We know we can connect, but can you affect our regular human everyday lives? That’s where the new frontier is, making us feel better about our existence when we’re not tethered to the computer, tablet or phone.
We’ve got social media fatigue. People have seen the movie, and they don’t need to waste more time.
I remember reading a retail industry study a few years ago which concluded that on average only 1% of total retail businesses actually have a written marketing plan in place. It would seem that many H-D dealers have hitched their wagon to the theme of creating a monthly flyer (print or email) or as I call it, a marketing calendar that has a “reason to buy today” theme dedicated to each month.
This re-active theme is to make their sales messages more compelling, regardless of what media they choose to get the word out.
And getting the word out they are! The motor company and now most of the local dealers are relentless. They think they need to be everywhere. Email blasts, posting on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, Instagram, Flickr, FourSquare, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, Vine, etc. Talk about getting distracted in so many different directions.
If you look at industry statistics, 6% of people ride motorcycles — and that’s in the best markets. If you’re marketing and casting a wide net, 94% of people you come in contact with aren’t going to be interested in what you offer. So of that 6%, what percentage are males? 90%. And what is the main demographic composition of Pinterest? 80% female. So for this particular market, investment and time in Pinterest is not going to be profitable or effective. It’s just not a fit, demographically speaking.
Another example is G+ which is Google’s answer to Facebook. It’s only a couple years old, and has grown very quickly. But, if you look closely you’ll discover that for some industries like photography it is great. However, there’s very little moto-involvement and likely to be ineffective.
And then there are the ‘old skool’ methods. Remember that t-shirt you purchased in route to Sturgis at the Montana dealer? Yeah, they got your U.S. postal or email address and now you’ve become their new BFF with all the local promo’s, rides, service deals, photo contests and HOG prizes. Talk about an example of casting a wide net… a thousand of miles away!
And speaking of Twitter, like every fad, once upon a time Twitter was cool. You know how it works, you hear about something from your hipster friends, you say you don’t need it but eventually you dive in, love it for a minute and then abandon it because it’s hard to be witty and viral all the time and do it in 140 characters.
My view is that Tweeting is like peeing off a cliff in the dark. No one sees it and you risk getting yourself wet. Which is why Twitter is a sea of dropouts. In addition, those who fan the flames of cool, (i.e. the youth), are always on the hunt for the latest and the greatest, moving on to new social networks (i.e.. ask.fm, SnapChat), only to abandon them when they fall out of favor, or when everybody else is there, and lose their cred.
I’m not saying there’s nothing there at Twitter. There is a nugget now and then. But following people, corporations or dealers is time-consuming, and ever less fulfilling. As for participating yourself, why would you? The Internet has turned into a giant game that everybody’s trying to win. Remember when everybody was gonna have a Webpage, then a blog?
So, here are some unsolicited thoughts for Harley-Davidson and it’s dealers.
Clutter is our enemy. We hate advertisements. We want information we can use. The more drivel, the less we pay attention. Just because you have our ear, does not mean we’re interested in everything you have to say. Either play to your core or play to everybody. If you’re doing the latter give us less information.
We live in a word of mouth culture and those social site quantifications are meaningless, because the system is being gamed. The number of likes and followers are like virtual badges, they’re ultimately meaningless.
Social media is no match for word of mouth. They can be one and the same, but frequently are not and consumers know the difference between what is hype and what is genuine.
Photo courtesy of m2mediamanagement.com