Branding Strategies: New Ways to Use Social Media

04Apr09

Branding Strategies: New Ways to Use Social Media

Last year, social media expert Chris Brogan wrote an article on 50 new ways that marketers can use social media to improve their marketing. The article became extremely popular amongst marketers, causing another social media expert, Jeremiah Owyang, to modify the list and segment the 50 social media ideas into 5 categories:

  1. Listening: Gleaning market and customer insight and intelligence
  2. Talking: Engaging in a two way discussion to get your message out (and get messages in)
  3. Energizing: Letting your customers tell your prospects on your behalf (viral, word of mouth)
  4. Supporting: Getting your customers to self-support each other
  5. Embracing: Building better products and services through collaboration with clients

In the past, I have written about articles about listening, talking, and embracing, but today I would like to talk to you a little bit about he other two categories, energizing & supporting.

Energizing: Letting your customers tell your prospects on your behalf.

This is an extremely common marketing technique, often called Word of Mouth marketing, which occurs when one (or many) customers tell their friends and family about your product or services. This is the highest form of endorsement, as people are much more likely to purchase a service or product if it has been endorsed by someone they respect.

There are many different social media strategies that can be used in this category, but here are a few of my favorites from Chris & Jeremiah:

  • Add social bookmark links to your most important web pages and/or blog posts to improve sharing.
    For every video project purchased, ensure there’s an embeddable web version for improved sharing.
  • Learn how tagging and other meta data improve your ability to search and measure the spread of information.
  • Download the Social Media Press Release (pdf) and at least see what parts you want to take into your traditional press releases.
  • Help customers and prospects connect with you simply on your various networks. Consider a Lijit Wijit or other aggregation widget.
  • Spread good ideas far. Re-blog them. Bookmark them. Vote them up at social sites. Be a good citizen.

Supporting: Getting your customers to self support one another

This second category, is one that I am very excited to talk about. Every year companies spend thousands of dollars on phone and internet support for their customers, when often enough, there are brand evangelists and experts who are willing to help contribute to support problems, all you need to do is ask. Here are some new ways to encourage self-supporting with your customer base:

  • Build community platforms around real communities of shared interest.
  • Help companies participate in existing social networks, and build relationships on their turf.
  • Experiment with Flickr and/or YouTube groups to build media for specific events. (Marvel Comics raised my impression of this with their Hulk statue Flickr group).
  • Start a community group on Facebook or Ning or MySpace or LinkedIn around the space where your customer does business.
  • Learn what other free tools might work for community building, like MyBlogLog.
  • Remember that the people on social networks are all people, have likely been there a while, might know each other, and know that you’re new. Tread gently into new territories. Don’t NOT go. Just go gently.
  • Voting mechanisms like those used on Digg.com show your customers you care about which information is useful to them.

Conclusions

All of these suggestions are small little steps in developing your brand online. Each idea takes time and patience to implement, and must be aimed at the right audience for successful adoption. Lastly, before you jump in, successful campaigns revolve around setting your goals early in the campaign, and using the right social media tools to measure for success.

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