Comment: Anthony McCrossan discusses levelling the online playing field

Cyclevox speaker suggests social media brings independent's marketing power on par with big fish
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Words by @AntMcCrossan, or Anthony McCrossan in non-Twitter speak:

There is no doubting that social media and social media tools are developing at an alarming rate. But what does this mean to you and the cycle industry as a whole? Opportunity, threat or something else?

If there is one thing to focus on right now it is this - the future is in this space, the playing field has been levelled and you need to pull your digital cycling top on and get in the race.

This article was written having read the recent – ‘will Facebook replace the website?’ article on What we do know is that to get in the digital race no longer costs anything. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Vimeo, YouTube are all free. It costs nothing to digitally broadcast your company values, message, services globally. Business can be done quickly and efficiently across global markets. The question posed in the recent article was - Will Facebook replace the company website?

In truth, it will probably complement it – but there is no doubt that it is more interactive, more visited, more intuitive than most company websites and is carried on iPhone, Android, Blackberry by millions of people. It gives your business the opportunity to have a digital dialogue with your consumers, not just broadcast your message. And it gives you the ability to give instant messages, leaves a feeling of involvement with your consumers and provides you with instant feedback.

There are many retail kings who believe that Facebook will become the marketplace for goods and services globally. It won’t replace retail stores, but it will assist in how they advertise and maybe ultimately sell. Can this happen? Yes. Will it happen? Probably. When will it happen? Quicker than you may even care to realise. Facebook now has company page capability, takes video uploads, photographs, can be linked with every highly utilised social media tool available and is easy to use. It is now becoming the go-to place for conversations, messaging and the next stage that we are already seeing is interactive video gaming globally. Importantly, Facebook now gives you an insight into who is looking at your page, where they are and what made them visit. Fantastic business information you can use to develop and grow.

Cycling as a sport has embraced Twitter, in the same way many sports have. Lance Armstrong, for example, has more followers than the entire population of Latvia, or Slovenia, or even Luxembourg. Phil Liggett reaches more people when he tweets than the circulation of most weekly or monthly cycling magazines. Twitter is instant, it’s an alert service, it satisfies the appetite of the person who needs instant information – you can liken it to the breaking news scrolling tabs at the bottom of BBC News, or Sky News, except it is there in a persons hand and they can add to it. Using these tools in the right way can have a meaningful impact on your business, there is no doubt about that.

So, what are our customers doing now, what results are they achieving and what can you do as a minimum to get started?
The brands and events we work with at Cyclevox are already utilising Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo and YouTube as part of their overall marketing and PR strategy. As a minimum we have them using Twitter and Facebook. They have a company Facebook page so that they can interact with the consumers buying their product or entering their event and Twitter for alerts, quick competitions and instant updates on launches, press conferences, new product releases and even competitions. These are linked together so that followers can be updated.

Dependent on budget for filming, YouTube or Vimeo is added. This gives followers insight, more information and more association with the brand or event. And what have we seen as a result of using these tools?

Events that Cyclevox has worked with have doubled entries, brands have seen spikes in interest in their products on line, subscriptions to brand newsletters have grown, databases of consumers have increased and we have even gained clients by talking about what we do on Twitter. And where is it all leading – well Facebook wasn’t around six years ago and look where it has got to now. The only thing we do know is – it is better to be in the race and having a go, than to be in the tifosi on the roadside!

About Cyclevox
Cyclevox is a media, PR and sponsorship consultancy specialising in the cycling world. It provides events, teams, brands and broadcasters with a range of tailored services.
Phone: 07774 850516

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