Almost every modern business has realized the need for utilizing the web as a means of securing a wider consumer base. The benefits of Google (http://www.google.com) and other current social networking applications in this regard cannot be overestimated. These services allow the individual to “advertise” their services or products to a willing, approachable consumer base without going through the hassle of paying for tele-advertising or spending huge amounts of money on print media advertising. Word and news travels fast on the “network of networks” (i.e. the Internet) and this word of mouth is free of charge. Anna will have her way easily if she can start off with opening her own page on Facebook (www.facebook.com) alongwith a fan page for herself and her shirts. Then Facebook can be paid a small fee to set up a “Like” page for her where people click her page and view what she has to offer. The more friends and “friends of friends” she has, the more there is a probability that the fame of her shirts will spread further. She can easily upload funny pictures and videos involving her T-shirts on Facebook and this will bring her page and thus her product more attention. A twitter account (www.twitter.com) will also do her good alongwith a Youtube account (www.Youtube.com), which means that she can dispense with the need for hiring media services. A home camera and some creative script writing can give her a free of cost start up in the matters of her project establishment. At this stage, My Space is a good option as well, but V-Logs are more popular nowadays than written blogs (www.myspace.com). A great idea for Facebook would be to tag the names of as many people as she can on the picture of any new shirt or product she would like the possible consumer base to look at.
- Give two examples (word limit 200 for each example) of these technologies
in use by people offering customized products.
One example very much relevant to the case of selling T-shirts successfully as a part of a greater entertainment enterprise is of Shane Dawson. A while ago Shane Dawson was like any ordinary teenager until he started to make videos about his small comic skits and low budget get ups. He has simultaneously utilized Facebook, twitter, my space and Youtube to create an a large global fan base for himself (see for example http://www.facebook.com/shanedawsonfans?ref=ts) where he has placed pictures of his T shirts depicting funny characters from his comedy skits.
Although Shane Dawson has now become a Youtube celebrity and hires professional companies for the shooting of his videos, his basic approach was to organize and list the necessary information and even talk about this in humorous way in his videos. For the purposes of briefly advertising his merchandise and other website links, he lists this information with every video. These links allow a potential buyer and member of the internet audience to learn more about the person and their products. At the same time, Shane gets exposure and manages to interact with his audience through live response videos and chatting facilities on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. It seems as though all this rather free exposure has done his business good and also ensured him a good platform to take his merchandise to the next level.
MAIN CHANNEL http://www.youtube.com/shanedawsontv
UK/EUROPE SHIRTS http://shanedawsoncustom.spreadshirt.co.uk/
FACEBOOK APP http://tinyurl.com/sdtvapp
LIVE SHOW http://www.shanedawsonlive.com
The second example comes from Soulgarden.tv, which is basically a business that sells astrological reports and predictions. They upload astrological web casts on their own website as well as Youtube every day. This is more of an organized business and thus it has a strategy more suited to investment intensive measures. Each member of the business has their own Youtube channel where people’s interest in the website of the business is ignited by offering a daily free horoscope, which will have a funny commercial message about something astrological, like their very popular “Love and Lust: Birthday Profile Report”) and intangible products and services pertaining to astrological entertainment like meditation vibration and soul nirvana (http://www.youtube.com/user/SoulGardenTV?feature=chclk).
Their main website is the http://soulgardentv.ning.com/ which they advertise as “the most loving space on the internet”. Due to the heavy commercial nature of this project and the intense popularity of their one-of-a-kind stand-up astrologer Christopher Witecki this website is already selling its merchandise successful without exactly going too much on Facebook and Twitter. The phenomenal success of this business can be seen from the fact that its Youtube channel alone features prominently in the search engine of Youtube when a keyword relevant to astrology is entered. As at the 3rd of August, the total “Channel Views” of the same have been 86,735 and the total “Upload Views” have been 2,311,080.
- Summary (word limit 150) with suggestions of two practical steps that you
And Anna could take next with the Me-shirts in order to start using these
Even though it seems that due to the free nature of the Internet everything is well set up for Anna, the concept of using these applications is more related to strategic than functional marketing. In the examples above, Shane has captured a largely teenage audience, which will appreciate his comedy, to be willing to interact with him and take interest in his merchandise like T-shirts and other branded stuff. If Anna is serious about launching herself as a brand now, it is going to take a lot of effort on her own to development a network and advertise in it without seeming like a nuisance. The trick of using Facebook and Youtube is to avoid giving the impression of a pesky and annoying television advertisement. This is because Facebook and Youtube have gained their popularity as “TV without the annoying commercials”. The first step would be to give away free shirts as a part of some online guessing contest or debate and then rely on friends for word of mouth promotion online. These are intelligent technologies and an unplanned, functional marketing approach might just fail badly here.
The use of modern online tools is the epitome of running a successful commercial enterprise in the 21st century. This is because the new ‘digital native’ generation of potential buyers (those under 25/30) is actually an Internet generation and is less fond of TV and Newspapers. Even the Cosmopolitan magazine has to resort to these new technologies now and to print an electronic version of its content to ensure its fan base remains secure. Even though the dot.com bubble burst in 2000, people have learnt their lessons and have since then set up safe and effective businesses online which became successful due to effective social networking. While the most important tool of social networking online remains Facebook, it is banned in some Arab and Asian countries due to political controversies. It is also banned in China, which has one of the largest consumer bases available. Therefore, if the entrepreneur is aiming at a certain country or a part of the population, he/she is better off making a lingually and culturally targeted website to achieve that end rather than relying on social networking. The most important thing to remember about the use of social networking to conduct business is that it is a 24-7 job. There is a need to interact with and engage the audience. There is a need to keep up with the needs of the willing buyers and to avoid negative tactics of competitors. Logs and V-Logs have always been a great defense platform for many companies and the comments on videos and pages can always form a good feedback for improvement. Once again Social Networking is not a one-size-fits-all shoe and many entrepreneurs have been disappointed in their quest of promotion or boosting sales despite investing a lot of money on Facebook and Youtube networking.