Phil Gomes the first PR Blogger, an Edelman VP is on the podium here at the Bulldog PR University in Chicago. Research shows that people trust people like themselves. He refers to Trust Barometer has for three years showed people trust peers more than doctors or academics. Entertainers and atheletes were dead last.
He divides social networking into two camps. One camp is a captive area. Sites that try to keep you. He names MySpace, Friendster and Bebo as examples. More compelling he says are the open social network spaces which denote relationships that form online.
He's talking about B to B PR and pointing out that a blogger can get precisely to the audiences that matter to a company, without touching anyone else. Moving to consumer, he notes that an average MySpace visitor spends an astounding 172 minutes per visit. Facebook is consider the safest of these closed consumer communities and Bebo dominates Europe. Over in South Korea, CyWorld as a community of 19 million users. Gather, one I don't persoanlly know is described as MySpace for grown ups. I think it will be interesting to see if MySpace will let users just leave when they reach a certain age.
Word of mouth is not new, it's been around since the beginning f time, an observation, I'll repeat when I speak later today. He gives a case study of how Edelman used MySpace via a "Forbidden, a popular, somewhat racy woman to promote their Game Killer client. It got word of mouth going and it was transparent in the effort.
He says that as an agency the idea is to find the right voice inside a captive online community. He found four message boards to promote Nissan G35 Coupe, prior t the auto show. The idea was to give something of real value as opposed to just do a promo inside the communities. They went to four message boards. The message board owners treated the video showing the new car was theirs. They then evangelized it into the blogosphere.
He advises PR pros to not to polish videos when they post and to not treat bloggers like lower tier media.
Nice job, Phil.