Kietzmann et al. (2011) contend that social media presents an enormous challenge for firms, as many established management methods are ill-suited to deal with customers who no longer want to be talked at but who want firms to listen, appropriately engage, and respond. The authors explain that each of the seven functional building blocks has important implications for how firms should engage with social media. By analyzing identity, conversations, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, and groups, firms can monitor and understand how social media activities vary in terms of their function and impact, so as to develop a congruent social media strategy based on the appropriate balance of building blocks for their community.
According to the European Journal of Social Psychology, one of the key components in successful social media marketing implementation is building “social authority”. Social authority is developed when an individual or organization establishes themselves as an “expert” in their given field or area, thereby becoming an influencer in that field or area.
It is through this process of “building social authority” that social media becomes effective. That is why one of the foundational concepts in social media has become that you cannot completely control your message through social media but rather you can simply begin to participate in the “conversation” expecting that you can achieve a significant influence in that conversation.
However, this conversation participation must be cleverly executed because while people are resistant to marketing in general, they are even more resistant to direct or overt marketing through social media platforms. This may seem counter-intuitive but is the main reason building social authority with credibility is so important. A marketer can generally not expect people to be receptive to a marketing message in and of itself. In the Edleman Trust Barometer report in 2008, the majority (58%) of the respondents reported they most trusted company or product information coming from “people like me” inferred to be information from someone they trusted. In the 2010 Trust Report, the majority switched to 64% preferring their information from industry experts and academics. According to Inc. Technology’s Brent Leary, “This loss of trust, and the accompanying turn towards experts and authorities, seems to be coinciding with the rise of social media and networks.”