I just miss being able to call myself a digital native by a few years. I guess that makes me a digital immigrant since I can clearly remember life before the internet and do so without an eye roll. I got on the social media bandwagon one foot at a time and with great skepticism. I admit, I was originally much more of a stalker than a sharer, but I was hooked...fascinated...and not quite sure what to make of the cultural shift unfolding around me.
Then one day, while looking at my Facebook wall, I noticed a post saying "Sam T. likes Sociable!". Hmmmm....what's that? I like Sam a lot, he's a really smart guy...wonder why he "liked" that book.
One click took me to the Facebook fan page for Sociable!, a book about social media marketing by Shane Gibson and Stephen Jagger. My curiosity was piqued. One more click and I was at Amazon, reading in-depth about the new book. A third click and Sociable! was on its way to me.
I read the 200 page book in three days and my imagination caught fire. Clearly, the social media party was just starting and this was one to which I didn't want to be fashionably late. It was the perfect introduction to a new era of information sharing as opposed to the prior one of keeping your knowledge close to the vest. I started reading everything I could find about social media marketing and gradually putting the pieces of my new business together. I was obsessed with social media. As I talked about it with friends, I was amazed at how many asked for help setting up a social media strategy for their small businesses or personal endeavors. They knew they needed to incorporate social media into their marketing plan but didn't have the time to learn about it or manage it.
About a month later, I saw Sam T. Since he's in a totally unrelated field, I was curious about his relationship to Sociable!. Did he know the authors? I thanked him for the wonderful, life-changing recommendation that spawned a new business venture and asked him why he "liked" the book. He said, "Oh, that? Yeah...that was a mistake. I meant to 'like' a social networking site with a similar name and typed the wrong thing." He'd never even heard of Sociable!
The power of word of mouth is incontrovertible, even when it's unintentional. Humans are, by nature, social creatures and we take our cues from each other. Print and television advertising was originally conceived with the assumption that the viewer would relate to the spokesperson and visualize herself or someone familiar drinking that soda or using that razor. We've evolved one step further, welcome to the social media generation of advertising and marketing...it's no longer a sexy model or professional athlete trying to sell you shampoo, it's your mother! And who doesn't listen to Mom?