Are you curious how students apply social media? The following is a great example from one of my super-smart students.
Product: Any snowmobile accessory
Person: Any snowmobile enthusiast
My husband is a snowmobile enthusiast, and he is in good company. According to Snowmobile.org, of the 2.2 million snowmobiles registered in the United States and Canada in 2011, approximately 75% are owned by men who are, on average, 43 years of age and are a member of a household with an average annual income of $65,000. With a desire to enhance and personalize a snowmobile, accessories are often acquired within the first year of purchasing a new sled. Targeting the new snowmobile buyer definitely provides a market to target; as an example, over 123,000 new snowmobiles were purchased worldwide in 2011, the majority in North America, with nearly 52,000 sold in the U.S. and 41,000 in Canada.
The sport of snowmobiling is filled with a tech savvy crowd, but one that is reflective of a group more likely to spend time improving the performance of their sled than hanging out surfing Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. The internet to a lot of these guys, is a tool, a means to an end. And let’s face it ladies, women may own 25% of the sleds (I’m one of them) but we’re not the ones typically shopping for sled accessories.
So how does a manufacturer of after-market accessories reach their target market using social media? Let’s first understand how these guys use the internet and social media today:
- Discussion boards –these are often the first place they go to reach out to peers in the virtual ‘hood,’ solving snowmobile issues, gathering advice, buying and selling, and checking out snow conditions. These forums serve as a strong community of like-minded riders who support and razz each other, as the situations call for. There is significant opportunity for manufacturers to offer free advice, gather raw feedback, and respond to inquiries on these boards. Some with the most active discussions are:
- YouTube – no better way to demonstrate a product, its installation or use. Video can fill the gaps left by one dimensional photographs and narrative instructions. Most snowmobilers I know enjoy an action-packed snowmobile video, so including brief advertisements at the front of snowmobile videos would be a great way to gain brand recognition.