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Facebook – for statuses and marketing research?



March 13, 2013
Anyone under the age of 60 knows how social media can be used to spread information. Even if you're older than 60, you should at least be aware of the concept.

I'm connected, you're connected, let's share some data. News, music, art, pictures of cats, Twitter updates, what I'm wearing today, oh look a cute pair of shoes at this store, reviews and other important tidbits of information can be shared not only with your friends but also with the entire world.

Here at Appen Media, we use Facebook and Twitter to tell our audience about important articles and news, as well as community features and crime.

For a newspaper, this makes perfect sense.

Avalon, that mega-development on Old Milton Parkway in Alpharetta, has a page, as any self-respecting commercial entity should these days. Right now, they are finding retailers to completely fill their shopping space.

One aspect of Avalon's marketing struck me – that they are actively soliciting suggestions on their Facebook page for potential retailers.

On March 7, they posted, "We need a great makeup/beauty products store at Avalon. Who do you want?" Thirty-five reviews (as of March 11) gave all manner of suggestions.

According to people at North American Properties (the developer of Avalon), they are getting some suggestions they had not thought about. By using Facebook, they can get more ideas for potential tenants.

Engagement with a local audience is one of the primary benefits of social media such as Facebook and while it does not promote or market goods and services on the same scale as more traditional media such as newspapers, magazines and direct mail, it has it's place in a media mix.

Utilizing Facebook can be an effective method to seek out feedback from the community. It's like doing a miniature study. People who "like" a page on Facebook are certainly interested in what the page has to offer. And if their suggestions can help shape the community around them – in this case, Avalon – all the better.

The people who are on Avalon's page likely live in the area and will be the target population when Avalon opens next year.

copsey
(click for larger version)
Avalon's page has 1,177 people following it. That may not be a huge number compared to the thousands who live in the area, but those 1,177 have chosen to be active in Avalon simply by clicking that "like" button.

Perhaps other forms of media should start using Facebook in this way. Can your TV channel decide what type of show it should produce next or what the plot should be? What about radio – what song should play next? Should book publishers start asking which books to publish?

That may be taking it a little far … or is it? The potential is certainly there.

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Editor, Milton Herald
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