Has the #Oculus created a rift?

What can we learn about social media from the Oculus Rift price announcement?

I’m just going to put it out there right now: I’m REALLY excited to get my hands on an Oculus rift. When I was just a little whippersnapper, I was taken on a family outing to a technology event that had the height of VR on display at the time. After just a few moments with that headset on, watching pixelated spaceships create even more pixelated explosions, I was hooked! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on what was coming next.

It’s been nearly 2 decades since then, but when I saw the Oculus announcement I went straight back to being that little kid again. I’ve followed the campaign on social media, I’ve kept up-to-date with the latest news and the whole way the little kid inside me has been grinning like an idiot. That was until sometime last week…

Last week the guys behind Oculus released their price point: $599. It should be retailing here in the UK for about £500. Five, hundred, pounds! I knew it was going to cost a fair amount, it’s new technology and that always costs a fair wad of cash, but that isn’t what’s frustrating. I’m not even annoyed that I’ve had to wait this long to get back in the VR seat! What’s got me and so many other people down is that we’ve not had our expectations met. When the Oculus was first announced, the team behind it said their price point was going to be between $200 – $400, about £150 – £300 for you and I, on average doubling in price.

What you’re probably wondering though is why you, as an Estate or Letting Agent, should care about any of this? I promise I’m not just using this as a platform for a rant, there’s a lesson to be learnt here so bear with me.

Social media is becoming the prime way that businesses communicate with their customers. People will seek out businesses they’re interested in and that they want to interact with, following everything they’re doing. It’s entirely shifting how consumers are choosing to engage with businesses.

Let’s take my wallet as an example. I love my wallet, it’s just the right size, has a frankly ridiculous amount of card slots and somehow still fits in my skinny jeans. I’ve had this wallet for years and when I first bought it the whole transaction was “see wallet, like wallet, buy wallet”. Now that process happens a little differently…

With the fashion companies that I follow now, not only do I see a new wallet pop up that I might want to buy, I know the design process behind it, I know the team that made it, I know where they chose the leather, the tanning process and why they made these decisions. It’s information like this that social media has made commonplace, everyone wants to know more about the business they use and the products they consume.

Oculus have had us riding along with them on their journey via social media from the very beginning, working everyone up, showing us just how amazing their product is going to be! The same as with many products and services these days, this is just how we’ve come to expect things. However, when they turn to us just a few months before the launch of a product we’ve been following for about 4 years and say “By the way, you can’t afford this now. Sorry.” It’s no wonder we’re annoyed!

Now what Oculus have going for them is that they’re a company fortunate enough to have the backing of Facebook. The marketing they have done and the technology they’re bringing to the table will still sell, we’ll just be a little bitter when the funds leave our account.

The main difference between you as a small business and Oculus though, is that expectation management is everything. If you don’t live up to the service that people have come to expect from you, or your social media portrays a false picture of you, it can quickly bring you down. Just a few bad reviews or clients left feeling hard done by can have a huge negative impact in today’s socially connected market.

If you take anything away from this, it’s to make sure you always meet the high bar you set for yourselves. Don’t ever promise something you might not be able to deliver on, no matter how well intentioned it may be, as it will soon make its way onto social media.

Social media can be your best friend but, just like your real friends, it doesn’t like being lied to.

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