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Knowledge Networks Report Misses the Point

A recent research report put out by Knowledge Networks last week seems to miss the point of using social media for business

I recently posted a discussion topic on a couple of marketing-focused groups on LinkedIn. It was suggested that I post the info on the blog so that it could be more easily shared with others who might not be on LinkedIn (but I invite you to join in the Idiomatic: Conversation Marketing discussion group on LinkedIn.) Thanks Steve Dodd for the suggestion!

A recent research report put out by Knowledge Networks last week seems to miss the point of using social media for business. “Social Media Fails To Manifest As Marketing Medium, Report Likens Twitter To TiVo: More Hype Than Reality,” an article posted at MediaPost News Online Media Daily summarizes the findings.

From the article:

“Social media has reached critical mass, with 83% of the Internet population now using it - and more than half doing so on a regular basis - according to new research being released today by Knowledge Networks. But for all the media industry’s hype and buzz surrounding social networks, microblogs, and other social networking platforms, the genre has failed to become much of a marketing medium, and in the opinion of the Knowledge Networks’ analysts, likely never will. The report, “How People Use Social Media,” finds that social media is having a profound impact on the way people connect with each other, but that it’s not becoming a very meaningful way for people to connect with brands, or advertising promoting brands.”

Read the rest of the article, it just really seems like they’re missing the point of social media technologies and how people actual think and behave regarding purchase processes.

Social media technologies and sites are brilliant for engaging in the market conversation. The problem is, too many companies are just creating noise in social media spaces because they’re trying to use it to “advertise.” People want to connect, they don’t want to be talked at–that’s why the Do Not Call, spam filters, and junk mail delisting services emerged.

Asking people if they turn to social media when making purchase decisions seems a rather ridiculous question. We already know that very, very often, especially the larger the ticket price item, people turn to other people for purchase advice (as mentioned in the article word of mouth is #1.)

How would you answer this question: “Do you turn to social media when making a purchase decision?”
My answer: “No. I turn to people and communities I know and trust to give me purchase advice. Oh, but wait, I ‘talk’ with those people and communities often using social media, but the medium is not what I turn to, I turn to the people and communities and I just need to use the “tools”/mediums by which those people and communities converse.”

  1. People are interested in their wants and needs and how to fulfill those. They don’t care about products.
  2. People are using social media to connect with other people and a lot of the time that means they are talking about fulfilling wants and needs.
  3. Sometimes people use social media as the “tool” to convey “word of mouth” (I wonder why Mr. Tice thinks WOM is a totally separate thing from social media? WOM means one person shares thoughts with another or group–the means by which they share thoughts could be face to face conversation, blog post, review on a website, Twitter, etc.)

Conversation marketing is working very well for many companies and it just so happens that many of the tools used in engaging in the market conversation are social media technologies

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More Stories By Christine Fife

As I drove off to college I never would have guessed I would end up here! But it’s been a fantastic journey. My career has been richly diverse giving me an advantage over marketers who are siloed into niche positions. I strive to be a true Renaissance person—I love to learn about everything and trying new things comes naturally. My career has been no different; I’ve successfully launched enterprise software and medical device development startups, improved communications processes for the regulatory department of a major financial exchange, increased client business and product development for several international exchange program companies and founded an international educational non-profit organization. My master’s degree in Integrated Marketing from Golden Gate University gave me a broad understanding of traditional marketing best-practices, but my BA in theater gave me the skills to understand how people communicate with one another and the importance of promoting a brand in a voice that is right for the audience.