How Gen Y Buys, Unemployment Rate Related to Web Presence Identity, Traditional vs. Social media

by Tanner M. on

Gen Y Buying Decisions, Unemployment Rate with Relation to Web Presence Indicators, Social Media vs. Traditional Media, Digital Divide Business Edition, & More

Some businesses just do not understand the importance of building a web presence identity. Either they are afraid of the change that is happening in front of their eyes, stubborn, or do not know where to begin in the mass world of social media.

I HIGHLY SUGGEST you read my previous post on “Survival of the Fittest” Social Media, Social Darwinism, and Business” before you read on.

How Generation Y Makes Purchasing Decisions

You know what I do (and a majority of Gen Y and even Gen X) before I buy a product? I go to social media sites and find peer reviews of the products and buy the best one. I do not rely on “traditional quality brands” just being able to sell themselves through their history. That does not work anymore. For example, if I want to buy a new LED HDTV, I will search social media world for the best one through social interactions with my peers. If it happens to be some no name brand from the middle of nowhere China, then I am probably going to buy that one because I trust and find my peers more credible than traditional brands living off their past reputation and history.

Increase in Online Purchasing

It’s funny because just this past Christmas, you know what I noticed at my family gathering? Boxes from Amazon and Aeropostale and Abercrombie or whatever other A companies are on the internet (you know why a lot of companies chose to start their names with an A? To be at the front of directories that alphabetize) from people increasingly going online to find what they are looking for.
It’s funny because just this past Christmas, you know what I noticed at my family gathering? Boxes from Amazon and Aeropostale and Abercrombie or whatever other A companies are on the internet (you know why a lot of companies chose to start their names with an A? To be at the front of directories that alphabetize) from people increasingly going online to find what they are looking for.

Web Presence (or lack of) in Johnstown, PA

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the businesses in my hometown of Johnstown, PA. I was checking out the web presence of Johnstown as a whole and was absolutely stunned by the lack of businesses using the power of the internet, especially social media networking. Not only that, the ones that did have a web presence had atrocious, slow loading, still using frames (a really old web design technique, one I used when I was 10 years old, which was over 13 years ago), and just flat out ugly sites. For the most part, these sites have not been updated for 5 or more years!

I just do not understand it. Is it that these companies are ignoring the opportunities to connect with their customers or prospects? Is it they feel they do not need to connect? Afraid of change? Do not know where to start?

Even the web design and marketing firms for the most part have terrible looking web presence identities. They are also incredibly hard to find. How can we rely on a marketing company that cannot be found on the internet through Google or social media sites? If we do find them, how can we rely on them to be creative in their marketing campaigns if their website is boring, outdated, or not creative at all?

It is 2010 and Johnstown needs to get with the times.

Unemployment Rate and Web Presence Indicators

This is a look at the current unemployment rate in Cambria County (Johnstown, PA “Home of the movie Slapshot with Paul Newman (affiliate)”), Centre County (my current town, State College, PA “Home of The Nittany Lions of Penn State University“) compared to the rest of the U.S. and Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania as a whole is doing better than most states in terms of unemployment rate; however Cambria County is around 8.8%, above the average for PA and massively above the average for Centre County.

I might make a guess that the unemployment rate in Cambria County would be a lot worse if it was not for the few higher educational institutions, especially University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (who also has an ugly website that is outdated, even though they are surrounded by people that could fix that). Centre County, my current county and home of Penn State University, is doing quite well compared to the rest of the U.S., Cambria County, and Pennsylvania. A huge part of that is most likely because of one of the leading research institutions in the world in Penn State.

However, here is a thought…looking at the web presence identities of the businesses here in Centre County compared to Cambria County there is quite a huge difference! Is there a relation between businesses connecting and building a web presence identity and unemployment rate?

Many of the businesses in Centre County, specifically State College, have some sort of web presence identity whereas Cambria County, specifically Johnstown, is failing to connect. It might be that these companies know where to go if they need to start building real estate on the internet. They just go to my school, College of Information Sciences & Technology at Penn State, and put up a posting, ON THE INTERNET (through Compass, College of IST’s Job Posting System), for people who are highly educated and skilled in technology.

