Chris Brogan is one of the most prominent social media gurus, omnipresent in his tweeting, blogging, meeting, speaking, and book selling — bestseller of Trust Agents and other tomes. People turn to him to help them navigate this new technological world. Dealnews caught up with Brogan at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early January to see what he had to say about how retailers are using technology to better serve consumers.
Brogan thinks the explosion of mobile technology and social networking can only help consumers and retailers, especially smaller businesses without advertising budgets that can benefit most from sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
"If I could teach consumers anything, it's that the more they [click] advertising the hungrier [advertisers] are for your business," says Brogan, referring to those ads that pop up constantly in the margins and seem to follow you from search engines to social media sites. Brogan recommends not clicking the ads but rather going directly to the site and digging deeper for deals beyond what's being used as a tease to attract traffic.
"Go beyond Google," says Brogan, and "let the larger Internet find the prices you want." On Twitter, pay attention to popular hashtags and keywords, then follow those searches. Oftentimes, you'll compile a collection of people tweeting about deals on the items or product categories of interest. These types of searches, in addition to using something like Google Reader to deliver topical news, help save time.
One of the more promising aspects of Twitter, he says, is that it provides small retailers the ability to reach a wide range of consumers that it otherwise couldn't, especially those retailers too small to afford advertising.
Brogan relates the story of a hamburger stand operator in Milwaukee, Wisc., who "listens" for tweets with the word Milwaukee. When Brogan sent out a message that he was speaking in that city, the restaurant owner sent him a message, suggesting he come in for a burger, so he did. Then he not only tweeted about it, but also wrote about it on his blog. Extend this experience to other forms of retail and it's possible to imagine a wide range of small businesses reaching the right customers, those actually looking for their services or products, and better competing with larger retailers with deep pockets.
Mobile marketing is also ready to explode, he reports, both with smart phones and tablet computers. At CES, there were dozens of tablet computers on display. While many of them were prototypes that would never reach the marketplace, the iPad's popularity ensures that a great number will find their way into homes and tote bags and be put to use. Consumers will have greater access to shopping comparison sites such as Dealnews, and apps such as Red Laser and Milo, to score the absolute best prices, everywhere and every day.
Photo credit: ChrisBrogan.com