As technology continues to grow, consumers continue to open themselves to internet hackers and those that would misuse personal information. For the most part, marketers want as much consumer data as possible. This makes marketers partially responsible for protecting the information about consumers that they collect and store in databases.
But what role does the consumer have in protecting his or her information? Every detail that we post on any social media is out there for millions to see. Even if one has there profile more secure by restricting content to “friends,” one is still vulnerable. Think about it. How close are you to all of your hundreds of Facebook friends? One wouldn’t write their cellphone number on a public restroom wall, yet some post it on their profiles. GPS on our mobile devices tracks our devices, but we also voluntarily “check in” to restaurants, stores and events.
The 2013 US Consumer Data Privacy Study: Mobile Edition found that 22% of smartphone users identify privacy as a primary concern. If marketers want to use any form of mobile marketing, they have to be sure that they are protecting there consumer databases.
For marketers, the question is often posed whether to focus on the quality of social content or the sheer quantity. If I were picking a side between quantity and quality, I would normally choose quality, hands down. In the case of a social media marketing campaign, I would say it depends. The two factors that would influence the correct choice would be the audience and the brand.
First, a marketer has to know and understand a brand’s target audience. When trying to market to a teenager the quantity of social media presence comes in play. When a brand has a higher educated audience more time has to be spent perfecting the message. A marketer also has to understand the brand or product that it is promoting. For example when trying to promote a sale for a retail brand the message does not have to be over elaborate or meaningful. If a nonprofit is trying to raise awareness about a social issue, more thought has to be put into the content to make it meaningful in order to move people. However, marketers must continue to provide what consumers want, which is content, content and even more content. So first messages must exist for an audience to view. Then it can be said that a large quantity of content that is of poor quality will not engage an audience. Therefore, the more time and energy consuming quality content is more effective in maintaining an actively engaged audience.
A social media marketing campaign can be overloaded with content and get a vast number of responses, generating a vast number of likes on Facebook or Twitter followers but no lasting connections may be made. Or a campaign can consist of minimal content with thought provoking and inspiring messages that stay with an audience making them customers for life. Living things need water to survive, and the Earth has a vast amount of water but over 96% of the water on Earth is saline and cannot be consumed. In my opinion, quality is more important normally because having a lot of nothing still is nothing. However, a good balance of both would make social media campaigns more successful.
As social media users and participation rates continue to grow, marketers need a way to find to keep track of all the information related to their brand. Enter the hashtag. Wikipedia defines a hashtag as “a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed with the symbol #.” But for marketers it is so much more than a metadata tag.
For starters it is a way to promote a campaign. Twitter and other social media platforms is where marketers interact with consumers. The hashtag is the new how. A creative hashtag can inspire current followers to voice their opinion about a topic, which further spreads a campaign’s message. Marketers can even see what is trending on social media in order to join in on conversations and engage consumers who might not be following them in the first place.
Now brands can actually use allow customers to use a hashtag to purchase a product and pay for it too. American Express has paired with Twitter to launch @AmexSync, in which card members can sync their American Express card with their Twitter account to take advantage of special deals by retweeting with a hashtag. Maybe by next Christmas, I can make all of my gift purchases through Twitter. Emerging media are always evolving. Who knows what the future of the hashtag will hold?
Social media is quite frankly, a godsend, for marketers. The amount of information that users post freely that can be collected, marketers would never have access to other wise. Marketers not only use social sites to collect data on consumers, but they advertise there as well. Everyone knows that these social media sites make the majority of there income through advertisements, but these advertisements are not effective if they are not seen. The power then falls to the users.
This chart shows how much each user is worth to social media sites.
Now that we know we are worth approximately $95 to Facebook, is that enough? But what are users worth to the marketers that pay Facebook and other sites? The amount of information that users post, is invaluable to marketers. As we update our status that we are going grocery shopping, we do not leave it there. Many include where he or she is shopping and what we are buying, virtually providing free advertising for a brand. Besides the data that marketers collect from Facebook, the increased awareness that a brand or product achieves through advertising and being active on social media is just as priceless. Would each brand consider a like from a user as worth at least $95? More? What other benefits do brands experience by using social media?
This week something inevitable will occur. Thanksgiving Day? No, the more important days after. Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Each year the biggest shopping days of the year get even bigger. Retailers spend a majority of their marketing budget on advertising for Black Friday. This year will be no different, except for an increase in the use of emerging media to promote sales on these days. Retailers are creating apps and increasing their ad presence on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, which by the way are publicly traded companies now.
Black Friday is traditionally the busiest day for retailers. However, the way we shop is changing. IBM’s Cyber Monday report found that “more than18% of consumers used mobile devices to visit retailer sites.” Just as more and more people participate in buying products online, they also are using the internet and social media to comment on their purchases. Marketers need to make sure that they accommodate Cyber Monday into their marketing budgets because Cyber Monday shoppers are beginning to spend more than Black Friday shoppers. Emerging technologies are used to make our lives easier. The creation of a completely digital shopping experience takes all the fears of holiday shopping. No longer will anyone have to wait in line and fight massive crowds only to find out that the item he or she got out of bed for is out of stock. What if marketers boycotted Black Friday, (which now starts on Thursday during Thanksgiving dinner) and focused all of their energy and budgets on promoting staying with family and shopping in your pajamas. Check out this infographic about the explosive growth of Cyber Monday.
Will the growth of Cyber Monday eventually eliminate the need for Black Friday? Personally, I plan missing out on the Black Friday deals, crowds, and complete madness and opting in to getting all of my holiday shopping done while drinking my coffee next Monday morning.
Last week, I pledged to start using Foursquare to help find deals and uncover new gems here in Morgantown. I found the app very useful even though I was not able to take advantage of any deals.
I did, however, begin to realize the great opportunity that social media provides for small businesses. The thought came to me when using Foursquare to find someplace different to go for dinner on Saturday, when I found new restaurant downtown that I had no idea existed when I had walked right past it several times this month.
Social media can be the most useful tool that a new business can utilize to alert a community about its opening. It can be used to build buzz and attract the interest of local news media, and thus reach a larger audience. In a world that is dominated by the big dogs, social media evens the playing field. Although small businesses does not have the raw spending power of major corporations they can easily have a similar reach. Local businesses are catching on quickly and will increase spending on social media advertising over the next few years.
If I had a small business, I would place most of my advertising budget in the social media arena even though it is hard to measure the exact success of a single campaign. Even larger companies acknowledge the fact that social media is the new reality for word of mouth marketing. This week I have plans to eat at the new local restaurant that I found on Foursquare and will continue to use my own social media to discover and support local businesses.
Being a relatively inexperienced social media user, last week I set out to uncover and find out things that I do not know. One fact that almost everyone, including myself, knows about social and emerging media is that it has gone mobile. Yes, as a society, we are always on the move but we can take our information and connectivity with us.
I am a part of Generation Y which is the the first generation that is completely connected. About 72% of that group own smart phones. Time Magazine published that around 70% of adults ages born in the 1980s and 1990s check their phones every hour. Constantly connected. This is a fact that companies need to leverage when using emerging media to market their products and services. One way that this is happening is through location based apps like Foursquare and Facebook places. These apps respond to when consumers near stores and reward them with special offers. This is the newest way to almost instantly drive customers into stores.
I have not used any of these apps, but I am a fan of savings, and as part of my blogger resolutions, have just downloaded Foursquare to my android. Hopefully I will save some money and learn something in the process. To be continued…