As a marketer, I try to keep up with new trends and exciting innovations in the area of driving consumer desire and brand recognition.
Social media, (Twitter, blogging, Facebook etc), was touted as the next big thing several years ago, but the evolution is difficult to keep pace with.
Chris Brogan raises a paradox that is very interesting to me. “We trust strangers online more than ever before, and we’re suspicious of most buzz.” What makes us more apt to distrust some buzz while placing our trust in other spins?
For me, there are immediate clues about the value and integrity of a message. As in any form of networking, some relationship needs to exist before a certain level of trust can be extended. Is the site where I read an article a reputable site with a long history and a good following? If so, I tend to trust it, although there are always stories like Balloon Boy that totally scam major news outlets. I have a twitter account, and follow some prominent, and some not so prominent groups and individuals. If they seem genuine, have a large number of tweets and other followers, they have earned some trust from me. If on the other hand they have few tweets and follow hundreds of people I question their motive. How many times do people actually re-check their followers to see how many are still active after a couple of months?
Probably the most important factors for me is to network with people or groups who are involved in more than one level of social media. Are they on Facebook because someone told them they should be or do they back it up with Plaxo, LinkedIn, Twitter etc all linked together to form a real network.
I always keep in mind that opinions expressed by the few today can grow to mammoth proportions using the power of social media. Auto recalls have existed since I first started driving in the 70’s. Today a simple recall can cost a company millions of dollars once a single person scrawls their complaint somewhere on the web. How long will it be before Facebook complaint is accepted as fact in a court? (maybe it has, and I’m still behind the curve)
In the book Friends With Benefits – A Social Media Marketing Handbook, I found some advice that I keep in the back of my mind whenever I read anything on the web. “Bloggers aren’t journalists” and their requirements for content are less rigid, and often emotionally based. Despite this, they can generate a juggernaut of public opinion if it sounds sincere. Weigh this against a public relations expert from a large multi-national corporation taking a defensive stance.
Who will you trust more?