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Most companies go wrong because: Communities do not come together around the idea of being monetized.

If you are going to start using social media, the best advice I can give from mistakes I have learned from is to align your goal with how your target audience is using social media. People, for the most part, do not come together and form a community around a particular product. Instead, they come together because of a ‘bigger’ idea or a common association, interest or feeling that is related to that product.

 
For example, one of my clients is a cardiologist physician. Instead of building a “traditional” community forum to market his services or expertise for that matter, the direction I am implementing is to create a community forum about “How I lost my weight by eating healthy and exercising.” This encourages people to share their stories, recipes and exercise programs that worked for them. Now the doctor can “indirectly” contribute to the forum by posting or allowing members to ask him about questions pertaining to their diet and exercise programs. This strategy accomplishes the same objectives about his services, practice and expertise, but in a way that people want to use social media.

So if your company is wanting to use social media, or if it is wanting to participate in or create an online community, you have to align your goals with those of the people you want to reach. People aren’t going to interact with you via social media so you can beam marketing messages at them. And they aren’t going to come together and form communities so they can promote your product and grow your business.

Think about how your customers are using social media, and more importantly, think about why they are using social media. At the end of the day your goal is to reach people. Respect them and their time, and you’ll be rewarded for your efforts.

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What is the holy grail of marketing? WOM! WOM (word of mouth) is the ultimate goal of anyone who wants to grow their business. We as humans trust other humans more than we do advertising and marketing. Even if those people are strangers, they have more influence over our purchases than any other factor. But how do you get WOM up and going for your business?

One example I can recall is the way “Kenny” a good friend and client worked his WOM…Kenny is a 2nd generation shoe sales impresario who owns several retail stores in South Florida, including one at a prominent mall. Kenny was able to discover what other stores his clients shopped at and was able to develop a pretty good system by sending a free pair of shoes as well as discount coupons to other retail owners in the mall. The owners were thrilled to get free shoes, talked to their customers about how comfortable and stylish the shoes were and voila, he just created some good ole fashion WOM. This is a traditional grassroots approach which as you can tell is effective, but rather limiting. So how can you spread your WOM on a larger scale? Below are three ways you can utilize the power of radio to implement a strategic “Digital Grassroots” WOM effect..

1. Create a micro site on a radio stations website that allows potential consumers to get information about your product or service. It’s much more effective for someone to learn about who you are from their favorite radio station instead of a “pitchy” commercial..Now the station can create a campaign of :10 second commercials driving listeners to the micro site on their web page where listeners can learn more about your company.

2. Instead of on-air DJ endorsements, ask about specialty blogs DJ’s can post comments about. Make the content informative, but linkable to your company through RSS feeds. For example, if you have a Life Insurance business, the DJ can post “Life insurance as a good investment during recessions”- which can be linked to your site were readers can interact with and share your post within their social media networks. People love to shape news, especially amongst their peer groups!

3. Customize your website. Allow people to comment about your posts. Become a resource of news and incentivize people to subscribe to your site, then you can start advertising your site on radio, instead of more pitchy commercials about your product or service.

If you would like more information on how to get more customers and make more money by utilizing digital grassroots to increase your WOM, contact me for more information.

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