So for one of my presentations I am presenting Swoopo.com, an entertainment auction site that, some critics say, plays off the emotions of the consumer. My team was talking about why these auctions evoked emotions from its bidders, which raised the question, what are some other forms of emotional purchases that people make and is widely accepted. We came up with a small list, like the wedding industry, chocolates, etc, but we didn't feel like we had anything concrete.
I chose to use social media as a source of finding our answer. On my facebook page, I posted the question, "Needs examples of emotion based purchases." The results varied from utterly hilarious (a wife, thanks Tom), to totally ridiculous (Condoms, maybe more of a passion based purchase Jeremiah), but many of the responses were pretty accurate (Wegmans chocolate cake ... when you are depressed about school..., Thanks Rowan, Louboutin shoes, Good one Katie) . All in all this was pretty accurate to what I expected from an open and flat platform but I found it amazing how many responded and if I were to transfer this to other topics, would I get the same quality of responses or is it that on facebook, users respond because they are within my network and my friend or do they feel empowered when they answer simple questions like the one I posted. For instance, if I were to post this on a message board, would people respond? What would be the quality of the responses? On a general message board, posters don't know me so why should they post? However, users visit these sites often to give their opinion because it makes them feel like their knowledge is important (and it is).
Social media has definitely furthered the path for 2 sided platforms and, for this reason, has become a very important tool for businesses today. Company blogs are an effective way for company's to not only promote their company through grassroots advertising but also gain insight from their customers. Sites like Yelp is a forum for advertising. Writers write because it makes them feel empowered but what they write is also a form of free advertisement for the establishment. Even negative comments can be used to improve processes and efficiencies.