The Elusive Social Media Playbook

Social media is on the top of every marketer’s mind nowadays. Despite what a social media guru might tell you, there’s not much of a recipe for success yet.
Nobody has the answers to what makes a brand succeed in the consumer-controlled world of social media, at least judging from a panel on the topic at the New York Brand Advocacy series. But that doesn’t mean brands can sit on the sideline.
One of the key areas for brands is finding advocates they hope can do their advertising for them. According to presented statistics, 94 percent of consumers trust word of mouth versus only 14 percent who trust ads. Not surprising. Are you going to trust your friend’s recommendation for a new face cream, or are you going to trust an expensive ad, with a smiling woman with perfectly retouched skin, designed to make you want to buy the face cream? Of course, you are going to trust your friend’s advice; it’s not like she has an endorsement deal with the brand, she just likes the cream because it works.
This is easier said than done, of course. Not only do they elicit more trust from other consumers than marketers or ads, they cost nothing (besides any rewards or benefits brands give as a thank you to advocates). As JetBlue communications manager Morgan Johnston acknowledged, “We built our brand on word of mouth, mostly because it’s cheaper.”
The next step is trying to get consumers to participate with a brand. That means, of course, listening to customers. “The way to build advocacy is to build relationships, and the only way to do that is to listen,” explained Avi Savar, founder of Big Fuel.
The bottom line is there’s no guarantee of success in any of this. People wanting an easy playbook for success in social media will be disappointed, according to Fuggetta.
“We are all trying shit, some of it works and some of it doesn’t,” he said.

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