The Art of Social Media

Like barter, social media is one of the oldest forms of cultural exchanges where commerce and ideas have traveled freely from one person to another.  Why then, thousands of years later, has social media suddenly become the rage of our modern society?  How is social media evolving, today?

Newly minted buzz terms such as ‘hyperconnectivity’ point to a social media platform on steroids where endurance is measured by one’s ability to multi-task, multi-chat, and multi-exist for a claim to fame that is self-defined, self-awarded and in some cases, self-defeating (i.e. too many applications and not enough time in the day).  So what are companies doing today to successfully incorporate the ‘new social media’ into their next marketing campaigns?

At a recent Harvard-sponsored event on the future of marketing, called FutureM, experts from a wide range of companies shared their winning formulas and theories.  With the pride of a budding artist, well-known companies presented what they considered to be an optimal social media solution, one that subtly positioned their product message/brand during a consumer’s ‘social experiences’, for example, while chatting on Facebook. Company presenters agreed that the ultimate goal for today’s social media is to give customers critical tips, at the very moment they need them most.  Here are what some companies are doing.

Foursquare.com circumvents GPS regulations by allowing users to opt in and keep track of the whereabouts of their friends and families.  If a user agrees, they can friend a company, such as RadioShack, and regularly receive special coupons when passing an outlet.  Convenient and timely, the coupon is a time-sensitive display on a smartphone.  Another example is Audi.  Audi watches for major weather events to occur prior to triggering a Facebook question where they ask die-hard Audi customers how they survived the current storm or blizzard.  The outpouring of accolades and experiences quickly travel throughout Facebook every time readers click the ‘Like’ button, hence agreeing to share an unusually exciting Audi experience with their Facebook friends.  The viral buzz of how reliable an Audi performs in the worst weather conditions at the time everyone is experiencing bad weather is truly priceless.  Another example… Heineken has integrated a predictive game feature for soccer fans who can gain points every time they guess the next play correctly (ie. a corner kick).  Finally, devices such as the IPAD enable consumers to experience a brand or marketing campaign in entirely new ways. These experiences have become reasons for new conversations, interactions, and exchanges with people we know, some we do not and some that we simply invent.

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