Commentary: It's all about finding those individuals of highest influence

Jason Stewart,, 8/2/11

We've always known that word of mouth is the best form of advertising. Consider that one in every three recommendations a person receives, they act on (if you tell someone to try something, the chance that they will is therefore theoretically 33%). Contrast that with the current success rate of traditional marketing messages -- we are bombarded with around 700 messages every week, of which only four generate awareness -- that is an awareness success rate of 0.006%. Word of mouth is therefore 5,500 times more effective than traditional media. Trust is the first major reason: 76% of people believe that companies don't tell the truth in their advertising. Word of mouth marketing is not so much a methodology as it is an approach -- the consumer leads the conversation and is in control, rather than the brand pushing static messaging out to the audience. Often marketers are nervous about this, but the truth is that no one knows your market better than they know themselves -- so let them control the conversation as well as the messaging that gets spread etc. And forget about reach and cost per thousands. It is about finding those individuals of highest influence. 10 people can be more influential than one advert in a magazine with 100,000 readers. The reason being: the weight and credibility of those individuals, and how their message spreads.


Commentary: Facebook is the online social network of choice for the wealthy

Robert Frank, Wall Street Journal's The Wealth Report blog, 8/17/11

A new study shows that 46% of online users with investible assets of $1 million or more are members of Facebook, up from 26% a year ago. The survey, by Spectrem Group, showed that millionaire's use of Twitter has declined, from 5% to 3%. They also remained fairly cool to LinkedIn. Only 19% of millionaires used LinkedIn - unchanged from a year ago. Plenty of earlier studies have shown that more than half of millionaires [are] on Facebook - even if they rarely have time to actually use it. But the Twitter and LinkedIn numbers are somewhat surprising, given that both would seem to appeal to a more business-minded, time-pressed elite. Apparently not. One reason may be that Twitter is a more open network, which makes it more difficult for control-freak millionaires to manage who follows them. On Facebook, you can more easily manage access to information. Another is that Twitter is largely a broadcast tool, while Facebook is more of a network builder. The rich value personal networks more than online megaphones. But age also plays a role. According to the study, Twitter was generally more popular with the younger-millionaire crowd. And millionaires younger than 55 years old are at least twice as likely as those ages 55-64 to get their information from social media than from traditional media outlets.


Related: Facebook is better for luxury brands than paid search, banner ads

Kayla Hutzler,, 8/16/11

The social-endorsement nature of Facebook creates a more loyal fan base than paid search or digital banner advertising. Matt Lawson, VP marketing at Marin Software, said, "It is very easy to buy a banner ad on the New York Times, or to buy a brand keyword on Google, but that doesn't have a personal feel to it. But when a brand is marketing on Facebook, it can easily target the ad to people who are already fans, as well as their friend networks. Facebook is a conversation you are having with your customers and most affluent people appreciate that. What is challenging about Facebook is that brands are targeting a small audience, but consumers log in 4 or 5 times a week, so they are seeing a brand's ads a lot. It's important to put out new promotions or rotate the creative images so that a brand is always maintaining a freshness to keep click-through high." In addition, brands can place an extra focus on the social endorsement factor by promoting sponsored stories in a consumer's news feeds. This involves highlighting when a potential consumer's friend "likes" the page or comments on a new feature.


Commentary: Active Twitter users are 3X more influential than Facebook users

Sherilynn Macale,, 8/18/11

Now, more than ever, is the time for companies to begin understanding how Twitter can massively influence the ways in which consumers perceive them. Although Facebook is obviously a social networking tool, a recent report found that daily active Twitter users -- AKA, the consumers who actually reach out to or follow brands via Twitter -- are 3x more likely to amplify the influence of that brand than a Facebook user. Of the users who are active on Twitter daily: 72% publish blog posts at least once a month; 70% comment on others' blog posts; 61% comment on news sites; 56% write articles for third-party sites; 53% post videos online; and 50% make contributions to wiki sites. In essence: What happens on Twitter doesn't stay on Twitter. Of course, Twitter isn't for everyone -- not every consumer (especially new adopters) can handle the overwhelming surge of incoming real-time information on the platform. Luckily, you don't actually have to use Twitter to know what's happening on Twitter. You don't need to create an account to read a tweet... only a fraction of users are actually reading tweets on Twitter itself. Search engines are listening as well. Google or Bing are able to index your individual tweets. What brands post from their Twitter account will effectively represent them for the remainder of Internet history and most likely will be found by those who are either watching for or stumbling onto them.


Commentary: StumbleUpon passes Facebook as #1 U.S. source for online sharing

Emil Protalinski,, 8/22/11

StumbleUpon has passed Facebook as the #1 source for sharing news, videos, and other links in the US. StumbleUpon overtook Facebook last month in US referral traffic, and incomplete data from this month suggests a possible trend. StumbleUpon made up 47.11% of all social traffic in the US as of July 2011, according to StatCounter. Facebook meanwhile fell to second place with 39.32% of all US traffic. The remaining 13% or so was left to competing websites like Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, Myspace, Digg, and others; none of them had more than 5% each. StumbleUpon may have a much smaller user base (15 million users as of June 2011) compared to Facebook (750 million users as of July 2011), but the service is specifically designed for "stumbling" between websites and sharing new links. It's important to remember that this is US-only data; Facebook still dominates social traffic when it comes to worldwide usage. And we have to remember that this is third-party data and the only way to really verify its validity would be to get data directly from Facebook and StumbleUpon. That's unlikely to happen. Now for the most important question: if you plan on sharing this article, are you going to Like it or Stumble it?

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