It’s All About Being Social

March 12, 2008 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

Going Social Now
Shiv Singh, Dir of Global Strategic Initiative, Avenue A | Razorfish

Singh

So, what is social network? Social network is a set of people (or organizations or other social entities) connected by a set of social relationships, such as friendship, co-working or information exchange (Garton et al., 1997).”

It matters because there is an overload of information. Know-who information rather than know-what, know-how or know-why information has become most crucial. People join networks if they already have friends in them. Others influence the behavior patterns in networks. Sharing is important in this concept because people will collaborate online if they trust each other.

The main idea for this panel is the fact that we are more influenced by each other than print ads, direct response, TV commercials, etc.

To break it down, here’s what really matters in social networking:
1. Compliance – an individual agrees with a point of view and acts in a certain way in order to achieve a favorable reaction among his or her peers
2. Identification – a person acts in a certain way in front of a group because she believes in what she says, and belongs in a group important to her
3. Internalization – a person’s views are truly altered beyond the relationship with the group

Social Influence Marketing is the new marketing direction, we no longer care about the brand, but the people behind them. 43% of users read customer reviews before they purchase a product. I know I do this when I’m searching for an electronic item. I feel as though I need to read a lot of reviews to make a valid purchasing decision. Since I don’t know much about electronics, I go out to search more information to compare to make a good reason on whether I should buy one product over the other.

The changes behind the scene are corporate websites do not matter as much as more because they are not built for sharing, collaboration, etc. Users are now going to 3rd party sites (Yahoo music, CNet, ESPN, Expedia, iTunes, etc.) to get collective information. No one brand can tell them, “Buy me! Buy me!”

Some recommendations to succeed in social marketing are:
1. Become your consumer
2. Aggregate information to your consumer
3. Articulate product benefits better
4. Amplify the favorite business stories
5. Participate where your consumers are
6. Don’t do it all at once

A couple of Singh’s work examples that successfully implemented social networking are CNN.com and Levi’s 501 Jeans collaboration with Project Runway.

Before CNN.com redesigned their website, Singh and his team got feedback from its readers and published it. This method of research insured that they would create a site that the readers will enjoy using. It also implied that they no longer just listened to what their marketing team had to say, they were getting the actual voice of the consumer.

The collaboration between Levi’s 501 Jeans and Project Runway was a success. The site was a portal for a contest where designers all over the nation could submit their fashion designs and Levi’s will manufacture the winner. Participants could look at all the designs, learn about the designer, write feedback and ultimately, vote for the best design. This was a clear example of letting the consumers shape the experience. Both Levi’s and Project Runway stepped back and let the consumers take the reins.

Singh’s insightful presentation clearly articulated the importance of social networking and I believe that is where we need to be headed.

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