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“Toys R Us” Toying with the Social Networking Scene


I am currently in the market for a few new Wii games and I have to admit, when I saw “Happy Halloween – Shop Our 2 Day MONSTER Sale” from Toys R Us in my inbox, I couldn’t resist. Unfortunately, when I clicked on the ad which brought me to the flyer, I didn’t find any games on sale. What I did find, however, is that Toys R Us has hopped on the Social Networking bandwagon with a very cool new tool that could completely change online shopping.
It may not be a Wii game but I found myself intrigued by an MP3 player novelty called “Live Jam Band” where 3 little aliens with instruments play to the music coming from your iPod (obviously, I’m easily amused). I clicked on the ad to view a pop up window with the information about the product.   The price, the button to add to your cart, the button to buy now online – all normal items that have been on the online shopping scene for years now.  

What I also found hiding was a link called “Bookmark this item”. When I clicked on this link, I found that it opened my interest in the product, “Live Jam Band”, to every single social network one could possibly think of. 
A pop-up box was opened with icons from over 30 social networks where you select which social network you belong to, login to your account on that network, and it automatically feeds into that network that you’d like to share with others information about the product.
For example, to test this out, I decided to post to Twitter and Facebook. I clicked on the Twitter icon, logged into my account, and found the URL for the product had been automatically placed in my "Twitter box".  Though the link was was too large to post (Twitter limits your posts to 140 characters), it can easily be shortened by copying and pasting the address into TinyURL.
In Facebook, I was automatically taken to a page where it posts the link and I can put a comment…
I hit post and went to my profile and voila! Listed on my profile for everyone to see was a link to the product that I’m interested in buying and my comment that “I might buy this”.
For those who doubt the strength and length of social networking, this tool just goes to show you how powerful it can be.  Standard marketing techniques (ie newspaper flyers) may still be around for years to come, however, with tools like this in the making, viral marketing may very well completely overtake traditional ways of advertising.  Learning to harness social networks for sales and advertising will be key to catch the eye of the of the mobile and Internet-savvy generation.

 For the record, while I did share the project with others in my social networks, I decided not to get the product.  Perhaps someone who follows me on Twitter or is friends with me on Facebook will!

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