12 MOST engaging reasons why brands need to embrace social media now

April 30th, 2012 by CASUDI


Brands are discovering that they can connect with their influencers, advocates and customers in online communities. The successful online communities, and some of these are twitter chats are attracting sponsors. However, many brands are still hesitating; they need to realize that by embracing a community now, they can “jump-start” riding the Social Media wave.

1. Communities are a known entity, attracting sponsors and advertisers

There are now enough online metrics to validate this. Some online chats are getting above 10 million impressions for their one-hour weekly chat!  This is no accident; Savvy community leaders approach the chat with a business strategy and well-planned tactics; and guest hosts drawing in the crowd and facilitating ongoing conversations. Planning the chat can assure that the transcript reads as a valuable resource.

2. Community leaders know how to build, grow and maintain their communities

“Collaborate, share, educate and appreciate”. It is the members of the community that continuously help it evolve; collaborating and sharing relevant information, recommending best practices and products, educating each other. The successful chat community leaders attract the best industry guest hosts and combine this with a Social Media multi channel strategy. The viral aspects of this are well recognized today.

3. Community leaders are industry experts

 

The best leaders have social media expertise and track records in business and traditional media. Many are  ‘serial entrepreneurs’ having started and run several successful companies; or they may still be involved day to day in leading a marketing, or branding agency. The leaders understand all sides of social media, integrating the “old” Marketing, Public Relations with social media, understanding technology and what is most relevant; “know how to use it”.

4. Traditional PR and Marketing initiatives are no longer enough

Everything is changing – technology, platforms, and most of all, the audience’s expectations. Ten years ago, people saw the Internet as a marketing tactic, but now it’s an indispensable tool for everyday living. Social media has become a mainstream form of communication; rivaling and often surpassing traditional media. For the first time, it is a way for brands to communicate directly with their target audiences. Brands are quickly realizing the value of social marketing. Importantly, what hasn’t changed; is the need for proven solutions from industry experts”.

5. Like never before, brands need to find, engage and interact with their audience

Online communities are where the advocates, the influencers and the end users are. Brands can find out quite directly what their customers are saying about them, what they want and what their ongoing issues are. Conversations are taking place constantly and globally between brands and communities.

6. As communities develop, a brand can move to the forefront

With astute guidance, they can select an appropriate chat and/or community, engage and sponsor. Giving back to your customer base is “good will” for any brand. Chats have communities based on trust, which is key to building relationships. When a brand embraces and sponsors a community it can move light years ahead into the social arena. A two way win.

7. There is an incredible amount of market research

 

This is being generated from online analytics and the tools already exist for monitoring. Chat questions can be designed to reflect what marketers want to learn from the community. There can be surveys and with follow up via all the social media channels. Q/A continues on Facebook. Building or joining an existing community relevant to the brand, can streamline this research process into a win/win situation, and jumpstart collaboration with already trusted relationships with the established community.

8. Successful communities have already built the trust

 

The communities understand the interaction with their members. Many chats have knowledgeable, interesting focused individuals often from around the globe. It’s the professional participants, often high profile  influencers, that make a community what it is. It is the professional planning, which facilitates maximum impact with the brands. There has to be a powerful community infrastructure behind any successful community or chat. It’s creativity, collaboration and global interaction at the speed of light. It’s a perfect mix of creativity and business strategy.

9.  Effective communities are transparent

 

A brand can follow the advocates, influencers and customers participating in a chat. Social marketing today is about maximizing the technology; integrating social functionality into the online experience. Communities are open to brands that give back by offering educational value to the community in exchange for the exposure. The brand success stories showcase this.

10. Online communities have marketable benefits and  opportunities

Participants in a chat are brand  influencers and advocates, as well as brand customers. A brand can find an existing trusted community, thus extending it’s PR strategy and brand audience. Twitter chats can link to a brand’s video, their online catalogs, live streaming, blogging. It’s a powerful global marketing tool like never before.

11. It’s not just the chats, but the educational opportunities

An engaging extension of the live chat is the subject specific educational seminars bringing executives, Industry participants and businesses together. Audiences want to share experiences, and social media seminars at live events offer valuable real life networking. People want to be inspired and educated, and the corporations promote this.

