We live our lives staring at screens. Mobile, desktop, laptop, tablet, and TV screens consume the majority of our time. If you’re anything like me, you might even find yourself watching TV while catching up on the latest Pinterest DIY projects on your iPad. Most days we spend more time engaging with a screen than we do having real conversations and interpersonal interactions. According to OTX research, Americans aged 18-64 who use social networks say they spend an average of 3.2 hours per day doing so. Remember when it used to be bizarre when someone’s parents joined Facebook? Now it’s uncommon for anyone of any age not to engage with some form of social media. Social media users aren’t just teens anymore. More and more individuals from all different ages and demographics are interacting through social media networks.
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The Disruption of Technology
When it comes to social media, marketers seem to be perpetually fixated on demographics, especially age disparities. In fact, most marketing strategies are purely based on these statistics. For instance, “Oh your audience is middle aged women? Well don’t waste your time on that social network, because 60% of its user base is teenagers.” While I agree that statistics and case studies have validity in context, it’s essential to note that their purpose is not to define a concept, but rather give us greater insight into the concept, opening up a realm of different opportunities. We’ve become so busy trying to define social media, that we’re missing the point and potentially missing out on the opportunity to connect with consumers. Perhaps it’s time to shift our focus from defining social media as a generational characterization, but rather accept it as a dynamic medium to reach and engage with customers.
Your Customers are Narcissists
In the recent article, “Accidental Narcissist and the Future of [Connected] Customer Engagement,” Brian Solis asks eCommerce professionals to consider the current state of social media. Solis discusses how social media users are more invested in themselves than ever, and as retailers we should mold our online engagement strategies accordingly.
“Some may see this behavior as self-centered, self-promotional, or view it as a form of attention seeking, but at a human level, it’s simply a new form of self-expression and an open invitation to interact.” –Brian Solis
As a member of the eCommerce ecosystem, Solis asks you to consider:
- How does your engagement strategy align with and inspire the “me” in social media?
- What does your brand do to evoke an online experience that provokes self-expression?
- How do you create a social gravitational pull for others to orbit?
Connect with the [Connected] Customer
In order to engage with connected consumers it is essential to incorporate social media not only as a part of your brand’s social strategy, but as a part of your eCommerce experience as a whole. Understanding how your customers interact with social media opens the door to further engagement, and gives your brand the opportunity to connect with customers in their own personal space. Social networks successfully experience rapid growth because they allow users to create content personalized to their own worlds. Onsite social interaction further engages consumers by giving them the opportunity to create content that not only fits into their world, but it encompasses your brand as well.