What's New in Consumer Web — Sept 10, 2010

This week in Consumer Web was slow: lots of hype over social media platforms like Klout and Seesmic. Facebook just surpassed Google in traffic and mobile is hot again. Sigh. Some interesting trends are being spotted in Consumer Web. Even research from last year is indicating the area of opportunities for people to connect with companies and vice versa. Just look at Yelp, they paved the path that will soon get paved by someone else as the highway to customers. Ring the bell!

One of the reasons Consumer Web is becoming hot has simply to do with internet real estate: current customers, future customers and past customers are all becoming ‘consumers.’ You no longer have to sell to your niche market but have your brand sold to all markets. To be reputable and ethical and referable, oh my.

Looking at our current economy and budgets for corporations we see a shift, though not as fast as it should be. Social Media is considered a luxury or a part-time job so lots of ‘social media intern’ slots are overtaking Craigslist but as a basic business principal “you get what you pay for” going cheap on evangelists and social media consultants never pay, if anything it costs companies more to repair the damage later.

Some things we learned this week:

  • It never pays to go cheap
  • Know your brand online
  • Connect with the consumer

It never pays to go cheap
Thinking of hiring that part-time grad for social media? Don’t do it. So often with SEO and caching finding someone who can not only externally communicate your voice but also make it searchable is tough. Finding someone who can take positive branding voice and make it palatable and viral EVEN HARDER. Point is, creativity and knowledge never comes cheap. For larger corporations having firms like Parature to manage pages makes sense. To the smaller guys: pay as much as you can. Social media in Consumer web is not a luxury, its a necessity and should be viewed the same as sales and operations. Maybe even higher–that intern you hire is writing content that will be searchable for years to come. Chew on that.

Know your brand
If your know your exact demographic you are already ahead of the pack. If you think you know it, great. If you have no clue what your online voice is, even better–you are the most realistic of the three. Know your brand, not just the colors or the logo but what would your company’s inner voice tweet? Think about, talk to real customers, then think about it again. Find your voice, then feed it Red Bull, hire ninjas and cover the web in your content.

Connect with your customer
This sounds silly, but of course one would want to connect with their customer. No but really. At my current start-up we know from IPs and traffic “who” our customers are but the internet is a big place. We don’t just have on average a 30 year old female viewing our site, but learning there is a special kind of 30yr old viewing our website. Someone who cares, someone who reads materials we are backlinked to. For us specifically its not just the gender or age, its the person. Once you find that personal commonality, exploit it. Soon after a shift will occur and your demographic will change but the tactics used will apply for the next groups as well.

Next week we will see a stronger but slower pace with marketing campaigns as the retail season begins to open up. My eyes are still on retail shops, though a surprise in consumer engagement from another area would be nice.