I’ve seen so much buzz over social media over the past year, and all the different ways it can be used to market products. Sites and services like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Digg and Delicious have brought a world of new possibilities for advertisers and users online, making the web a place inclusive of user content and truly encouraged a torrent of activity inside these communities.
Now, as content on these sites manages to make its way to so many other platforms through RSS and other content-pushing protocols, it appears that making the user a part of the web experience is a concept as ubiquitous as e-mail was 5 (or even 10) years ago.
So why aren’t more companies investing in social media?
I think the real crux is in the demographics. It’s no secret that the baby-boomer generation is largely computer illiterate not as experienced in the digital world as their successors. Pundits and marketers have even gone so far as to distinguish our current generations’ “digital natives” – those who were born immersed in technology – from “digital immigrants” – those who came to know it later in life. It’s sort of like French immersion, except you don’t really have to put the kids in special schools, they just learn it all on their own.
Some people feel the older generations should “learn to adapt or die”. I don’t see it to be such a cutthroat situation. I’m perfectly happy seeing all those mom-and-pop operations out there doing what they’ve done since 30 years ago and having business bounce along merrily as it always has. Of course if they had some business-savvy digital natives on their side, they could probably run more efficiently, market to people they had never dreamed of in the past and basically be better citizens in the business community.
Stating the Obvious
Researchers of trends in social media have found a surprising an obvious link between age and level of involvement in online communities. They distinguish between those who are simply there to peruse the information already provided and those who are active contributors to a pool of knowledge or art, and all levels of involvement in between.
What it means for those of you who are planning campaigns is that if you’re planning on pitching a campaign for a retirement home, funeral service arranger, luxury sailboat vendor or anything else that costs more than an iPod, chances are social media isn’t where you want to put all your eggs.
Leveraging Social Media for Boomers.
That being said, there is a way to leverage traditional media with emerging tech – consider a little Twitter account that tweets whenever there’s a sale on at a retail store, in conjunction with the radio or TV ads. It takes only a little time to maintain, it’s an immediate score for customers who are looking for the most updates, and you can promote it through your traditional channels.
What does it mean for the client?
- better reach and higher frequency than a traditional media buy;
- a qualified list of brand loyalists (those who are following your twitter account);
- the ability for a target audience to react / respond to your message.
There are tons of cool things you can do with social media apps like Twitter. And the best part about – it’s free. All it takes is time.