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How Passive Information Users Could Make or Break Your Business

September 18th, 2013 by

How Passive Information Users Could Make or Break Your BusinessSuccessful business marketing today is all about recruiting passive members of the social media world for propagating information conducive to generating familiarity and revenue. By specifically targeting people who are referred to as “lurkers,” or those who spend a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest but never post, make comments or share things they find interesting, businesses can tap into a demographic that social media monitoring analysts continuously ditch for the “cool” kids on social media sites.

Businesses that depend on social media for reaching customers often fail to realize how much of their revenue relies solely on “aggressive” social media users, i.e. individuals who routinely pass on significant amounts of information to anyone who hasn’t blocked them. What would happen to a business if the majority of those share-button obsessed users suddenly decided to jump-ship and paddle over to another company? Who are these aggressive users anyway?

Research results culled from social media monitoring surveys reveal that a person’s “digital footprint” has a profound influence on whether they are active or passive users. Digital footprints are steady online data trails that form a fairly complete picture of how someone incorporates himself into a social media network. As expected, these surveys also indicated that people with extensive digital footprints are more likely to propagate information on the Internet rather than offline “word of mouth” methods apparently preferred by passive information users.

According to a 2011 Cornell University articled titled “Influence and passivity in social media” by Daniel Romero et al, “discovering influential individuals within a network…can, on average, have a further reach than others in the same network.” Consequently, the question that should be plaguing business marketing strategists is how to make everyone participating on a social network an “influential” individual, including those mysterious passive information users who resist passing on information even though they may find it useful or fascinating.

Get those passive users sharing your posts, statuses or tweets by implementing interactive widgets like quizzes designed to “qualify” the user for a product or service. No one can resist answering questions about themselves, especially personal inquiries regarding health, emotions and relationships. Creating a quiz that incorporates your product or service but does not scream “advertisement!” can provide that gentle but firm nudge passive users need to share information. Remember that social marketing is more about reaching as many consumers as possible and not about making a quick sale.

Another “dangle the bait” type of marketing strategy designed to push lurkers over the edge is offering freebies without a catch. Make it easy for someone to get something free and they will be sure to share the info–along with your brand name and product details. This is a shameless psychological ploy that works because it makes lurkers (as well as the sharers with OCD) feel like they–not your company–are being a sort of digital Santa Claus by sharing the chance to get something free.

Kimberly M is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.


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