12. Communities evolve and grow

 

The best communities are managed with the planning and focus of a successful business. Growing the community website/blogging platform is a valuable part of the PR and Marketing equation for any community and its sponsors. Expanding into live (educational) events sponsors can be involved with the knowledge, information and resource exchange and really be a part of the community. It is the live interaction at events, the community meeting in real life that solidifies relationships, and facilitates increased business and measurable ROI.

Brands need to understand that the evolving chat and online communities is where to find the influencers & advocates for their brand. We are just beginning to surf the wave of “influence marketing”.

Caroline Di Diego (CASUDI) is a multi-faceted entrepreneur with parallel careers. In one she focuses on Architectural Design Solutions, and in the other (where most of you know her) she helps start ups & early-stage companies, building effective start-up teams, creating workable business models, and bringing new technologies to market. James Ferris is her business partner of 22 years.

She is an avid student of community & influence and has researched & participated in numerous online twitter chats for three years.

“Republished with permission, courtesy of 12 Most” – ORIGINAL POST

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5 Responses to “12 MOST engaging reasons why brands need to embrace social media now”

  1. Tara Alemany Says:

    Great post! I love the fact that, time and again, the word “communities” appeared in it. So many businesses forget that social media is a vital community-builder. It allows unfettered interactions between the individuals interested in a brand, movement, or other trend.

    As such, it involves active individuals; not those passively sitting on the couch watching TV and absorbing traditional media. We are the movers and shakers. We get things done. I’d much rather have one person on my team fired up about an idea than 100 people on my team who don’t really care.

    And if a brand comes alongside me and shows that they have the same interests and dedication, guess what? They’ve got a new follower!

  2. Brian Driggs Says:

    Social media is something of a misnomer. Online communities date back to the earliest days of dial-up. Millions of people have been self-organizing around brands and products for nearly two decades at this point. And the brands, through their marketing shills, have a proven track record of not being particularly interested in what the public has to say.

    Community is continually evolving. There’s a clear life cycle in place where missions change over time. Today, brands are in a unique position to have simple tools readily available which would help them build relationships with their customers as equals. I think they could save a ridiculous amount of time and money if they’d stop trying to own and control the conversation and just joined us where we already are as equals.

    Help us help you help us. It’s not rocket science!

    PS: I feel my arm being gently twisted. How am I supposed to host a chat when I can’t even get to the ones I already know about and enjoy? Oy vey. Gotta figure this one out. Such a good idea… even if most of our target audience isn’t on Twitter.

  3. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Tara, thank you for visiting Designing Success. You brought up an interesting point which leads me to thinking about “Social Engineering” again. How can brands motivate “couch potatoes” who are used to “inflow”, to become interactive members of communities and “engage” participate in “two-way” flow. Any ideas?

  4. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Regarding starting another chat? There were over 550 chats when I wrote the original post, and trust me there have to be another 100 by now. So starting a chat, especially when you say most of your audience is not online would not seem the best use of limited time.Consider finding an existing place where your community members hang out online or where they might decide to hangout and join forces. It seems to me the many mergers of twitter chats is imminent.

    Just look at #intdesignerchat, the leader in the Interior design chat space and yet many chats are jumping in with almost the same focus rather than joining forces. It takes time to build a chat with the multiple platforms, including the Real Life iteration at events. Will these new chats last? It takes a lot of work and time to design and sustain the really good ones. Especially those that are already making money with chat sponsors. Like everything else Social Media it takes more time than you think, and a business plan is a good idea :-) If you want to brainstorm about this, happy to help. Thanks as always for your contributory comments.

  5. TWICs XXX Says:

    […] Inclined to Design: 12 Most Engaging Reasons Why Brands Need to Embrace Social Media Now (05.03.12) Community is continually evolving. There’s a clear life cycle in place where missions change over time. Today, brands are in a unique position to have simple tools readily available which would help them build relationships with their customers as equals. I think they could save a ridiculous amount of time and money if they’d stop trying to own and control the conversation and just joined us where we already are as equals. […]

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