Monday, December 24, 2012

Social Media for Everyday People

In the movie Crazy People the main character, Emory Leeson, played by Dudley Moore, works as an advertising copywriter who suffers a mental breakdown. Leeson, in charge of creating advertising slogans for big-time clients such as Volvo, Metamucil, and the Greece Tourism Council, decides to create copy that borders more on truth than persuasion. For example, Leeson’s slogan for Metamucil mentions something to the effect of “take it or you will get cancer and die.” Or an ad for New York City – “Come to New York. It’s not as filthy as you think.” As it turns out, the ads become very successful and people start purchasing the products like they are going out of style.

Released in 1990, Crazy People was, in effect, the beginning of social media. How? It was the beginning of everyday people voicing their opinions and giving their honest and unfiltered reviews of products, companies, and services. More than creating compelling copy, the “crazy people” in the sanitarium with Leeson create content to which everyday people can relate. And isn’t that what blogging is all about?
  • A recent study revealed several interesting trends regarding consumers and social media, including: 82% said Facebook is a good place to interact with brands
  • 77% of those who “Like” a brand on Facebook stated they have saved money as a result because of coupons and discounts on the brand’s page
  • 73% have no issue “un-Liking” a brand on the site if the brand posts too often (Murphy, 2012)
For marketers, these social media trends are indicative of a consumer mentality that is becoming increasingly active in its desire to engage with companies, their products, and services. As such, it is important that we, the marketers, acquiesce and, even more importantly, engage with and encourage dialogue with consumers.

One way to do this is by blogging. Like other types of social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter, blogging has become a popular way of interacting with consumers. According to a study by Bernard J. Jansen, Mimi Zhang, Kate Sobel, and Abdur Chowdury, online word of mouth (OWOM) is gaining in credibility by the average consumer. Jansen, et al state

Goldsmith and Horowitz investigated the consumer motivations for online opinion seeking. The researchers reported distinct factors, including risk reduction, popularity, lowering costs, easy information, accident, perception, inspiration from off-line inputs such as TV, and pre-purchase information acquisition (2008, p. 2).

From a value standpoint, marketers who blog have, figuratively, hit a goldmine in terms of connecting with consumers. For one thing, giving consumers an opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions builds trust between the company and the consumers. This results in positive persuasive effects in terms of creating a relationship where the consumer looks to the company as its first choice in making a purchase.

Furthermore, online blogging has given way to microblogging. Defined as “the act of posting short messages to the web,” microblogging has become very popular, especially among the millennial generation (Nesbitt, 2009). Commonly used on social media networking sites such as Twitter, microblogging has become a phenomenal tool for online word of mouth. As we become a more “instant gratification” society, people are going to want information about their favorite products and services via a quicker, more up-to-date source. People want to interact, but they want to do it quickly and through a broader word-of-mouth source such as Twitter and Facebook.

Much like advertising slogans, consumers are turning to social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to express their opinions of products and services. The “crazy people” have taken over the proverbial advertising asylum and have begun doling out lines of opinions, in which are embedded several bits of truths and facts.

Blogging has helped create a sort of “freedom of information” online world where people constantly express their views – both for and against – products and services. In so doing, they have compelled companies to jump on the blogging bandwagon for fear of misinformation and misleading testimonials ruling the cyber world. offers an informative and creative infographic on the benefits of blogging:

Blogging, clearly, has become an invaluable resource for companies and their brands. It creates not only an ability for the company (and company can comprise one or 100+ employees) to maintain an informative and positive online word of mouth image, it also gives consumers the opportunity to join in on the conversation, creating dialogue between consumer and company as well as building a (hopefully) long lasting relationship between the two.

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