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Your brand can help people share

July 3, 2008

The Giza pyramid complex at night.

Image via Wikipedia

At our agency, we’re talking a lot about using Web 2.0 tools. We’ve already dabbled in Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and we’re looking at a few other things.

And each time we begin to talk about a brand jumping in, they all wonder the same thing. Will people engage?

Each time, we point to the many places that people are already engaging with brands. From blog posts, to images, to full on produced video for a client. After we show them these conversations, the next question comes:

“How do we turn that into sales?”

Take a step back from that question for a second. Imagine your brand is a tourist attraction. For the sake of argument, imagine the Egyptian Government hires your agency to market the Pyramids of Giza.

It doesn’t take a detective to learn that there are many places to find user generated content.

But what does that mean? So what? Why should a brand care that people are sharing content that surrounds the brand? Here are five reasons:

1. People have more credibility than marketers. When marketers say something, we speak marketing. When people say say something, they aren’t selling, they are telling. Admittedly, some marketers are really good at telling stories. Storytelling might be the next great invention online. But for in traditional marketing, marketers still use paid media to do it, so it still feels like selling.

2. That Flickr site filled with pictures people took of the Pyramids are ads. If marketers can direct this content under your logo, the content will begin to feel a little bit like the brand’s ads, but done by people (see #1).

3. SEO. Begin to the be the place that people share content, at your name will move ever so quickly up the SEO ladder. Do a Google search for “Brooklyn Museum” to see what social media can do.

4. Free testimonials. This is basically the same as #1, but still important. A testimonial in an ad feels like an ad because people understand that testimonials (by celebrities or people who look like normal people) are manufactured. When someone posts a picture of your brand, it’s because they genuinely like it.

5. They are already doing it, why not get on board?

Look, it’s not as easy as setting up a Flickr account and a group and sitting back. It takes a little more thought than that, but setting up the page is a good start. And, to pretend again that we’re talking about the Pyramids, it should go without saying that when someone posts about going to the Pyramids, you don’t jump in and tell them to visit again. Because that would be rude.

Instead, you let them tell people to visit. At least, that’s the hope.

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