Human To Human Recommendations Are King

During a recent consulting session, we were having a great conversation with an attorney about the powerful value of social media marketing. Being the type of client who didn’t need convincing on why social is imperative, we mainly analyzed consumer behavior as well as what the future might hold for social, and the digital world beyond.

As the conversation went on, we dove into the H2H Social theory that social media is the new search, when it comes to hyperlocal marketing. The attorney looked a little bit puzzled, so we followed up the claim with a real-life example.

We gave the attorney this scenario (feel free to ask yourself the same questions): let’s say you’re out of town on business. You’re in San Francisco, for the first time ever. You have a black-tie event to attend, and need the best in the biz to style your hair for the occasion. What to do?

Question 1

Option A): Google it.

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Option B): Ask your Facebook community for a recommendation.

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Question 2

To break this down further, we posed this question: does Google have the ability to experience businesses as a human, and/or a scale to rate customer service, from a direct experience? No. Do other humans you know personally (via Facebook or other social channel)? Yes.

Question 3

Who do I want to take advice from, for a place that offers great service and good results? A robot, or a human I know and trust?

Going back to the H2H Social belief that as much as AI will soon be capable of, it will never fully replace the human condition; emotions, preferences, and nature/nurture responses based on each individuals life experience.

To conclude this post, we wanted to share an excerpt from human economy expert, Bryan Kramer. In his book Shareology, Kramer explores where we came from as humans who share, and where we might be headed. With it, Kramer explains that social media is at the top of the list for communication tools, especially for brands.

Kramer writes:

“As far as brands are concerned, one of the biggest shortcomings of the Digital Age is the disconnection between their (brands) own self-recognition as an entity and the individual humans they’re trying to serve. Brands most often turn to technology first to make quick connections at scale but forget what makes people want to interact with them in the first place- a human-to-human connection. This is especially true on social channels.”

 

Why Social Beats Search, When It Comes To Business

At the dawn of the Internet age, information was the most important form of content for businesses. For that reason, traditional search engines, like AOL, Google, and Yahoo!, flourished. However, as the digital world evolves, more and more content must be sorted through to find what’s real and what’s valuable. There are times, as a consumer, when I search for information on Google. But, when the results show up, I find myself being more and more skeptical and asking the question, “but is this ‘top-ranked’ business really the best option for what I need?”

Google’s ranking is based on an algorithm, or in another word, a robot. SEO (search engine optimization) companies have perfected the science of writing pages upon pages of optimized content in order to convince Google’s algorithm, that that particular brand is number one.

But, at the end of the day, are those brands who hire the SEO companies actually number one,when it comes to good business?

Sure, review sites like Yelp! are good because they usually showcase real people with real experiences. But, one of the first things any marketing agency will tell a client to do to get started, is have their employees and their employees’ family members go on those review sites, and create pseudo-consumer accounts, and then leave positive feedback.

Still, as consumers, we’re trusting robots.

What sets social media apart from traditional search engines and essentially, robots, is the fact that you’re dealing with real humans, and not only that, you know those humans, personally (most of the time). Instead of typing “best Italian food in __(insert city)__” into Google and searching, you’re probably more likely to post a status on Facebook to your local connections, and ask, “where’s the best place for Italian food in __(insert city)__?” I’m not sure about baby boomers, but for millennials and beyond, this is the new search, when it comes to discovering local businesses.

At the heart of the matter, as much as social media is looked at as a “digital trend,” it’s really more about human connection than any other form of digital communication. Social media is bringing back the value of being committed to good business. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, are holding businesses accountable- because nobody wants a negative review showing up to one customer’s network of 500+ local, potential customers.

Good business and human connection are still the number one driving forces behind productivity, and revenue. With that, you can only get true human connection for business in one place on the Internet, and that’s social media.

Ultimately, here’s the difference between social and search: When you want a recommendation for a good business, who do you trust more? A robot, or a human that you know and trust?

Originally published on March 30, 2016