When social media gets crowded

Wherever I go, whether it's a seminar, a meeting or just chatting with colleagues, I hear testimonials for social media.  The benefits of platforms like Facebook and Twitter are touted including spending thousands of dollars on advertising.  The bonus of online marketing is it is relatively easy to use, inexpensive in many cases and quite easy to track.  This is contrasted with traditional print advertising where it's often hard to track how many people actually read an ad in a magazine or newspaper and how much of an effort just gets tossed into the blue box.

There's definitely a social media craze.  But, if too many are using it, how do we get our voice heard amongst the crowd? Canadian Tire Wow Guide

Take for instance this write-up by Mark Evans.  He jokes about how in early November he received something odd in the mail: a catalogue.  It was the Canadian Tire's Wow catalogue.  Just like I likely would, Mark described his initial reaction as "This is dumb".  Why spend money on shipping around a catalogue when everyone is online.  Who reads these anymore?  But, he noted an interesting point that his wife made and that is it's easier to flip through the hard copy printed version than browsing a website and there are times and places when people just don't want to use their phone, tablet or other electronic device. 

Although maybe this approach by Canadian Tire is risky, Mark Evans outlines that many marketers are getting seduced by what is hot and that's social media advertising.  I know for sure that my Facebook stream is flooded with advertising.  On Twitter I regularly see paid advertising from companies that I do not follow.  It causes me to wonder how Hastings County through its social media channels can best have a voice amongst the social media crazed crowd.  Sometimes I feel like I'm attending a hockey game at the Canadian Tire Centre trying to shout out loud and compete with more than 18,000 other people in the same room. 

Canadian Tire may have found a solution with its catalogue.  If you own a business, do you think mailouts to your target market can work?  It's certainly an interesting thought and I know that the two free local weekly newspapers I receive at my doorstep are still loaded full of flyers.  Maybe a catalogue like Canadian Tire's that comes at special times on its own is something to consider. 

Another thing that catches my attention in Mark Evans' post is his focus on podcasting.  He says at one time podcasts "were red-hot" and then they disappared.  He says today podcasts are popular again and this is partly due to smartphones being in the hands of just about everyone and used by commuters and drivers.  I even find that I'm regularly downloading news podcasts and listening to them with headphones while doing the dishes or odd jobs around the house.  I don't have to watch a video or read a blog post like this one!  I can just listen to it and maybe even choose to hit play before I pull my van out of the driveway and listen while driving. 

That's why we here are working on a podcast.  Currently we are recording interviews with a dozen entrepreneurs from across Hastings County.  We are asking them why they chose to leave the city and establish themelves in Hastings County.  We also ask them about what it's like to live in the County, what do they do to unwind and what are their favourite activities.  I'm quite excited about this and if all goes well we will have something to announce and launch in early 2017.  Maybe this is a way for us to better stand out amongst the crowd.

What do you think?  Is this the new era of the printed catalogue and podcasting?