Recently I have been tackling the daunting task of making Tom’s Toys social media literate. Tom’s Toys has never had a great history of online brand building. We’ve had a Facebook page for four years that peaked at 100 followers. We have a Twitter account which I have forgotten the password to. We have a Yelp page which I did not create. We have a website. Sort of. All of these channels are my responsibility to oversee and I manage them with the dexterity and precision of a neanderthal at an Apple Store. Quite honestly, I don’t understand the language of social media and, like most Adam Sandler movies, I’m not sure I want to give it a try. I feel like one of those people who travel abroad teaching English in a country where they don’t know the primary language. The whole concept just doesn’t make sense to me.
The problem, however, is that social media and online branding is something I cannot ignore. People spend over five hours a day online and I bet a good portion of that is spent checking social media. I know I’m a culprit– sometimes as I scroll through the never-ending status updates of vague acquaintances I wonder how it is that I have minute-to-minute updates on that ‘one chick I met that one time in a bar in San Francisco’ but I haven’t heard from my non-Facebook friends and family in weeks. It also scares me when I try and remember the names and faces of old friends I don’t see on Facebook. I also can’t remembered who has disappeared off my feed. This is when the dystopian voice in the back of my head begins to cackle dramatically. How would I every notice if someone died or all of my friends were ‘extracted’? As long as I maintained my five hundred or so friends and a long list of feeds to scan would I ever be able to notice they were gone? I’d like to think I would, but I probably wouldn’t. People not on social media are the new Schrodinger’s cat– how do we know they are alive or dead until they post a status update? Who knows?
Despite all this, I still have to find a way to present Tom’s Toys online as a vibrant and interesting brand. We have four stores in four very different locations with very different clientele. We have over 2,000 product SKUs and pride ourselves on being one of the last independent toy store brands on the West Coast. We have a lot to brag about and a lot to show off. But the issue remains– if I don’t post about it, do we really exist?