Click on the PDF link for the complete article.
In today's fragmented media landscape, generating positive word of mouth (WOM) among consumers has become an important tool for marketers. Marketers are challenged with identifying influential individuals in social networks and connecting with them in ways that encourage WOM message movement. In this article, we explore the nature of social networks, their role in influence, and the characteristics of the most influential individuals. We also examine the characteristics of viral marketing messages. Our findings contradict the commonly accepted notion that WOM influence comes from an elite, highly-connected few. Rather our research suggests that most people are moderately connected and are as willing as the highly connected to share marketing messages with others. Also, we find that influence is motivated by our basic human need to be helpful by giving advice, and that people share a common enjoyment in seeking out valuable information. The implications of these findings for marketers are discussed.
- © Copyright 2007 The ARF. All rights reserved.