What would you charge to introduce a total stranger to a dear friend?
I’m pondering this question since I stumbled upon the term “transactional social media”, which I understand as “social media with the primary aim of converting non-customers into customers”. “Transactional social media” may sound like a contradiction in terms, like selling hard…. to friends – but that’s exactly where we’re heading. At least that’s what services like Zuberance and NetAffinity seem to suggest, which enable automated social network activation, spot influential preference, drive peer-to-peer (social) recommendation and (business) introduction.
The basic idea here is that a friend’s advice is followed 90 per cent more often than a stranger’s (i.e. seller’s commercial) call-to-action. Which makes sense.
Do you remember the times when Nike and Sony (man, they used to be so cool!) would supply influential teens with free product, just to get to the other members of their peer group? I think they called those tactics “member-get-member”. Those where bedtime stories compared to what we’re about to witness in social space. The opportunity is just too big, fat and juicy; the social data mining technology too readily available and powerful.
It’s about time we marketers (re-)define the 5th marketing P: People (Preference, Psychology). Because more than ever, to get to people, you need to go through people.
In social space, ordinary people can quite easily be turned into resourceful sales reps. It’s just a matter of applying the right triggers, penalties and rewards.