Choosing social media solutions for your business can seem difficult, but it begins with an analysis of current options to see which are best fits for your company. Follow our continuation article as we ponder social media with an analogy of a shopping mall. If you have not yet done so, I would highly recommend you read these three posts prior to beginning this article:
- Social Media – The Shopping Mall Analogy
- Social Media For Business Applications
- Businesses Need Social Media
In our analogy, we see the internet as “the mall to end all malls.” The internet is where the world is moving to engage in commerce, and the best stores in the mall are setting up to take advantage of the known traffic patterns and consumer shopping behaviors.
Yesterday, we saw how Ebay, LinkedIn And Facebook fit into the shopping mall analogy, today we’ll discover a few more key locations in the mall and see what benefits they might bring to an internet marketing plan:
- Twitter – Just as most of the news channels on television (today) have a news ticker at the bottom of the screen, this mega-mall of the future (present) has a news ticker in every hallway between stores. Twitter’s bursts of 140 characters scroll along with news about everything; from what Joe Manausa plans on doing this afternoon, to the latest shocking headlines coming from inside of Libya, to the newest home on the market in Phoenix, Arizona. Not all of this information is reliable, but it is lightning fast and reports are much broader and far quicker than traditional news media is able to do. The prudent marketer in the mall ensures that an interest-generating news flash on his business is on the ticker often enough to gain customers, but not so often to have him blocked from the most visible news tickers.
- Forums – Just as your neighborhood mall has a coffee shop where regulars meet, this mega mall has a coffee shop for every single segment that one can imagine. Segments for professions, personalities, hobbies, passions, and addictions draw shoppers from around the mall to share their stories, questions, concerns and opinions. Forums are a great place to find a concentration of highly opinionated individuals, willing to share their thoughts (both rational and crazy alike) and many a store-owner in the mall knows which coffee houses are best for them to frequent. The astute marketing professional knows that a small portion of each day should be spent “chewing the fat” at the coffee house where many prospective customers are sure to congregate. Becoming recognized at a forum as an expert is a sure way to gain trust for your company’s product or services.
- Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Delicious, et al – There are gangs roaming this mall, and they have a great influence on where much of the crowds are heading. Somebody in the gang identifies something interesting, the next thing you know the whole gang is screaming so loud about it that even Google starts advising shoppers to head that way. Smart marketers are always looking at ways to attract the attention of the gangs, but without looking like they are really trying to sell something. These gangs are trendy, and the last thing they want to do is be the voice of a product. Marketing people know that to penetrate these tight groups, they have to go undercover and actually join and be active in the gangs.