Last week, I attended BlogWorld & New Media Expo, a three-day conference and tradeshow for bloggers, podcasters, Web content creators and social media innovators. While I wasn’t able to attend all 130+ sessions, I did listen in on some very good ones and will be recapping them here over the next few days.
Also available: “7 Deadly Social Sins,” a recap of the session featuring UnMarketing’s Scott Stratten.
Whether or not you like it, your brand has a community around it. In order to connect with your community, you have to humanize your brand.
Langer shared her suggestions on how companies can humanize their brand through community-building.
Community = Product + Culture
Community is what you feel when you go to a mom and pop store. That’s what people are looking for in a brand, and that’s the feeling that will keep them coming back.
Community is also building a culture around a brand. Apple does this very well. Take their iPad advertising as an example: It’s not about using the iPad, it’s about looking through pictures of your kids while you’re on the road.
Another example is Zappos, which has built a culture of helping people. Take a look at this entertaining ad campaign that features actual customer calls:
But you have to make sure you’re not being helpful just to get praise, said Langer. Just do it because it’s part of your company culture. And remember, everyone in your company represents your brand, so everyone has to buy into the culture.
If You Build it, Will They Come?
Social media is not like “Field of Dreams,” said Langer. Just because you build something, it doesn’t mean your audience will come. You have to find out where your community is and engage with them there.
Not all social media sites are used the same way, so keep that in mind when interacting with your community. For example, Twitter is like a baseball game, where everyone has the same interests. Talk to the guy sitting next to you and get to know each other. Everyone wants to be on the JumboTron, so share what other people are doing and help them spread their message.
Facebook is like a college club fair. People don’t go there to engage with brands; they go there to talk with friends. You have to engage with them on that level.
Your company blog is like a dinner party. It’s a place to connect and engage. You provide the meal (content) and invite people to your party. Sometimes people have opposing viewpoints, so you have to be open to debate and different views.
The In-Person Connection
In-person connections solidify relationships. Whenever possible, interact with your community in person, whether that means hosting/attending a meet-up, inviting locals for coffee when you’re on the road, etc.
Attending conferences is one of the best uses of marketing dollars, said Langer. If you have a booth at a conference, don’t just talk about your product -- get to know the people you talking to on a personal level. Connect with them, find out why they’re there, and then figure out where your product fits in.
Another tactic is to support a cause your community cares about. It really gives your brand a human aspect.
Whatever you do, make sure you’re doing it for the right reason. Be passionate about your brand and be real about connecting with people, and the community will follow.
Did you attend BlogWorld? What did you think of Langer’s presentation? Any points I missed?