by Michael Hawker
The PBS Frontline episode entitled “Generation Like”
explores the relationship between corporate marketing and social media, and how that relationship targets today’s teen demographic.
To some, the nature of how it works may seem disturbing – manipulative and artificial. The image, or illusion, is fabricated around the “like” or the “follow” or the “friend” and those who hold the most of that electronic currency draws the attention and ultimately the money.
What we are all witnessing is the natural evolution in marketing. All advertising is strategically designed to entice potential purchasers. Billboards, magazine ads, radio spots, or television commercials all use the strength of their medium to sell.
Social media is no different. Friend, follow, like, then buy.
Check out the statistics on this power. The infographic tells much of the story.
The advertiser puts the money where the people are…and if everyone is reading that magazine, or watching that show, that paper real estate or that 30-second air time will draw the dollars of investment.
Social media has a much stronger hook in its claw and that is the difference. It is interactive. It relies on people’s desire to be associated with others, whether it is associated with someone famous or one of their real friends or family. The interactivity of it makes it self-perpetuating.
Why should the consuming mobocracy presume anything less? The difference, however, is that our interaction – our clicking – becomes part of the tabulation and everyone can see that interaction. It is now public.
Remember, each and every one of us holds the real power. We can choose to spend our money as we wish. The choice is ours. We can choose whether this currency holds real value or not. To the unaware, they will be manipulated. To the discriminating consumer, the power behind this social media tactic will lose its strength.