Social Media = Word of Mouth

2 Nov

Plumber05From a marketing perspective, social media is best thought of as word of mouth. Sounds like stating the obvious, right?

But I find this social media=word of mouth equation helpful in strategic discussions about marketing something. Too often, someone will say “How about using [Twitter/YouTube/insert latest social media fad]?” Once the applause dies down, people start rattling off the functionality of the proposed social media vehicle – “We could have a Facebook page and create an app and…”, or “Let’s open a Twitter account and tweet daily and use twitpic and….” Sounds more like an instruction manual on using the social media vehicle than a marketing strategy for the client.

If we substitute “word of mouth”, we instead hear “How about using word of mouth?” Calling it “word of mouth” takes away the ability to list functions and features of particular social media. We’re left with the core challenge: “How can we make people care about/love/get value from the brand, so they will want to talk positively about it?” Tough question. Once you answer it with a proposed strategy, then social media can come into the picture – as a tool to execute the strategy, instead of the strategic driver.

Plumbers don’t open their tool box until they’ve diagnosed the problem and decided how they’re going to solve it. As marketers, we should do the same.

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One Response to “Social Media = Word of Mouth”

  1. jasonfinnerty November 2, 2009 at 1:03 pm #

    well put!

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