We are informed constantly that social media will change the way companies do business, yet at the same time we are witnessing some initial buyer’s remorse and disappointment with social media due to the lack of tangible results. Both apply, but the lack of success is partly because we have not changed enough.

All too often, we apply traditional thinking to social media, building up ever-larger fan and follower counts to increase message reach. This approach is natural, born from years of measuring call-to-action responses in low, single-digit percentages but social media actually works best in the opposite way. It is far more effective to have a more meaningful connection with a smaller group who will in turn propagate and share the message with people in their networks. Shareability—an ugly term, I know—is fast becoming the buzzword du juor, using advocates as conduits (I hesitate to use the word channel here). If studies claiming that people trust other people far more than marketers are to be believed, reaching new audiences through advocates, is the core of social media.

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