The recent economic meltdown has clearly set people in all walks of life back a step or more. People eat out less, remodel their home rather than sell it, and go to the local theater instead of traveling. It’s all about saving money, and being frugal. In the business world, smaller staffing, reduced advertising, and faster product introductions are key elements to staying in the game.
But, what about social networking, including the use of blogs?
In short, don’t turn your back on important tools that can make a difference to your business. The importance of connecting with your clients is huge in today’s marketplace. Using a blog or other social networking tools has been proven to be a terrific method of reaching out and creating a “relationship” with your client. Just remember that once you start, stopping can have a negative impact that nobody wants to contemplate.
Social Networking is showing up in all kinds of places. In the recent election, Barack Obama used the web effectively to build awareness and to raise money. The website, “my.barackobama.com” allowed supporters to create profiles, to “talk” to each other and to share ideas and commitments. By election day, more than 200,000 offline dinners and local fundraisers had taken place. During the last week of the election, supporters could log in and get lists of people to call via telephone in swing states. More than three million phone calls were generated in four days. By contrast, John McCain had a weak Social Network, with Obama out-teching him four to one on Facebook, 24 to one via Twitter, and three to one via his campaign website.
Not only did the Obama campaign get people to log in, it collected information as well. The campaign collected 13 million email addresses, a million mobile phone numbers, and more than one half billion dollars via online donations.
Using Social Networking is not a 15 minute endeavor, however. The messages you generate must be clear. The incentive to stay connected must be communicated in mere seconds. The “connection” with your audience must be nearly instant. This requires thought and constant updating and communication. As you think through your marketing plans for the year, don’t underestimate either the power of using these tools, or the time that will be required for you, or an agent such as our team, to get the job done.
And the worst thing you can do is to create Internet-based networking mechanisms and to then ignore them. There’s no point to creating a facebook page if you don’t update it. If you ask people to follow you on Twitter and you then decide you’re too busy, people will notice. And, as perception is today’s reality, a blog left unattended for several weeks is just as likely to make your customers think you’re failing as is an empty office with trash on the floor.
Social networking is the number 1 place to target young people. It’s also been suggested that social advertising has overtaken TV!! I don’t know if it’s true now but I think that it is certainly likely to be the case in the next two years.It’s a place to watch and be watched, a place to engage and react to what’s around us. This level of interaction allows users to create their own discourse in a way that TV and other advertising platforms are unable to achieve on their own.
Sam makes a good point about young people generally. Individuals who have grown up with digital technology (digital natives) are clearly comfortable expressing themselves, sharing info about themselves (being transparent), and interacting with whomever the publisher of material might be (blog, tweet, newspaper, etc.). Television is a much larger mechanism for delivery of content, but it continues to be fairly passive, even with on-screen links to websites, text message voting, etc. And, as Sam noted, the ability to interact is essential for any digital native.