2007 was a good year for holiday shopping. comScore reported that online shopping totaled nearly $28 billion, up 19 percent from 2006. Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday all had record traffic compared to previous years, according to Hitwise. Hopefully, your business experienced similar results.
But that was then. This is now.
As you look forward to 2008, what marketing tactics are you deploying that will improve your bottom line even more? Is the use of social media a consideration? If not, it should be.
According to MediaPost, one out of every four Internet users visit sites such as MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr at least once a month. And as social networks become more commonplace, the percentage is only going to increase in both the number of visitors as well as frequency of visits.
What does this portend for you?
To answer that, let me refer to a long-held mantra: “Markets are conversations. Participation is marketing.”
If your customers are engaged in conversations on social networks, blogs and other forms of social media, shouldn’t you be as well? Let me suggest a basic strategy you can employ right now to join the conversation:
Monitor the conversation going on about you, your company and your
products. Begin subscribing to RSS feeds using Google Reader
(Reader.google.com). Google News and Technorati are two good places to
start.For a good explanation of what RSS is and how to subscribe to feeds, visit Commoncraft.com and view a short video entitled RSS in Plain English. It’s absolutely the best explanation I’ve found and entertaining, too!
Respond via comments on blog posts, forums, or consumer review sites. When you find your company is being talked about, don’t be passive, especially if what’s being said is negative in tone. Be respectful and state your case. More than once, I’ve seen critics become advocates simply because their complaints were responded to by a representative in the company.
Become a proactive participant. Start a blog. Set up a business page on Facebook, create a profile at MySpace and Squidoo, or even go so far as to create your own social network using one of the many tools available, such as Ning (Ning.com).
Over the next few months I’m going to take considerable pains to break down specific strategies and tactics. But you don’t have to wait for me. Take time to do some research. Tips and advice on how to use social media for marketing purposes abound.