Last night, I was talking to my 16 year old daughter Crystal. We started off discussing music, as I had just seen an interesting webinar on social media marketing, I decided to ask her a few questions about where she was finding the music she was listening to, and the videos, deciding which pair of jeans was cool etc. The one important factor that I took away from our conversation was that kids today can get everything they need (meaning information about what’s “cool”) without having to see a “traditional” advertisement at all.
The days of blatant in your face marketing are coming to end. With today’s technology it really is as simple as finding something that interests you, and then finding a group, blog, forum etc., that talks about that topic. So how do we handle that from a marketing standpoint? The answer is simple, build communities. There is a growing distrust among the younger generations about being sold in the traditional manner. They do however trust the information they get from their social circles.
So when I asked Crystal where she had found the song she was downloading, she told me that one of her friends had sent her a link to a music forum that had a clip of the song and some information about the band. When I read it (through my marketing eyes), what I saw was a very soft sales approach. It was so soft in fact, that Crystal didn’t realize that it was advertising, she thought it to be just a group of people who were talking about “cool stuff”. They key to this, the reason why I think it works, is that the information on the site was accurate, interesting to their target audience and not at all self promotional. In other words, the kids trust it because it is not being shoved down their throats (“here- this is cool, check it out if you want”).
This is what Web 2.0 or social media is all about. It’s about putting valuable information in front of the right people and letting them make the choice. It’s about finding the group that loves what you’re selling and building a rapport with them. It’s about being an expert at what you do and getting yourself into the forum where people are looking for your expertise. Say goodbye to in your face ads, and hello to providing real value to a very specific target market.