Social Media Questions

I have some questions on social “media” prompted by Mike’s post and in particular the comments the post received.

First, can we please agree that social applications and social media are different ideas that sometimes happen together?  I think creating this difference would dramatically help the social discussion along by focusing it and making sure people understand exactly what is being discussed in context.

Now, I suppose you could argue that the comments, pods, and so forth are “media”, to which I would ask, then what is your definition of Content?  You can’t have it both ways.  If Comments are Content, how about Social Content and Social Media as two different ideas?

Personally, I think social applications are great and social as media is DOA – the context of “social” is anti-media, it’s the opposite of media and with rare exceptions not a great place to advertise. 

Second, as an attempt to start looking at the “impact” or the value of social applications from a Marketing perspective, let’s try a comparison.  A customer wants to make a positive comment about my business, but only has the time to make one positive comment. 

Customer gives me the 3 choices below for the comment:

A.  On a discussion board with 5000 members who actively discuss issues surrounding my business

B.  In an e-mail or discussion list with 5000 members who actively discuss issues surrounding my business

C.  In a social application where 5000 members friends or visitors read the positive comment by a person who actively discusses issues surrounding my business

Let’s say each of the 3 choices will get me exactly 5000 exposures of the comment to the audience.

1.  Where should I tell the customer to comment in order to generate the greatest impact?

2.  Is your answer different if deciding which environment to buy a display ad, as opposed to having a customer comment?

Opinions?   Conjecture?   Facts?

Is there any difference in Marketing impact between A, B and C?  If I’m asking the wrong question, what is the right question?

Anyone?
 
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2 thoughts on “Social Media Questions

  1. Let me stipulate that this response is indeed conjecture– I have no data to back it up and it is strictly an opinion.

    With the information given to me in scenarios A/B/C, I go with C due to the levels of trust that, I assume, one has for a friend’s opinion. Trust is a complex topic/not easily defined or codified (though some companies/bodies have complex algorithms/processes to do just that) and will in my opinion define where this comment would bring you the most benefit.

    Having said that, one can garner a lot of trust on a forum or a discussion list through various categories, such as in the case of a forum, their posting habits (amount of posts, reputation ranking via certain +/- mechanisms, your own experience of how cogent/viable their arguments sounded in the past, etc). I think this discussion also touches on your “media/social” distinctions– the reason one is the antithesis of the other, is that one has little to no trust and is understood as a mechanism to sell you something, the other, presumably, is far more objective/trust worthy in their opinion and can’t really be one and the same (save for examples such as, say, Consumer Reports etc).

    Thus, I assume that scenario C would derive the most benefit, but am too much of a wuss to rule out that A/B could easily do so as well.

    With regards to question #2 I tend to think that display ad’s almost inherently indicate “media” rather than “social” and thus may call for a different venue than say a text recommendation.

  2. Well spoken Alex, and rather than bury a discussion down here we should probably elevate this discussion to a new post.

    The idea I was trying to get at was “quality” of audience for an advertiser, which may or may not include the idea of Trust, but it seems to me Trust is perhaps an individual or secondary filter. For example, the overall audience on a social platform may be of low quality, but the individual audience of a specific participant may be of high quality.

    The quality of an audience from a media perspective is typically a function of barriers or thresholds to access the media. For example, magazines get the highest CPM’s because people pay for access to the content, and in fact, *want* to be exposed to the advertising. Free media generally have the lowest CPM’s because the audience is untargeted and not committed.

    To be an active participant in a discussion board or list is such a threshold, so the quality of the audience should be pretty good as long as the group is focused on a specific topic. The social platforms tend to aggregate audience for other reasons than focusing on a specific discussion topic, so the quality of the audience should be lower, on average.

    Your point on Trust is well taken, and would clearly affect the general statement above. Question is, how do be aggregate the “Trusted” for the purpose of buying media? An easy answer might be the various voting schemes, though we have seen how relatively easy it is to corrupt those.

    This is why I have said that ultimately, if these social platforms want to make any money in display ads, they must “go vertical”, forcing at least some threshold of audience quality.

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