How do individuals act on social networks? What drives them to interact with brands within their networks?
These questions and more are addressed in Mark Earls' new book, "I'll have what She's Having". Within the novel, Earls and his colleagues dive deep into what drives human behavior on social issues. Two key discoveries of the group are extremely notable:
1. "Brands and marketing content are not important on their own. What matters most is what people (e.g. staff, customers and non-customers) do with them and how they interact with other people in their networks. The scale and structure of social networks will influence how your brand is adopted and evolves as a social entity."
This point was extremely interesting to me. With all the work that brands such as NIKE, McDonalds, and Anheiser Busch have put into their social media, the results of their work will ultimately be decided by what the users do with the content. In other words, it is not about what a company does in building a social media structure, it is about cultivating enough interest to force user interaction. Interaction is what drives a media campaign, not passive viewing. Media organizations must create an environment for interaction rather than forcing content on users.
2. " We are more likely to be influenced by the actions of others in our network. Thus to understand the spread of ideas and innovation we need to pay more attention to the characteristics of our social networks."
Brands should look more into the ability of one person's influence over another rather than marketing equally to all subjects. Perhaps creating "Brand Leaders" in developing campaigns and targeting very specific groups could be positive, as the leaders will then interact within their social groups to spread word on a product.