In the increasingly fragmented market space of 2011, how can retailers, especially those who source products online, best reach their increasingly tech-savvy customer base? The answer may be in Web 2.0 technology, that is, in social networking such as Facebook, YouTube, Myspace, and Twitter.
According to Mary Meeker, a managing director for Morgan Stanley who posts at BusinessInsider.com, Facebook and Twitter are not channels to be taken lightly. Facebook is growing 51 percent year on year, with more than 620 million current users, and Twitter is growing 74 percent year on year, with more than 102 million users. The increased use of mobile technology ensures there is a constant challenge for brands to stay fresh. Companies need to remain engaged with their audience, something that Facebook and Twitter facilitate through personalized, tailored ads that can adapt to a quickly changing environment.
Using Web 2.0 sites can pay off with increased sales and brand awareness. Social network advertising expert Patrick Toland, a general manager at TBG Digital, has some advice for retailers, "Continue to invest in new media like Facebook and Twitter to capture the hearts and minds of the next generation of customers, particularly online customers," he says. "Some budget should always be allocated to advertising 'R&D' to better prepare companies to capitalize on new opportunities."
Whether a wholesale retailer or direct-to-consumer retailer, the overall end goal is the same: get consumers buying. "It's important for retailers, whether online or brick and mortar, to constantly be testing new advertising mediums in preparation for what the future may bear," says Toland. "By executing unique Facebook campaigns, retailers set themselves apart from the competition and potentially capitalize on what is the fastest growing media property in the world." Retailers may find that Facebook campaigns enable very specific customer targeting, at a cost effective price.
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