We keep hearing the buzz about â€œsocial mediaâ€ and as marketers we are thinking â€“ â€œbut we just figured out the website!â€Â Social media is not just the next thing, I really think that this way of interacting online will become the norm leaving the traditional website behind.Â Â I joined the Facebook online community back in May and already I have 130 friends and I am a very regular user.Â I use Facebook to stay connected with my friends and colleagues, and to share my experiences.Â There is the key to social media â€“ shared experiences.Â
No longer can I simply just view a static website the same way I once did.Â I want to interact online â€“ I want to hear from others like me that are shopping online for items that I am interested in purchasing, I want toÂ interact withÂ others that are talking about things that are of interest to me, and I no longer want the one way communication that the advertising message has traditionally been. Â This is what social media has done to change the way we use the online space.
On many levels a social media platform such as Facebook (and there are many others) can be a dream to a marketer.Â Â A social media space like this can allow advertisers to really join the conversation, talk directly to their target audience, encourage interaction between their customers and encourage feedback back to the brand.
A friend passed along a link to the new Rocky Mountaineer Guest Lounge (A Canadian train tour experience that takes guests by rail through the Canadian Rockies)Â Â â€“ a true social media space where guests are invited to share photos, videoâ€™s, connect with others that have had a Rocky Mountaineer vacation, and share the â€œstoriesâ€ of the brand.Â Brilliant!Â User generated content that is engaging and â€œrealâ€ instead of simply the marketing message.Â
They have brilliantly incorporated their product into the Lounge with a â€œRide the Rails Referral Programâ€ and a â€œGourmet Momentâ€ Â â€“ and they have encouraged interaction by offering prizes for submitting content.Â They are really still â€œguidingâ€ the conversation â€“ but it is a great example of marketing within the social media space.
[tags]Â social media, marketing, online communities, facebook, online marketing, Rocky Mountaineer Vacations, user generated content, marketing online, tourism marketing [/tags]