On May 14 the Wall Street Journal's SpeakEasy section of Arts & Entertainment ran a column that reinforced the importance of face-to-face conversation in a world gone "crazy" with social media opportunities. Just as Facebook is about to go public, the critical point raised by Ed Keller and Brad Fay is that despite the huge numbers of people on Facebook, fewer than 1% of brand fans have any active involvement with the brand itself. In other words, the huge numbers that are touted need to be sliced and diced to be seen from a more realistic perspective.
Contrary to that dismal 1% statistic, they discovered that 90% of word of mouth 'real' conversations about brands take place in face-to-face environments - at work, at home, in restaurants, wherever people meet - and these are the places where powerful credibility for a brand is built as people exchange experiences with each other.
I am not dismissing the power of social media, I am merely reminding all of you who are leaders in your firm,or proffessional services marketers, that you need to employ a reasonable mix of marketing and branding tools without relying too heavily on any one tactic. Whether your firm is using Facebook for recruiting future employees, retaining clients or identifying quality prospects, I read this article and thought it was worth passing along to you. It is a reminder, if nothing else, that the power of people interacting with each other in person (rather than through technology driven conversations) should not be overlooked in the rush to leverage the social media wave!