

I really wish this was a word. Internet might make it to be but I doubt it . WOMophily. Okay, think “homophily”. Wikipedia explains…..“Individuals in homophilic relationships share common characteristics (beliefs, values, education, etc…)”

Word Of Mouth (WOM) marketing has been around for ever and since commerce was invented. There is now a few more people on the planet and the internet is slowly becoming more effective in serving your information needs. WOMophily then is people who share common characteristics (beliefs, values, activities) sharing ideas and spreading the word about your product or services. There are few characteristics to bear in mind, however….

SMM uses Social Channel Capacity: We cannot physiologically stay in true contact with more than 150 connections, you, your friends, your relationships, their relationships (c.f. Blink, M. Gladwell) – The others just don’t have our attention like those 150 (primary and secondary connections). This is where Twitter and all the “what are you doing now?” features come in. They help us keep track of more people easily. Last week I was talking about “Saturation Points” and “Information Immunity”? If you don’t suffer from those, you are a rare indeed. Or maybe you just watch TV! There only 200 million blogs out there. Patterns of influence have changed and traditional marketing channels are just not cutting it anymore. BUT you CAN rely on your close trustees and their close trustees …etc, in terms of letting you know what services you may like, what products you should buy, what brands may matter to you. Social networks and social media have allowed the 200 most viral million of us to stay connected at this micro-level and filter out all the other marketing noise. The “You can now stay in touch and follow at the ‘micro’-blog level” is where a ton of stuff is going. The influence of micro blogging is increasing every day. Think PEOPLE LIKE ME.

SMM puts your customer to work(finally): if you connect with them PROPERLY and RESPECTFULLY through social platforms, they will value your words and spread them for you. Give them extras tips, info, cut them some smart discounts, help them understand you better, like they would a good friend. You may think, “well who’s going to keep up with all that?” Extanz might, but remember, it’s not about increasing your marketing budget but about reallocating your priorities. The ROI will be substantial because you’re dealing with hyper-targeting and word-of-mouth techniques that will carry your marketing message much further for less $. Think PEOPLE LIKE ME.

SMM is cheaper than any other form of marketing – the cost of acquiring new customers is enormous compared with growing current accounts. Social Media allows you to connect with individuals who have homophilic relationships with you current customer. The cost of acquisition is now only a fraction of traditional marketing. Think PEOPLE LIKE ME.

SMM reveals your true colors: “Do you care about me?” asks any customer. Your “blink” impression of anyone, any service, any brand gives you information that you always put back into your wallet for later. Social media forces your brand to actually connect with customers and prospective customers – not spam them like any other form of (wasted) marketing. If you don’t want to connect and stay remain aloof, you’re just falling behind. Consumers are very well informed and rely on others like their friends to use their purchasing power. Think PEOPLE LIKE ME……or maybe in this case, WE LIKE PEOPLE.

SMM doesn’t play well with control freaks and big spenders: Again last week, I was talking to a VP of Marketing in the Denver area. They focus on consumer services and their consumers are extremely passionate [hence my motivation to talk to them]. The biggest obstacle for them in terms of using Social Media Marketing was ” We would like to control the conversation….be able to ‘respond’… be able to ‘manage this internally'”. Ah right. Have you ever tried to follow 100 stocks on Wall Street at the same time? Have you ever controlled every conversation at a dinner party? Seriously, people. To think this conversation is not happening because you are not participating in it is a figment of your imagination. These conversations are happening anyway, WITHOUT YOU. Any marketer who thinks they’ll save their company by not engaging in social media will just have to try to play catch up in the next five years… it’ll be too late. Think PEOPLE MAY NOT LIKE ME ANYMORE.

SMM does not do WOT, it does WOM: WOT = WASTE OF TIME. Notice that these are the same marketers spending fortunes in surveys, market research, competitive assessments, marketing firms [not us:]. All to find out what their customers want or how to beat their competition. Yeah. OLD SCHOOL. That’s WOT busyness. You need WOM busyness. Just open up, your customers will save you millions. Then those happy customers will make sure their friends know about your product and services. They’ll become fans of yours on Facebook. The not so happy ones and therefore, most valuable in terms of your learning, will give you 2 GIFTS: The truth (that your CEO, product development and operations teams need) and the importunity (important opportunity — those new words keep popping up, don’t they) to show that you carethe very best marketing weapon you have against consumer apathy these days. The costs of ignorance and invisibility are far more expensive than any marketing budget. Think WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE (WHO) LIKE ME?

Do you care?

Do you care?

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