Unbelievably, many toymakers do not have a website yet. And of those who do, many have just a very barebones site that is of minimal use to their B2B customers or consumers. And still more do not have a company Facebook (FB) page (called public fan page) or Twitter account. Many use a personal FB page and think that’s good enough. It’s not. (Not to say you can’t use a personal FB page for some B2B correspondence, but your company name, FB page and Twitter handle are for brand building so it is imperative that it be handled professionally and include your company name.)
I realize the toy business is tough, constantly evolving and getting more expensive and complicated. Making a living in this business can be exhausting, but that’s no excuse to stand by and not react to these seismic changes. These trends are here to stay and will only become more important and more entrenched in consumers’ buying habits.
I really admire the people I’ve noticed lately who plunged ahead and got involved and dabbled in social media to see how it works and feels despite all the other constraints on their time.
The good news for small and mid-sized toy businesses is that they have an advantage in social media because a genuine, passionate and knowledgeable voice rises above the online clutter, and no one knows more about a company/product/store than the owner. This is the perfect opportunity to connect directly with customers and educate them, and in turn, to learn from them.
The biggest firms have long understood the importance of social media, but their size essentially forces them to hire a director of social media to handle the job. They’re approaching online communications in a mass way, just like they do with their advertising.
TV ads traditionally drive foot traffic, but can be cost prohibitive to small companies. Enter ZMOT. What’s that? “ZMOT: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth”, is a free eBook by Jim Lecinski, managing director of sales & service for Google. ZMOT is “that moment when you grab your laptop, mobile phone or some other wire device and start learning about a product or service you’re thinking about trying or buying,” he writes. ZMOT is at least as important in customer buying action, and it is micro, affordable and the great equalizer.
Ready to act? Here are links for how to set up a business FB page and Twitter page. To get ahead of the curve, research and sign up for Google +. It’s Google’s answer to FB, currently a beta test. Also key is YouTube. Who doesn’t love watching videos of toys and kids playing with them? Companies need to create videos demo-ing their products and post them. Also share mom bloggers’, retailers’ and others’ videos of your products on your YouTube channel.
Lisa Orman founded her virtual business, KidStuff Public Relations, 18 years ago, when AOL was the only email service and the internet was a baby. Connect with her on her company blog at www.kidstuffpr.com/blog, on Facebook, Twitter, or subscribe to her Youtube channel. And yes, she’s trying out Google+, where you can search for her name to add her to one of your circles.