Alot about marketing has changed over the last few years. Most notably, marketers don’t control the message the way they once did. What was once a megaphone for broadcasting has become a walkie-talkie for facilitating conversations.
These times call for strategies that allow businesses to understand and participate in conversations with customer communities, market with total transparency, and take a proactive rather than reactive stance in creating the brand voice.
Several entirely new tactics are in order to ensure a companies’ reputation and service remains in tact at all times.
Monitoring the brand online
Setting up radars and listening stations to pick up the slightest hint of negative buzz can help a company address an issue before it grows. Even simple tools such as Google Alerts and search.twitter.com can keep you in the real-time loop.
Participating in social media
One of the best ways to understand what’s hot and what’s not, what people expect and need, and where the potential opportunities reside is to participate in social networks and news sites. Seeing first-hand the kind of content that gets bookmarked by hundreds of prospects on a site like del.icio.us can be some of the best research you’ll ever get your hands on.
In addition, by building strong, fully developed profiles on the major social bookmarking and networking sites you can effectively defense some elements of your brand by simply claiming some of the hottest search engine real estate. The search engines are very impressed right now with social media sites and content. See for yourself - click on this search for John Jantsch on Google - 5 of the first 10 listings come from my social media profiles.
Hosting the user conversation
At some point, someone is going to have a beef with your brand. Many companies fear the backlash that a negative comment, right there on the company blog, could have. My take is that hosting that content, addressing that concern in an authentic manner for all to see is one of the most positive things you can do for your reputation. And let’s face it, if someone wants to make negative comments they can find places to do it. Why not let them do it where your community, hopefully made up of some fans, can come to your aid if appropriate.
Synthesizing what’s being said
Once you get hooked on the dashboard effect of setting up radars and participating in social networking sites you might be ready to jump up to one of the premium online monitoring tools like Radian6 to get a glimpse into what’s being said, what’s effective and who’s being engaged in a hundred different ways.
John Jantsch is a marketing and digital technology coach, award-winning publisher and author of “Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide”