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Consumers Are Connected: Are You?

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Just the other day, I went shopping with a friend of mine who is obsessed with her phone. She checked into the mall via Foursquare, telling others exactly where she intended to shop. We found some cute shoes, which prompted her to like the brand on Facebook, and before leaving the store, she double-checked movie times for the film we wanted to see. We had some time, so we stopped for a bite to eat before the movie, and of course, she had to share a picture of her meal on Instagram. During the movie was the longest she was away from her phone all day!

It’s easy for me to point fingers and snicker at my friend’s phone addiction, but I’m not much better. Even when I’m at home, I sometimes find myself using my laptop, phone, and Kindle at the same time.

Today’s consumers are connected. There’s no doubt about that. The only question is this: is your business connected too or are you being left behind in the dust?

Social Trust

At BusinessNext Social 2013, Mobile Marketing Academic of the Year Lin Humphrey will be be presenting “The Connected Consumer,” a session where he’ll talk about his study findings on psychographics of social media users and what some digital marketers are doing to feed into this need for connection.

In an interview with USA Today, Humphrey remarked, “Research shows we trust our network more than advertisements or celebrity spokespeople, so it makes sense for a business to encourage photography and social endorsements.”

Social networks enable this kind of sharing, but what is your company doing to connect with consumers who want to use these networks?

  • Are you easy to find on social networks?
  • Do you reply to consumers’ questions and complaints via social media?
  • Are you actively looking for people talking about your company?
  • Do you reward social sharing, encouraging customers to talk about your company online?
  • Do you say thank you when people are complimentary about your company?

You have to be able to scale your social media efforts; talking to every single customer or potential customer isn’t sustainable. But you’d be amazed at what any kind of social presence can do for your company.

Best Online Marketing Practices

So what can your digital marketing team do to engage consumers via social media? There’s a laundry list of techniques, but something the best marketing campaigns have in common is enabling self-expression and connectivity not just to the brand, but to other users.

  • Clothing company Betabrand gives $20 discounts to users who take pictures of themselves wearing Betabrand items.
  • Coke and Pepsi both unveiled programs allowing consumers to buy a soda for someone else at a random vending, and then watch the receiver’s surprised reaction. The person could then send back a thank you note.
  • Back in 2004, Burger King already realized the power of online self-expression and connectivity. In the “subservient chicken” campaign, they allowed users to log online and give an actor in a chicken suit commands to follow. The site is still live to this day, and promotes Burger King’s “have it your way” philosophy.

Of course, hiring an actor in a chicken suit isn’t the right course of action for all businesses, but there’s still something to learn here about connecting directly with your audience. For even more “best practices” and tips for digital marketers who want to reach the customers, make sure you attend The Connected Consumer session at BusinessNext.

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


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  • Gaelyn

    Hey I’m getting an error 404 on you post “Introducing NMX University”

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