Social media as a filtering device

This is a guest post from Spike Jones — SVP, Managing Director SW Region at Edelman Digital and co-author of the book Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable Word of Mouth Movements. See the original post this is adapted from and more like it on his blog.

coffee filter

The number of words that have been written about social media could no doubt fill many a landfill.

The benefits. The advantages. The ways to succeed. What to avoid. The list is endless.

What most practitioners (and even consultants) can agree on though, is that social is definitely only one tool in the marketing toolbox. And the way you use that tools, or set of tools, is the difference between success or fodder for another social media disaster case study.

In the word of mouth marketing world, the proliferation of social media can sometimes seems overwhelming with all the cart-before-the-horseness going on.

And I know I’m tough on social media most of the time, but I do have to admit that when it comes to identifying who the true advocates are for an industry, brand, or cause, social media is a great filter.

Back in the “old days,” there was a lot more legwork to find these advocates. It was going out and talking to local store owners, or asking for and reading the “love letters” that a company received from their customers. It was tracking down and connecting the word of mouth recommendation dots offline that was part detective work, part anthropologist work. And to be absolutely clear, we still use these methods in conjunction with social channels.

But what social has brought to the table is being able to — with some work — see who those hand-raisers are online.

Sure you have a million likes on your brand Facebook page, but are those people commenting daily on your posts and sharing them out to their networks? That’s a no-brainer.

It’s also probably less then 1% of your “community.” Same thing with Twitter. Or Pinterest. You get the idea. These people WANT to be identified and recognized. They’re practically begging for it. And creating a specific, targeted list of criteria makes a great filter so you make sure that you’re getting the best of the best — and not just people who want free stuff.

So taking these online advocates and combining them with the offline ones that you find through your legwork is a great base for an advocate program. You’ll be amazed at the power of those people coming together and what it means for your brand.

About Spike Jones

Spike Jones is a results-proven communications professional, specializing in digital and offline word of mouth marketing. With more than 15 years of experience, the career path goes something like this: Baylor University; a decade at Brains on Fire; SVP of the Customer Experience team at Fleishman-Hillard; Group Director, Engagement at WCG; and now SVP, Managing Director SW Region at Edelman Digital. Spike is also a co-author of the book Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements.

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