What would be a great way to make marketing and advertising fun? Well, some people find that fun regardless, but what if you could make a game of it? This is the next development in social networks. Actually, it’s more of an evolution of social networks as more than just a place to “hang out”. Now you can “hang out” and play games at the same time.
More marketers are catching on to the idea of using social networks as a viable way to market their business. It’s a great way to show the personalities behind the business and to give potential customers a way to differentiate you from your competitors.
Advertisers and marketers need to treat this area with some care. Because as you get into people’s social networks, you can’t just run out with your arms waving and say “hey, buy my stuff!”. That’s just rude and could just wind up getting you kicked out.
Increasingly, products and services are being offered for free, at least on a trial basis. Since it’s so easy to give a free trial of a digital product on the internet you can offer this to a new friend rather than trying to sell something”hi, I have this cool stuff, maybe you know someone who would like it, here’s a free trial”.
In the world of online gaming, there is a much more focused market. There are a couple of dynamics at work here. You have people that are looking for fun games to play, and then you have serious gamers who want to play their favorite game better so they can “take on all comers”.
So if a company is marketing nutritional supplements or cleaning products, this is not really the right group for that. While any group will have people that have various interests, the social networks tend to attract folks of a certain interest group.
A more appropriate product might be a strategy guide for backgammon. In the scenario where you have immersed yourself into the market by playing the game, it would be a simple matter to mention the guide in the course of play. Something like “…even though I’m playing well now, last week was *terrible*. This book I found on the internet helped me out quite a bit. I might even start winning money at this! lol” The value of your opinion and advice will continue to grow as you build relationships with the people in your network”
The more of a relationship you can build with the people within the network, the greater the value that is placed upon your opinion and advice. If you mention your product or business the first time you meet, then it’s just like barging in to a room and trying to sell your stuff.
Always keep in mind that this is an analog of the physical world. Mind your manners, be nice, and be genuine. Yes, you may be a marketer, but you’re also a human being. So are the other names in your network. Treat them with respect.
Once you get the point of being known as a “trusted person” you may be able to make recommendations on areas outside of the gaming environment. Say for example you become known for being “in the game” fairly often it could be natural for other players to ask what kind of work you are into. This becomes a natural opening to mention this business you are in that gives you the kind of freedom to spend that much time playing games.
A fringe benefit of working within social networks is that you might just make some new friends. This is much more likely if you join in the networks and play the games that your are really interested in.