Facebook Friends (Businesses’ Best Friends, too!)
Posted by crhunter
This week, I found myself thinking about my Amazon book purchases after reading Socialnomics: “Death of a Social Schizophrenia.” Quite a bit of interesting material caught my attention, and for this entry, I ended up thinking about social media and its selling power.
Qualman notes that Amazon introduced us to the selling technique of “People who purchased this book also purchased these other ones.” I immediately thought about the times I have skimmed the titles of books brought to my attention in this way after having bought another title. Social media has really transformed the way we receive referrals. Therefore, I was more and more interested as I read Qualman’s description of “Referral Programs on Steroids” and how this holds true in my own experience.
The Amazon model provides to users a list of titles they might want to buy based on other people with similar tastes. Yet as users, we don’t know these other people. In fact, “they are an aggregation of thousands of others who happen to have the same purchasing patterns” (131). They are not our friends or family or close acquaintances; only we might share similar buying habits, and that is the connection. It’s a marketing technique.
Qualman describes social media as taking this referral program “one giant step further” because while social media will continue to offer what the universe enjoys, it allows us a much deeper and closer referral program: our specific network. Within our networks, we have circles of trust. Qualman gives to us the example of a friend who normally reads romance who then refers a sci-fi book. Because we know and trust this friend, we may be much more likely to want to read this book after we read her post proclaiming her love of the book. We buy the book; we have just been sucked into the power of social media to make a purchase because of the referral by a known and trusted source. I have done this before. Have you?
However, I have ignored countless recommendations from Amazon. I am little affected by the note that others (like me) have also purchased these others items. It rarely influences me to make another purchase. I might look (window shop), but have never bought in this fashion. If Amazon found a way to connect my friends and family to my purchases, I might be more easily persuaded to buy. Social media definitely “beefed up” the referral program. The implications of this power for companies and businesses are great, and as Qualman writes, “Well, the referral floodgates have been opened my friends” (132).
One of my most recent purchases influenced by social media did indeed come from my Facebook page. Emily Dickinson is a “friend” of mine, and as a result, I was referred to this collection of her letters. I bought it within a week of reading the post. Thus, social media’s referral program within my network worked! Sale complete on my behalf.
I happened to find another book on Amazon while searching for books on the power of friends: Friendfluence. Of course, my eyes then wandered down to the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section, and I did in fact look at the titles to see the buying patterns of those who bought Friendfluence. The book actually does reference the power of social networks. It might be an interesting read.
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