The trick, though, is that today’s college kids also make their buying decisions in very different ways from those of “typical” consumers. If you want to really do well with the college crowd, in other words, you’ve got to go viral—you’ve got to market your eBay goods and/or store using social networking and online tools.
Going Viral 101If you’ve never been all too hot on the “Internet buzzword” bandwagon, now’s the time to get familiar with it. There are a number of free Internet sites and tools that you’ve absolutely got to make use of if you’re going to make the most of the August-through-October “dorm room boom.” They are, in no particular order of importance:
- YouTube—Find a young person (your own college-age children, your childrens’ friends, yourself if you’re college-age, your own friends) and make them into a film star by having them demonstrate your products on video in short, informative clips that end with a reference to your eBay store. Then, post these videos to YouTube. Be sure that the star of the video is (a) young, (b) photogenic, (c) enthusiastic, and (d) understandable when they speak on camera. Do this in particular for every unique, boutique, or “cute” product that you stock or sell.
- Facebook and MySpace—If you haven’t already, create accounts on these two social megasites and start collecting young friends. Post news and information about (i.e. “blog” about) your products regularly. Include lots of great photos. Link to your YouTube videos and again, reference your eBay store. Tell visitors to watch your profile for promotions, and then run promotions like sales and discounts and free gifts and blog about them as well. Ask visitors to refer their friends to you.
- Twitter—Every time you post a new YouTube video, a new announcement or entry on Facebook or MySpace, or add a great new item to your inventory, tweet it. Tweet your discounts and promotions, and tweet about great uses or accessories for your products. Don’t be bland; use your imagination and let your tweets run wild. Be fun! This crowd isn’t looking for old fashioned marketing pitches and specifications. They’re looking for lines like “TWO $69 pink minifridges = TWICE AS MUCH COLD BEER!” and “Get a Betty Boop laptop case and get hit on faster!”
Once youre accounts have been created and you begin to post content, remember to cross-promote between each of these social networking avenues often, so that the student who finds any one of them can soon connect to all of them.
Of course, once you've mastered the basics, if you really want to go viral, you can expend a little extra effort to get a lot of extra return on your time. Read on to find out how.