Leading global agency Razorfish is offering marketers a new score for evaluating social marketing influence. In the recently released report, Fluent: The Razorfish Social Influence Marketing Report, Razorfish’s Shiv Singh says that because consumers are now connected on the Web in unprecedented ways, each person’s influencers – be it their close friends and family, Facebook friends, or bloggers – play a significant role in the purchasing process. In other words, if you want to convince someone to buy into your product or service, you must also convince their network of influencers.
To quantify this, Razorfish introduces the SIM Score (“Social Influence Marketing”), a number that combines a brand’s share of consumer conversations online and how much consumers display their affinity toward a brand in these conversations. When compared to the pharmaceutical, finance, media industries, the auto industry earned the highest SIM score, mainly due to its high share of online conversations.
What’s more interesting is that despite all the hype around the success of social media campaigns, the stats indicate that social media marketing – or in Razorfish’s terminology social influence marketing – has a long way to go. First, consumers are not fully aware of the extent to which they are being influenced by their peers when it comes to brand perception and purchasing decisions. 71 percent of respondents in a research study conducted by Razorfish say that they share commercial content online at least once per few months. However, 62 percent answered that they do not look for opinions on brands through the social Web.
And second, there’s the trust issue: relatively speaking, consumers find it less authentic when brands promote themselves through online mediums.When it comes to what channels consumers trust the most, recommendations from offline friends and TV ads are winning next to social network ads and recommendations from online friends.
The report leaves readers with a concluding thought – that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Yes, brands with popular Facebook Pages such as Starbucks and Coke are able to enjoy easy viral distribution thanks to their huge fan followings, but don’t forget that the most successful Facebook Pages have also complemented their efforts with interactive applications, virtual gifting campaigns, and so on to increase efficacy.
All images from the Razorfish Fluent report.