Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Nature of Social Media

There’s an interesting post over at Marketing Profs commenting on a whitepaper from 360i Digital Connections. The whitepaper, Twitter & the Consumer-Marketer Dynamic
is loaded with information on who uses Twitter and how it is used. You’ll have to put aside the fact that they only studied 1,800 tweets over a six month period when, by Twitter’s own numbers “Twitter has more than 100 million registered users that log a collective 65 million tweets each day.”

The interesting story that both the whitepaper and the commentary at Marketing Profs tell is that Twitter is used “primarily for people, not corporations. More than 90% of tweets come from consumers… and only 12% of consumer tweets mention a brand.”
Further, the study informs us that “…94% of tweets are personal (vs. professional/self-promotional), 92% of users keep their tweets public, and 85% of tweets reflect original content (non-RTs).” To me these numbers tell a pretty obvious story, but the whitepaper goes on to tell us that “the opportunity for marketers to become part of the conversation remains vast.”

Twitter, like all social networking sites is opt-in. That means, people are only there because they want to be there. Over at Facebook, the story is a little different. For now, you can “Like” a business or organization’s page and you will receive updates to your wall but you can still opt out if the story is not intriguing or delivering a payoff for listening to their message.

I believe that social networking has exploded in recent years because people are so inundated with advertising and marketing that they need a break and can now take it. If marketers jump in with their old models, they will soon find that their words are falling on deaf ears. Mad Men-style advertising, while fun to watch, is dead. The old agencies are sucking air and still blowing smoke but a new day is dawning. Listening is now the key and the consumer is taking back control.

The YouTube video was found while reading a post on Marketing Profs by Ann Hadley titled "Content Rules: One Key Element That Can Set Your Content Apart."

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