However, something even more important to note is that marketers have already begun to lose control. An excellent example of this is the vast spread of Honest Tea. Honest Tea does little marketing and most people hear about it by word of mouth. They didn’t expect a lot of earned media from the Honest City campaign, yet their campaigns were spotted and spread like wildfire. Honest Tea is a perfect example of viral marketing and characterizes the basic dynamics of “buzz”. A company can no longer allow the public to spread the message; they will surrender their control over how it will spread.
I am currently reading a book in my Public Relations course through the Northwestern Medill IMC program called Twitterville-How Business can Thrive in New Global Neighborhoods. The title alone should be a red flag for most companies. The author, Shel Israel, expands on the fact that companies no longer have the option of ignoring conversations. Israel guarantees “no matter where a person is from or what they do for a living, they will find conversations on Twitter that are valuable.” Essentially, social media is not only where information spreads but also where people become excited about different topics, products, and places. The quick shift from information sharing to being called to action by excitement is what marketers need to watch out for.
Essentially, marketers may be losing control of how messages about their products or services are spreading, yet they can still work on improving their strategic intuition when it comes to using social media to grow their businesses. Within the next couple of years, the amount of time spent on social networking sites will increase dramatically and marketers must develop effective communication plans through these high traffic channels.