Part III:Â The Inverse
My previous musings noted that successful performances in the social media space hinge on playing by the rules of offline social dynamics.
But a few weeks back I read an article in the New York Times (For College Students, Social Media Tops the Bar Scene) that for me really crystallized just how dramatically social media is actually reshaping offline social life, especially in younger generations.Â (It also offers stale and obvious commentary on college drinking habits â€“ not steering you toward the article for that side of its contentâ€¦)
Iâ€™d site two notable shifts.Â The first â€“ weâ€™re so much better informed.Â Iâ€™m not talking about the quick-paced, socially-linked news cycle (which is huge, but not a point Iâ€™m running with) â€“ Iâ€™m talking about how we can choose to know what our friends and family members literally around the world are doing at any given moment â€“ and make choices about what we want to do and where we want to go based on that information.Â As noted in the NYT article, we donâ€™t need to â€śwaste our timeâ€ť going to a bar at an off time or with an off-crowd.
Another shift:Â social media cross-pollinates ideas so fast, which means weâ€™re more exposed to and aware of EVERYTHING â€“ news, fashion, food, travel, etc. Â I think this has a beautiful and oft-ignored upside of making us more worldly, more sophisticated and generally more open to experimenting and trying new things.Â We enthusiastically seek out, and easily stumble upon, new drinks, flavors, experiences, destinationsÂ – that we can then excitedly share back with our social communities online.
There are also learnings for the marketer shrouded in these shifts.
Knowing that our consumer is using social media to shape where she goes and when â€“ how can we influence that behavior to our advantage? Iâ€™m thinking of events and opportunities offered in short, finite windows of time that create excitement and energy and ultimately movement and action from consumers.Â Flash sales, secret/hidden events, unique dining or drinking opportunities.Â Stuff thatâ€™s cool enough to drive the participant to encourage her friends to come join in the fun.
Can we challenge ourselves to be more daring and creative when it comes to what we offer our consumer?Â And can we become richer sources of ideas and inspiration for them so theyâ€™re compelled to continue experimenting, and sharing their triumphs out with their networks â€“ and rewarding them for doing so?Â And in the reverse, can we do a better job of tapping them for ideas?
Iâ€™m certainly not the first to note that what this all adds up to is a continually savvier and more demanding consumer â€“ which could be kind of a pain in theâ€¦neck.Â But if we can embrace this era and adapt to it, I think it opens the door to have a lot more fun with the consumer, and do a lot more sharing and collaborating.Â
Sara Linderman, StrategistTweet this | Tags: consumer, ideas, marketing, shift, social media, Strategy, trends