Very ‘pinteresting’: let social media users do the work
Posted by srherbert
In Chapter 7 of Socialnomics, “Winners and Losers in a 140-Character World,” Erik Qualman discusses characteristics companies must now abide by if they plan to break even in a social-media driven world. He provides the reader with examples of companies who have embraced social media and used it to grow and develop their companies. Qualman also shares examples of companies who have the what’s-mine-is-mine mindset and have actually lost business due to their ignorance of social media, or their pure selfishness. I was surprised when I read that Qualman thinks it’s acceptable to let others run your business for you, but his explanation makes sense: “Take advantage of what others who have already done the legwork to help you position your brand throughout the social media space” (p. 171).
The example of Hasbro suing the makers of an application called Scrabulous helped Qualman prove his point. If the company would have accepted the application or attempted to purchase it, they would have probably increased the number of customers instead of irritating people who already liked the application Scrabulous. Reading this part of the chapter made me think of a similar application that is now popular: Words with Friends. After doing some research, I found out that a company called Zynga developed the Words with Friends application that users can operate on smartphones, iPads, the computer, and other devices. However, in 2012 a traditional version of the game was released. Can anyone guess who was involved? Yes, Hasbro. I guess the company finally learned its lesson. Although the traditional version of Words with Friends is basically the same as Scrabble, users who like the application (and younger users who may not even have ever played Scrabble) may prefer Words with Friends.
This lead to me think of how I have seen companies allow their customers to own the brand. I am an avid Pinterest user. On Pinterest, users can “pin” images they like to their virtual [bulletin] “boards.” Users can see what their friends post and can “repin” something that a friend has already posted. Users can also “tag” their followers in a post. When I was off work over the summer, I used the application daily to look at fashion ideas and cookout recipes. In June, I started following one of my favorite clothing brands – Old Navy. Old Navy posts images of models wearing their latest trends, but the company also has a “board” dedicated to real people wearing their clothing called Wear Us Out. Users can “tag” the company in an image, and it will show up on the “board.” Old Navy representatives can also sort through tagged images, and then post the ones they like on the “board” too. I think this is a brilliant idea to attract customers. Of course, the models look good in Old Navy clothing. However, their strategy makes me, as a customer, think that if these real people can put an outfit together with Old Navy clothing, I can too. Old Navy is a great example of a company using social media to their benefit and letting customers do the work.
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