Social media has made the web all about me, me, me. With Twitter, Facebook, and IM, you can broadcast to the world what you’re doing at any given moment.
Our sponsor, Erik Qualmann’s book Socialnomics, explains why this seemingly superficial trend has become socially acceptable. First, an overview of the book, with excerpt below:
Are you a “Braggadocian”? You just might be, according to Erik Qualmann, whose new book Socialnomics details the many ways we’re changing our habits—and developing entirely new ones—as a result of social media. Qualmann argues that branding has gone personal, and that Facebook, Twitter, and other such tools are the way we maintain our individual brands.
Which would you rather post? “I’m watching reruns of Saved By the Bell” or “Just snowboarded down a double-black diamond run at Aspen and highly recommend it for those who love Colorado snow!” It doesn’t really matter, because with either choice, you’re establishing and furthering your own brand. To the people you want to connect with, you’re a Braggadocian, and it’s not a bad thing!
It’s actually a good thing. A really good thing. It allows people to take stock of their collective lives and what they’re doing throughout the day, rather than letting years go by and looking back on their wasted youth, saying “what did I do with my life?”
The reign of the Braggadocians is also crucially important for business. Is it any wonder that the television audience is shrinking by the minute? People are actually living their own lives rather than watching others. As a company, it’s imperative that you produce products and services so that people not only want to be associated with your brand, but also take ownership of it, make it a part of their individual brands. Reality TV is out, and Reality Social Media is in, as Socialnomics demonstrates here:
Just Do It, Did It
Nike understood how to take advantage of users’ appetites for competition as well as users looking to brands for helpful tools (creators of content). That is why Nike created an avatar named Miles that people can place on their desktops. Miles helps users by tracking the miles they run or their jogging patterns (via Nike Plus technology) compared to others inside and outside of their network. Miles encourages you to run and keeps you aware of local weather, running events, and promotions. This can easily be used wherever you are (iPod, social network, desktop, etc.).
Companies need to focus on giving content or a tool with utility and purpose to consumers, which is the opposite of traditional marketing, which consumers historically hated. Instead of providing end consumers with a potentially empty promise, as was the case with traditional marketing, companies need to focus on supplying something of value. People are grateful that Nike is able to provide them with a tool to track how many miles they run and to tell them which songs from their iPod playlists seem to stimulate them to run their best. Allowing users to see what songs stimulate other runners, which may include tunes that are not currently in their iPod repertoire, is a tremendous help.
This social media technique also helps align Nike and Apple with additional revenue because more songs will be downloaded and more shoes will wear out and need to be replaced. Plus, every time a person’s running profile is updated, it will be sent to that person’s entire network of friends with Nike branding discreetly associated with it. In fact, joggers are encouraged to challenge others to virtual races in which their respective performances are tracked via the tracking technology placed in the shoes.
Other stationary spinning and bicycle manufacturers have picked up on the social aspect of exercising and the ability to enable connections via social media technology. Some of these bikes that have a built-in LCD and Web connection allow Joe in his gym in New York to compete against Sally in her spa in Santa Fe. Looking at the digital screen you see real-time avatars of others cycling across the world and you can pass or be passed. This also allows for the introduction of celebrity athletes; yes, you could be virtually competing against Lance Armstrong. This is a huge opportunity for advertisers that could sponsor the Lance avatar or could even sponsor Joe from New York if he became the most proficient within the virtual racing world.
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