Demented and Sad, but Social
By David Dorf on Feb 22, 2010
I remember not that long ago using my 300 baud modem to connect to a BBS where I could post on forums. That was sorta social; demented and sad, but social. Things have come a long way since the days of my Apple ][+. For example, Oracle Retail maintains this blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a Wiki, Forums, and a YouTube channel. Retailers have similar efforts, allowing consumers to interact with brands at many levels. Its more than just pushing information out; its also about listening to customers and reacting.
During fashion shows, bloggers and the press are seated side-by-side and the shows are often streamed to fans who comment on the styles in real-time. People can harness the wisdom of crowds at sites like Fashism where people critique each others' outfits. Mom Blogs disperse advice and sites like Kaboodle bring like-minded shoppers together to discuss their purchases, and BazaarVoice helps consumers publish their stories about products in the form of reviews and ratings.
Retailers must cultivate these conversation and use social media monitoring to gauge their efforts and make course corrections. Leveraging your fan base to compliment and magnify traditional advertising is a winning formula.
The Vitrue 100, a list of the top 100 social brands, is dominated by products like the iPhone and Wii, but there are a few pure retailers listed. Can you guess them? They are #22 Best Buy, #40 Amazon, #41 Victoria's Secret, #59 Wal-Mart, #60 Zappos, #72 IKEA, #75 REI, #79 The Gap, #82 Toys R Us, #83 H&M, and #96 Sears. (Oracle was #93 by the way.) Are any of these retailers a surprise? I think not as they all have active social media programs.