Are you looking for concrete brand benefits in regards to implementing social media initiatives? Are you looking for those nuggets that can help sell it in to clients or, for those of you on the corporate side, within your organization?
This week I’ll share a benefit each day. These are by no means the ONLY benefits for brands who engage in social media, so feel free to add others that you fly as a flag when discussing the space with clients. Of course, you should make sure your brand is ready to participate in social media before selling it in.
Social Media Communities are the New Water Coolers
The water cooler was always a place to share rumors, laughs, insights, great experiences, rants and raves. Social media communities are the new water coolers. What’s the big deal? There are two major differences between the old water coolers and the new water coolers.
There are MUCH bigger crowds at the water cooler.
That means that more consumers hear and are potentially influenced by what one person has to say about your brand – good or bad. Remember how one opinion matters more than ever today?
Brands are invited to the water cooler.
This is the BIG difference and the real benefit for brands. You can listen in on online conversations using tools like Technorati, Google Blog Search and Twitter Search. Do you want to know if consumers are talking about your new national campaign and, if so, what they’re saying? These tools can help you do just that.
You can shape the conversations happening online. Notice that “shape” is very different from “dictate.” It’s dialogue and people typically won’t regurgitate your key messages just because you pop in and shout them. But you can correct rumors quickly, share an insightful piece of news for your industry and encourage positive discussions through your meaningful participation.
You can identify brand evangelists and think of appropriate ways to reward them or their connections to create even deeper bonds with your company. Approach a few influential bloggers, give them a product you’re currently testing and ask for their candid feedback. Offer to give them five finished products to give away to their readers through a contest once testing is over and it’s ready to hit the marketplace.
Lastly, the new water cooler gives you an opportunity to keep more customers. If a consumer is ranting about your product or service, reach out to them. If they have a valid argument, consider ways to fix the problem and tell them how you’re fixing it. Thank them for bringing it to your attention. Chances are good that other consumers are having the same problem. That means that addressing it benefits a good percentage of your customers and, consequently, your brand.
Is your brand hanging out at the water cooler? What else are brands missing by not listening to and helping shape the conversations going on there?
*Image by John Brooks.