Everybodyâ€™s a Critic: The Social Voice By: Ethan Warlick
As new ideas and products emerge from the minds of people, criticism is emerging from the social networks of others. With the introduction of Facebook Status Updates and Twitter Feeds, users have taken their thoughts of different matters from their heads and posted them all over social media platforms. If it were ever easy to bring an idea to life without being criticized, social networking has destroyed that simplicity. Do you recall when you were a child and as soon as you saw an advertisement or commercial for a toy you had to have it? Nothing could keep it from your hands and you wouldn't let your parents forget how much you 'needed' it.
For instance, I remember wanting a really expensive water gun after seeing it on television and in stores. The children in the commercial were shooting water at each other from up to ten yards away and I wanted so badly to be one of those kids. Based on the information that the manufacturer had given me, the gun was going to be the best thing that ever had happened in my nine years of living. Now think if social media platforms, for example Twitter or Facebook, had been present in my childhood. I could have easily seen that users buying the water gun were very disappointed to find out that the gun did not shoot as it did in the commercial. In all actuality, the toy was not as important as I had once assumed. Finding out that a product is not what you actually wanted is one thing, but finding out that you can use users online criticisms to help choose what to buy and not buy is another.
As a consumer, this can come in handy, but as a production company this alters business plans and can be the defining factor between success and failure. Now that users have become criticizing marketers, businesses must change their strategies. They must adjust and adapt to this new socially charged environment. To do so, they should follow a few steps:
Step 1. Analyze Marketing Aspects To begin, you must inspect the way that you are promoting or advertising a good to make sure it is adequate. As stated before, there is nothing worse to a consumer than being lied to by false advertisement. Likewise, there is nothing worse to a producer than losing consumer loyalty. This is why goods must be marketed fairly and adequately define the consumer experience without promising a certain expectation that is unreachable.
Step 2. Target the Audience As it is extremely important to analyze the marketing aspects, it is as important to target the specific audience that will become the â€˜voiceâ€™ of the good. Now that it is so simple for consumers to share thoughts on products and services on a traceable network, it is becoming imperative to businesses to give this voice more to glorify than to criticize. Social media can be detrimental to the life of a good but it can be equally beneficial. Think back to the water gun example, if the gun had met expectations or even had exceeded them the consumers would have drastically multiplied. If the voice is speaking well, the user marketers are doing the job for you.
Step 3. Feed the Voice Now that the goods are adequately marketed and the voice is talking, you must give the voice a reason to talk. This is an important step because voices change tones quickly. Meaning, even though it is marketed well and people are talking about it, what are you going to give the voice for talking and how are you going to make sure it is being heard? To â€˜feed the voiceâ€™ one must keep the user marketers wanting to speak, or give them a reason to. This reason can include discount for promotion, user gratification or even a like or a retweet. Users want their connections on networks to know that there is a reason that they are talking about a good, and to do this you must broadcast that the specific user has made a contribution.
Facebook and Twitter allow users to tweet or update their status about what is relevant to them. They also allow businesses to retweet or even like these contributions. Now that you have connected with the user, they feel even more connected to your good. This is essential because it can lead to other users also wanting to be broadcasted for their contributions which lead them to join the voice. Now that you have learned to start a voice and feed the voice, marketing on social networks can become a tool. Networks can be a place for negative criticism but if you can use the users as marketers, they will fuel the flame instead of extinguish it.