Only 7% of word-of-mouth happens online. This is a key figure in understanding that leaving a digital footprint is part of a sophisticated process; diverse drivers explain why an idea goes online. For instance, when citizens want an idea to go public when it comes to a cause. Or when content becomes a part of a social currency - if you're a fan of the L.A. Lakers, it does matter to publish your happiness when the team wins.
However a fundamental part of social relationships is very rarely approached in digital studies, nor are they properly implemented within organizations - all the invisible activities that are led by community managers, content strategists and Chief Digital Officers etc.
Chatting is far More Engaging than Tweeting
If you had a chance to visit a media room, you'll discover that most of the journalists are actually talking to a lot of stakeholders on Google Hangout, but also on WeChat, WhatsApp and Skype etc. When they look for insiders' information, they directly go this very personal space - the good old address book is now the contact list you have on your favourite messenger app. These conversations are tremendously important in the new information lifecycle - that's where gossip happens, where you can express a more informal point of view and where you can be introduced to other people.
It's probably more important than public social space in the sense that users seem to "control" the relationship and can decide when an idea should go public. Most of the ideas that are going to go viral happen in these fields and they should be considered as the most important social channels.
In terms of time spent with smartphones, about 10% of total time is about social messaging (not even mentioning traditional communication like... calling). It's gigantic in terms of volume of ideas that are shared in a private and invisible way.
Meeting in Real Life is the Most Relevant Place
Have you ever seen real-life "trolls"? Godwin's Law, when it happens in the tangible world, is often very dramatic - it leads to wars, fights and long-lasting family troubles.
The good news is that real life brings a brand new context to social relationships - you can redefine a point of view and you can express an idea while debating. The modus operandi is far more dynamic than what happens on Twitter or in comments. From a User Experience perspective, it's complicated to develop a pervasive and shared idea within social spaces.
Not so many brick and mortar shops, hotels and streets are designed to generate digital footprints. It is thus an organic social channel which can be thought as part of the overall social media strategy, as Facebook or Instagram.
We don't have Multi-Attention whilst we Multitask
Most of the brands that go digital try to reach consumers during the day. But let's face it, if you try to reach a plumber via Facebook while he's fixing a customer's bathroom, your chance to reach him is very low. Even worse, brands follow their office hours, not consumers' ones.
Have you ever discovered how many brands communicate by night? Very few of them, whereas we are generally less multi-tasking in our beds and are more available.
The invisible activities that we don't express on social media channels, should be approached better.
Invisible matters when it comes to generating footprints.