The Currency of Digital Social Media is Visibility. The Value of Visibility is a derivative of Relevance of Content.

Trying to frame the workings of the internet within the context of traditional offline business activity is analogous to applying the terminology horseless carriage to describe the automobile circa 1900. The internet opens up seemingly unlimited possibilities; however one must be ready to expand their range of thinking to maximize its potential much like comparing playing chess on a traditional chessboard to playing on a 3D chessboard.

The new range of thinking can be illustrated by how CBS has shifted its evaluation of its shows from traditional Nielsen ratings to their ranking on social media.

Quick question: Which late night TV host is most followed on the internet? You might be surprised to learn it is not Jimmy Fallon or Stephen Colbert; the two leading hosts ranked by Nielsen, the arbiter of television ratings. They are not even close. Nor is it one of the other 11:30pm primetime late night show hosts. It is James Corden, who follows Stephen Colbert on CBS at 12:30pm EST.

Fallon, Colbert and the other late night hosts are not carried by local broadcast stations globally, neither is Corden. But Corden’s popular recurring sketch, Carpool Karaoke in which he sings with singing sensations and celebrities such as Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber, and with Michele Obama have been outrageously successful on the internet. The clip of Corden singing with Adele alone had over 129 million views and was the most-watched YouTube video of 2016.

CBS, the network that broadcasts Corden’s, The Late Late Night Show refers to Corden’s global popularity as having relevance and defines relevance as a value in the currency of visibility. Similar to bitcoin currency, the currency of visibility is ethereal and must be converted to U.S. dollar currency.  CBS monetized Corden’s relevance by creating a Car Karaoke YouTube channel and partnering with Google AdSense generating revenue from the number of views from the show’s nine million subscribers.*

The fundamental marketing principal for developing business through digital social media is that the more people who become aware about your company increases the potential for doing business with them and their companies. Search engine optimization for online social media sites allows for individual customization of your marketing message. More importantly, it provides the opportunity to have a personal dialogue between your potential client and your company.

The challenge for most companies is how they can profit from digital social media. One rule has been established by the market, you should not use digital social media to blatantly advertise or to directly sell anything.

As dramatically demonstrated by CBS and Corden, relevant content is the secret sauce that distinguishes and elevates your visibility over the competition. The question most often asked by companies is how they can increase their company’s visibility. The currency of digital social media is visibility. The value of visibility is a derivative of relevance of content.

Content needs to be current. You can identify current issues and trends that are of interest to businesses in your industry by reviewing what is being posted on digital social media and craft your company’s social media to respond to the culture.

There are volumes readily available on the internet for why it is important and how to develop business via digital social media. However, consideration should be given to work with companies that specialize in digital social media because of the connectivity for all of your online activity from security, ecommerce, and other internet issues.

An online marketing campaign requires the equivalent strategic process for crafting an offline outreach plan that communicates your company’s value proposition. The key is to carefully define who are your company’s target firmographics and demographics who would be interested in your company’s products/services. The same consideration should also be given for ROI on digital social media costs, measured in terms of dollars, time and effort required.

There are a multitude of social media sites. eBizMBA Rank continually updates averages of each website’s U.S. Traffic Rank from Quantcast and Global Traffic Rank from Alexa and SimilarWeb. The post popular social media sites as determined by eBizMBA Rank on May 1, 2017 are listed below.

Social Media Site eBizMBA Rank Est. Unique Monthly Visitors
Facebook 1 1,500,000,000
YouTube 2 1,499,000,000
Twitter 3    400,000,000
Instagram 4   275,000,000
LinkedIn 5   250,000,000

There is not an ideal social media site for every company. Understanding your target firmographics and demographics will determine your optimal social media sites for your company’s products/services. Measuring the value for having a large quantity of viewers and relevance are subjective and will vary for each company. For example, if you are an art dealer, having viewership or correspondence with only a thousand wealthy art collectors is more valuable than having viewership from ten thousand people whose interest and disposable income are not known.

Connecting your value proposition online to your company’s target firmographics and demographics is essential. Consideration should be given to work with a business development professional who can guide you to the most effective balance of online social media visibility, content and relevance.


*The author would like to give credit for references to Corden and CBS to A. O. Scott for his article, James Corden Is in the Driver’s Seat, published by Esquire in Feb. 2017.