Social media peer pressure, or why I might be watching X Factor this weekend

I’ve always considered myself an independently minded person. I thought that rushing to see what the buzz is all about was for the weak. X Factor, not my cup of tea. Siri? Why would I need that? Win a year’s supply of tea from Tetley? What’s the catch?

Turns out I’m one of the weak and never knew. Thanks, Twitter.

It’s not the single tweet that does it. It’s many, from lots of different people. Over and over again. What am I missing out on? This is why popularity plays a role in brand health. I knew it in my head, but not in my heart.

And it’s not just tweets and FB posts either. Online, so much is ranked by popularity. More than ever before, thanks to the combined power of YouTube, Vimeo and artful apps like Flipboard, I can be drawn into rich media too and see what everyone else is seeing. I can pick my apps based on what everyone else likes.

Of course, various studies have found that following brands on Twitter or Facebook is related to purchase intent. To which I say, ‘duh’. Why would I follow a brand I wasn’t interested in?

Then, how can brands and advertisers take advantage of social media? All of it makes it both easier and more difficult to reach the masses. I’ve said before, for Campaign, it’s not as easy as just 140 characters. Instead of standing out against a handful of other ads out on a couple of channels in the 1970s, you’ve got to stand out against that plus UGC plus any other kind of entertainment and information that exists anywhere on the Internet.

A compelling message helps, as does a good product and investment. But, if it’s popularity that makes social most compelling, then twexponential growth counts most, not the single brand feed. So, whenever you get the smallest hint of that growth, pounce on it and milk it for all it’s worth. It’s not going to come around every day.

So, will I be watching X Factor this weekend? Let me just check my timeline first.

Tara is a Research Director at Ipsos ASI.

  • Charles Frith

    I see that a former American Idol star just fluffed singing her national anthem in front of the country. X Factor is panem et circensis. By all means use low brow entertainment to distract from fake wars in Libya fueling British oil addiction or the notion that most cities are 9 meals away from fratricidal vivisection but hey whatever it takes. Go to sleep Britain. Go back to sleep.

  • Sarah Vernon

    I’m not sure I’d still be watching X Factor if it wasn’t for Twitter – the snark and commentary is just too fun to ignore…

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