Why You Need to Use Social Context when Marketing

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Say, for a moment, that you wanted to eat at a restaurant but have never been there before. And let’s say that you could look online for user reviews, you could ask people inside of the restaurant if the food was good, or you could ask your friends what they thought of it. Which would you likely choose? By and large, most people go with their friends – their social circle. If members of their social group likes something, they’re more likely to share those feelings. And that’s exactly what social context is, and that’s exactly why it’s so important to use this type of context when you advertise on Facebook.

Some cynical people may view the Internet as the absolute worst humanity has to offer. But anyone who has studied the behavior of humans and our evolution knows that it’s a logical step in our social structure. We’re no longer confined to the tribes in which we were born. We can now branch out for social acceptance. The savvy businessperson realizes this and uses social context tap into the most important niche in the history of mankind: A person’s friends.

How Social Context Develops Online

It may sound a bit confusing at first unless you’re privy to social context, but when you reach beyond a potential customer and reach out to that inner circle of friends, family and, for the purposes of social media, even moderate acquaintances, you’re building a level of trust that’s usually not granted to any type of advertiser save those family-trusted huge brand names.

In a social context, whatever you’re promoting is viewed as something acceptable. Often times, if enough people have liked it before the next person sees it, the content of the ad isn’t even focused on; it’s the like button that’s focused on. If it has 42 thumbs up and only a few thumbs down, it’s an instant click. That person just has to see what’s so special about the ad!

It all plays in to word-of-mouth in a way. That thumbs up signals to other people that the material is worthy of viewing. Thus it’s not only viewed, it’s often also liked. What we’re talking about here is a chain reaction with an ad that plays to social context. The more people who like the ad, the more likes it will get going forward. It’s extremely rare for something to start out liked and then suddenly trend downward. Ads aren’t on Facebook for a long enough duration to have the tides turn completely.

As for hard data, that has also been compiled on the matter. When people receive an ad that their friend has spoke highly of, that ad has a success rate of 92%. Imagine, if you will, that you’re sitting at your computer one day and get a message: “Hey, man. You gotta check this out!” Your obvious play is to check it out. And since your friend liked it initially, you are programmed to share that response – or at least you’re inclined to lean that way.

So the next time you start developing ads, you need to think about social context and how you can reach out beyond a user and to an actual group to start the ball rolling.

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the Chief Editor at Qwaya.com. Qwaya is a Facebook Ad campaign tool that provides a self-serviced interface. Besides writing about Social Media trends and online marketing, Craig takes writes and studies about social engagement online.
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  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/blog/ Nick Stamoulis

    “It all plays in to word-of-mouth in a way. ”

    I definitely agree with you on that one. Social media is really just online word-of-mouth. People want to know ahead of time that they will be happy with the purchases they make. When someone they trust (even if it’s just the collective opinion and not someone they know personally) says your brand is a good buy, you have a leg up over the competition.

  • http://www.social.thinkitmedia.com/ thinkitmedia

    I agree with you and Nick on this issue. It’s just like shopping around for a mechanic. You are not going want to use the one with a great review in the marketing section of the newspaper but the one suggested by a friend. Good Stuff!