What’s Your WOW Score?
As a social media consulting firm, one of the major instructional points we try to make is the need for a bit of “wow” when it comes to attracting the attention of consumers. There are two primary types of social media users; those that use Facebook, Twitter and other sites solely to connect with friends and family and those that are open to more general interactions for business and consumer networking. The difference is often associated with the length of time the individual has been using social media…those with longer term experience on social media tend to become more generalized users while those new to the format typically sign-on with the express purpose of interacting with friends and family. This variation in desired objectives forms the basis for different modes of interacting with prospective clients. Small business owners that hope to compete against friends and family for attention in the online social arena must have a heightened “wow” factor or face virtual obscurity.
Does it Pay to Play?
The need to attract attention and create a compelling wow factor might leave some small business owners wondering if it’s all worth it. It’s a valid question with several important insights that should serve to substantiate the need for speed when it comes to competing in the social sphere. First, while the average online social media consumer may originally intend to interact with family and friends, it isn’t long before they begin adding business and professional affiliations. Those entities able to attract attention and gain the desired connection early in the adoption sequence tend to benefit the most. The longer the association the less likely to eliminate it in the long run. Additionally, consumers tend to follow a few brands or business associates within any given category and then dismiss the remainders yielding even greater importance to the need for speed.
Those business entities able to attract attention, gain the connection and provide useful insight into the industry are more likely to retain a client and eliminate competition over the long run. Of course, critics may argue that all this sounds good but it doesn’t really prove that it pays to pay. Fair enough. There is also ample evidence that social media marketing is one of the most financially feasible methods of reaching new and existing clients ever invented! Not only does social media marketing reduce the need for printing cost, mailing, and other advertising methods but the turn-around time is nearly instant, making it possible to create campaigns in a matter of hours (even minutes) rather than days or weeks. Still not convinced? Try this little snapshot on for size; a small hotel in Ireland recently tried out the new Facebook Offers advertising method; within the first 24 hours over 27,000 people claimed the offer generating over $1,000,000 (million!) dollars in revenue. Not a shabby return by any standard!
Lessons Learned by Big Box Stores
Now it’s time to get down to business. What is your Wow score? As a small business owner, are you able to maximize your social media presence in order to grab the attention of consumers or are you simply standing on the sidelines while others snag tomorrow’s best buyers? Today we are going to take a closer look into what some of the major big box stores like Walmart.com are doing to attract the attention of consumers and work some “WOW” factor into their Facebook presence courtesy of WalmartLabs.
1. Moving into Mobile – Big box stores and other major retail outlets recognize the growth of mobile and are making major investments into reaching this emerging segment not only for the ability to connect with consumers on the go, but also as an enhancement to in-store shopping. As more and more consumers connect with mobile applications and other methods of price checking, user reviews and social sharing among friends, retailers run the risk of missing out on important in-store sales without the ability to retain mobile users. Of course, moving into mobile requires a significant social strategy and technical know-how in order to reach different devices…contrary to popular opinion, one size does NOT fit all when it comes to maximizing mobile marketing.
2. Accessible Apps – In addition to entering the mobile marketplace, big box retailers are actively pursuing applications in order to extend their reach and impact among consumers. For instance, Walmart.com has created Shopycat, a Facebook application that mines consumer Facebook data including their prior postings and likes in order to help locate the best gift ideas or other items for family and friends. For instance, the application allows a user to click on a close connection and then analyze their behavior and other interests to make gift giving suggestions. The application might notice the person has a passion for a specific sport or team then suggest gift ideas sold at Walmart.com or maybe a family pet predominates posting resulting in suggested pet products. Does it work? Early indications show an average session time of roughly 15 minutes…a fairly sizable showing for a brand new application.
3. Collective Bargaining – Savvy small business owners should notice a distinctive trend…the switch from an emphasis on the individual social media user to the collective. It’s not your imagination. In fact, Walmart.com calls this the “social genome” and has actually purchased Kosmix, a Silicon Valley data mining company that specializing in data derived exclusively from various social connections. The trend is clear, whether consumers are checking in and sharing location based data with friends and family or sitting on the sidelines trying to find the right gift, mobile marketing is increasingly invisible – yet integral – to the shopping experience. Tapping into this in the early stages is an urgent necessity for every small business owner that hopes to maintain a meaningful experience with social media users.