Now’s the Time

I love the Verizon Wireless commercial where the teenage kids are reprimanding the Baby Boomer parents.
  • The scene is the patio. The son says, “Cool it with the Twitter updates.”
  • The father (talking while texting) texts, “I’m sitting on the patio.”
  • With an air of exasperation, the son responds, “I know you’re sitting on the patio.”
  • Even nerdy Baby Boom parents are getting on board. (My cousin tried to talk me through getting on Twitter over the phone the other night. I was having a dinner party–otherwise I would be tweeting right now.)

What’s my point? The time is now. Don’t be afraid. “The only thing to fear is fear itself” and all that stuff. If you haven’t already, take the plunge into social media. Everyone is doing it. Believe it or not, the fastest growing group on Facebook is women 55-61.

Here’s the thing…Baby Boomers grew up thinking that they needed to be able to define what a noun is before they could put together a sentence. Really? Even 2-year-olds can put together a sentence with a noun and verb…regardless of whether they know what a verb is.  Ergo…be not afraid. With the insouciance of someone who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, just go for it.

Here’s some food for thought:

The other day, I was working with a traditional media-buying firm on building their business, and they were lamenting the fact that they didn’t have expertise in social media. The bad news is, they are behind the curve. The good news is, it’s new enough that no one is that far ahead of them. Unlike traditional media, it’s not like anyone has decades of experience yet.

Your guests are already there. Your competition is already there. Whether you are monitoring it or not, you are already there. Join the conversation.

  • You are probably on YELP, Local Eats, Flickr and YouTube as you read this.
  • Domino’s Pizza has over a million customers that have opted to receive their text messages.
  • Qdoba has a mobile-based aspect of their loyalty program.
  • New second-party services are popping up all the time to transmit value offers and directions to the nearest location.
  • Papa John’s sends out text messages, like their updates on “Papa’s Road Trip.”
  • “Dunkin’ Run,” a new made-for-mobile application to support group “to go” orders, capitalizes on what customers are already doing–going on a coffee run to Dunkin’ Donuts. The interactive Web site, mobile site and iPhone application allow someone to put together a group order hassle-free.

I think that’s the key: capitalizing on what customers are already doing.

Social media is just media…it is an extension of your brand…another way of accomplishing your goals. Blast email is mass media. Tweeting is more of a local store marketing medium. Texting is more of an intrusive medium. And monitoring the social media is like eavesdropping on your brand’s word of mouth–a key customer satisfaction tool.

Until next time, I’d love to hear your thoughts.