Now you could say that many of the businesses in Johnstown could do the same with the students at University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. However, UPJ only enrolls around 3,000 students where Penn State enrolls around 40,000 students. UPJ also does not have an IT and Social Informatics intensive program of study (they do have computer science, albeit a small program of study and most likely does not cover Social Informatics), whereas Penn State has a whole college dedicated to it in the College of Information Sciences & Technology. For businesses in Johnstown, it is most likely a lot harder for them to find students who can help build an identity on the internet.

Traditional vs. Social Media: Digital Divide for Businesses

If you do not know what the Digital Divide is, I suggest you read my paper on The Digital Divide. Basically, those who have and utilize technology are “getting ahead” and those that do not have access or utilize technology are “getting behind.”

Instead of connecting with their customers or prospects through the use of the internet and social media, these businesses are relying on traditional methods. Traditional methods will probably continue to work for established entities, however, they also have a chance to attract and retain more of their customers through communication in social media world. Instead of continually building their brand identity by connecting and interacting with customers, providing FREE value added content, building credibility, authenticity, and trust, they are sitting back and relying on old methods.

Instead of customers and prospects turning to Google and Social Media to find out what they are looking for, in Johnstown they will be singing “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2.” The companies they do find on the internet that is giving FREE VALUE ADDED content and helping their customers and prospects will be building a relationship, credibility, and trust. Who are these customers going to go to buy a product or a service? The ones that are connecting, building relationships, authenticity, credibility, and trust…or the ones that they cannot find anything about, have no web identity, and are relying on traditional methods? Well if their market contains Gen Y or the highly sought after 18-35 years of age, then the ones that are building connections and relationships will be getting our business and the old companies will LOSE.

Instead of a local restaurant that could send out a message on Twitter promoting a daily Twitter special in real-time which could attract more people in the door, restaurants in Johnstown are going to the television to try and get their message out. Instead of being online and always in communication and contact with customers or prospects learning about which menus items are awesome and which are terrible so they can fix them or which waitresses deserve to get a raise or which ones should be tossed to the street, they are doing nothing, which pretty much shows they do not care!

Eventually, they will open their eyes and realize their competitors are gaining traction through the use of the internet and social media (which takes time to do), that they will then try and make an attempt at it. They will be behind the curve and will become a part of a digital divide. They will be trying to roll a large heavy ball against a steep slope.

Mobile Presence Importance

Having a web presence is only going to get bigger with mobile phones becoming the number 1 way to connect to the internet (which it is for most of the world already), sites like Foursquare and Twitter, and the increase in people going online to find their information

Final Thoughts

Brands and companies no longer control their message, the community and their customers do. It is now a two-way street. Do you know what they are saying? If they are not saying anything then that is a problem.

It is as simple as that. Get with the times, start building a web presence NOW (which takes a good bit of time!), or lose out to your competitors that are going to take advantage of the opportunities to connect and build relationships!

My Call to Action!

I want to bring the Digital age and Innovation to my hometown of Johnstown, PA (Because frankly, right now it is a boring town), actually I want to bring it to everywhere that is behind the times!  Here is the tribe I will be bringing along with me and what they want:

  • We want to be heard, we want businesses to listen to us.
  • We want companies to come out from behind closed doors and become as authentic and transparent as possible.
  • 1. Authentic – Transparent
    2. Trust
    3. Credible
  • It is not about products/services anymore, its about experiences. Do not sell us a product/service.  Sell us an experience.  Daily remarkable experiences!
  • We want an experience everywhere we go, every restaurant, bar, shop, any place we step into.
  • We want stuff that is great.
  • If you want us to follow, don’t be boring.
  • We want you to listen to us and then create something remarkable.
  • We will have your answers on how to become remarkable if you just listen.
  • “Good enough” stopped being good enough a long time ago.  So why not be great?” – Seth Godin

Do not know what to do?

Integrate Social Media & Traditional Media.  Become authentic, credible, and trustworthy.  Build relationships with us and refuse to become the “status quo.”

I can help you become more connected with your customers/users/students/clients/prospects…Stop being boring and start listening to what they are saying!

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