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Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business, 2nd Edition by Erik Qualman

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Chapter One

Word of Mouth Goes World of Mouth

Ask any Fortune 500 executive, small business owner, or sole proprietor what the most effective form of marketing is, and I guarantee the answer, without hesitation, is word of mouth. Word of mouth is not a new concept, but what happens when this is taken to another level? What happens when word of mouth goes to World of Mouth®?

As depicted in Figure 1.1, an oversimplified historical model of word of mouth works something like this: Joe User has a great experience with his Dell computer; then he tells his friend Kelly about it and why he likes it. Kelly in turn tells her friends about it and so on down the line. This is a great model. However, no model is perfect. A few shortcomings of this model are: (1) the news/information can be slow to spread; (2) the original information can be altered as it changes hands; and (3) Kelly's friends may not know much about Joe. The beauty is that social media helps word of mouth overcome these imperfections. Yet, surprisingly, as of July, 2012, 70 percent of big company CEOs have no presence on social networks.1

Figure 1.1 Difference between Word of Mouth and World of Mouth

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While traditional word of mouth can be slow to spread, the opposite is true for Facebook status updates. These updates are pushed via news feeds to all friends in the network. Or, to an even greater extent, a platform like Twitter ...

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