Just like high-school-age adolescents, businesses crave being the center of everyone’s conversation, especially within online communities. Advertising is basically a way to make more people think and talk about you in a positive way, more of the time. So the steady influx of business and corporate presences into social media networks is no surprise. They’re approaching it like a new kid in town who’s trying to make friends: they’re leaving behind conventional interactions, and going where people go on their time off, where they go to socialize. Businesses are trying to make friends with their customers by hitting the proverbial coffee shop, lounge, bookstore etc, where people go to talk and relax. And everyone knows people have to be talking about you to be cool. So the only difference is, businesses pay people to talk about them.
That’s what Whole Foods is doing with their new promotions targeted at users of Twitter, a micro-blogging tool. Users are encouraged to “tweet” about anything and everything Whole Foods, with the goal of being selected and awarded a $25 gift card.
? If only high-school were like that, where you could hand somebody a five to carve your name followed by “ is hottt” onto a bathroom stall.
Businesses and their efforts to penetrate friend groups and create an online presence sometimes resembles the kid who was always strutting down the hall, virtually screaming for attention, only in this case they are after virtual attention. And while he may get that attention, people are often more annoyed than anything else.?
It’s hard for businesses to hit home in these arenas, because this is where people go to interact with friends, and are very selective about the brands they will let into their personal ‘space, so to speak. A brand truly has to resonate, and represent a part of a person’s identity to be included as a friend, or their Twitter feed followed.
At first, one would wonder why anyone would follow the Tweets of a supermarket, a rather impersonal corporate entity, since most of the other users are individuals.
It also seems strange Whole Foods has their writers writing as Whole Foods, instead of individuals representing Whole Foods. Isn’t that contradicting the whole premise of online community and social media sites like Facebook and Myspace, who try to create a level of cyber intimacy friends can enjoy amongst themselves, as individuals?
This new forum for advertising and marketing has the potential to truly test how close a brand is to their market’s heart. Or, maybe it just tests what we’re willing to for $25 worth of groceries.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go blog about how I want to be married in the wholegrain bread isle.