Social Media & Cigars
Admit it – you’re dependent on social media, aren’t you? How do I know? Aside from the fact that you’re reading an online magazine, it is very likely that you stumbled upon this publication via a post on Facebook or Google+, a Tweet, an email, or a link provided by someone on a blog or forum. However you found this article, now that you are here, you are using social media as you read this. Welcome to the Social Age, my fellow dependent!
Like many niches, the cigar industry is also impacted by social media. Social media is actually expanding the industry as a whole and connecting us to a whole new crowd of people that has been otherwise untouched in the past. Consumers can find out about new cigars being produced, the latest news, reviews, forum conversations, contests, and retailer specials and stock with a few clicks of a button or touch screen. In fact, several shops or cities have cigar festivals dedicated to the bonding that takes place among cigar smokers via social media. Places like Chattanooga, TN and Washington, D.C. have annual Tweet-Ups where smokers, reps, owners, and bloggers all congregate to celebrate their love for a good cigar.
At the same time, the industry faces its fair share of potential problems via social media as well. Think of how consumers’ buying habits can be affected by a few unfavorable cigar reviews or how comments made in a forum can spark controversy and contempt. There are those who exploit the generosity of B/SOTLs in trades or sales arranged online. I’ve seen communities swallowed whole by group think, their members seemingly compelled to praise or condemn a brand or cigar maker based not on merit, but on the opinions of others. The scenarios go on and on
As the interaction between companies and consumers increases, the cigar community will continue to attract new members. Hopefully, the larger and more diverse the consumer base, the more people there will be to ensure a vibrant market and defend our rights as cigar smokers. Cigar smoking is no longer reserved for the “boys club” or rich investment bankers; its appeal reaches people of all income brackets and backgrounds. From the “poor college student” to the “blue collar worker” to doctors and lawyers, people from a variety of backgrounds are getting into the hobby. Much of this can be attributed to the wealth of information about and the strong sense of family within the cigar community. It can also be credited to the ability to market in new ways to large groups of people instantaneously. Plus, customers can search reviews to find strengths and profiles of cigars similar to the ones they already like, and can make a more informed choice next time they buy.