Facebook, Blogs, Wikis, My Space, Twitter, Delicious, Linked In....what are all these things people are talking about?
Social networking can be defined, generally, as online/web applications that allow people to connect to people in collaborative and social ways to share information and build networks.
For retailers, social networking offers new ways to connect to customers (how many "fans" does your store's Facebook page have?) and to tap into the peer-to-peer communications and promotional opportunities occurring on the web today.
But where do you start? Learning about the "social technographics" of your customers might be it! Social technographics are like demographics for social networking online.
Groundswell offers a great online tool to allow you to find out a bit more about Technographics of groups by age, country, and gender.
Based on their research data, they will give you the percent of their survey repondents that "rank" on six scales:
1. Creators: Those the publish content (blogs, YouTube, etc.) online. (Find Creators in your student population to help with you store's Facebook page!)
2. Critics: Those that comment on blogs and post ratings/reviews to products and services.
3. Collectors: Use RSS feeds to follow many blogs and "tag" websites (Delicious) and people (such as in Facebook).
4. Joiners: Use social networking sites (such as Linked In).
5. Spectators: Read blogs, watch vidoes on YouTube, listen to podcasts, etc.
6. Inactives: Are not active in social networking/social media activities.
Checking out the Groundswell tool for 18-24 yo US folks of both genders, you see that many more of them are Joiners and Spectators versus Creators and Collectors. As you review this information and consider how your store might get into social networking/media use, this insight might help you determine where to start and what activities to offer your customers.
Oh, and for the Collectors reading this, be sure to sign up for the RSS feed of The Retail Muse! :-)
Tony Ellis, CAE