Oprah's On Twitter – Are You?

Social media platforms offer new ways to attract customers.


The current state of the economy is forcing retailers to find new ways to engage current customers, attract new customers and continue to drive traffic to their stores. With social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter steadily gaining momentum and media attention, now is the perfect time for retailers to expand their horizons and take part in the social media revolution.

Every day, more companies are embracing the many different forms of social media in order to make themselves more accessible to their customers. Whether it’s through MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc., companies are recognizing the importance of becoming involved in the social media space. Not only does social media allow companies to connect with consumers on a more personal level, it also allows them to monitor conversations people are having about particular industries, companies and products. This is your opportunity to share your expertise and offerings on the World Wide Web.

We at the World Wide Pet Industry Association (WWPIA) have a YouTube channel and a Twitter account to assist our organization with spreading the word about our consumer and industry tradeshows. Our YouTube channel is dedicated to promoting SuperZoo exhibitors and Super Zoo University, which takes place at the SuperZoo tradeshow, held Sept. 15-17, 2009, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. SuperZoo University is the largest education program in the pet industry, providing members with free courses to improve their company’s management, marketing and sales techniques. Our presence on YouTube gives us another platform to inform retailers and colleagues in the pet industry of the programs we offer.

We also recently started a Twitter page to help promote our consumer show, America’s Family Pet Expo, which was held April 17-19 at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, Calif. Twitter was a great asset for us, as it helped us promote the various animal acts that performed at the show, communicate with exhibitors and start conversations about different happenings in the pet industry.

Although the pet industry seems to be weathering the poor economic climate, pet businesses should still be proactive and get involved in new forms of communication to help bolster a company profile and get its name out there. If you own a pet store, why not start a Twitter page to alert consumers about special sales and offer tips on pet care? If you work with a company that manufactures pet products, why not start a Facebook fan page so admirers of your product can get updates on new launches? These are just some of the many ways a business can use social media to its advantage.

This year’s SuperZoo University program will offer multiple courses about social media.  Courses are free for show attendees and registration is open at www.superzoo.org.

Doug Poindexter is president of the World Wide Pet Industry Association, Inc.

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