Organizations and Stakeholders

Is your audience listening to its friends?

I heard it through a friend that word-of-mouth advertising is the best marketing you can get your hands on. In recent years, companies have depended on boosting their image using social media. They use the social media to have conversations with shareholders who will tell their friends, who will tell their friends… The phenomena looked like this representation of Social Media Marketing Revolution Animation of Audience Growth.

The Edelman Trust Barometer, a recent study of who people trust as it deals with business, found that people are putting less trust in what their friends tell them about corporations.

In Michael Bush’s article, “In Age of Friending, Consumers Trust Their Friends Less,” in Advertising Age, he talked about the president and CEO of Edelman, Richard Edelman, said that companies are going to have to rely on more than just peer-to-peer advertising because we live in times that people second-guess sources of information.

One group of sources of information that gained trust in the business-place in the past year was CEOs. It might be useful for your organization to use a CEO blog in addition to counting on WOM advertising to reach its audience.

In his blog post, “What does the decline of peer trust mean for social marketing?” Jesse Stanchak says that he’s friends with a lot of friends-of-friends on Facebook, but he wouldn’t necessarily believe them when they say they like something from a particular company.

I can relate to this because I’m not going to go see a movie some person from my old high school said was good in his Facebook status. I am more likely to see the movie if one of my close friends said it – but social media marketing has always been about spreading your corporate image to as many acquaintances as possible.

I’m not saying your organization doesn’t have to give up on its peer-to-peer advertising goals, but it can’t count on it to alone. You’re going to have to take measures to think of other sources potential customers will trust.