Daily Archives: January 6, 2014

You’ve Got the Community, Now Make it Stronger

Whether you’re an established brand or a start-up, getting your community up and running is by no means the end of the job. Once you have that initial foundation of return members and contributing users, what do you do next? Strengthen their connection to your brand of course! Now there’s a lot of wisdom out there on how best to strengthen your community, whether it be through comments, blogger outreach, or ambassador programs. Let’s look at the best words of advice for each of these areas.

To create a community is one thing, to make that community fiercely loyal to the brand, worthy of the title of brand ambassador, takes some practice. A post on brand loyalty offers this advice:

Fierce Loyalty

  • To get the community to be loyal to you, first you have to love them!
  • Loyalty comes from a feeling of connection.
  • Use social media to make sure members can connect with each other (on and offline)

To build that connection upon which your community will flourish into brand advocates, keep in mind that marketing today is all about the connection. This post by Britt Michealian highlights the importance of using social media to your advantage when building strong connections with your audience. You can’t simply rely on the occasional tweets and FB posts anymore. But rather, strategically reach out and build relationships with your audience.

Also, do not forget about social giving. As in, make sure your brand’s social strategy is not simply a broadcast one (think annoying TV advertisement), but rather one that adds value and relevant impact to your audience’s life.

And lastly, blogger outreach. There are many ways to approach the bloggers you want aligned with your brand. The inkybee ebook, The Best Practice Guide for Effective Blogger Outreach, offers some industry expert insight.

Step1: Research, Research, Research

Research the blogs you want to contact. It is essential for any brand building campaign to have a targeted audience. Once you have this, identify the blogs where your target audience hangs out. Also, keep in mind which blogs will have the most impact on your target audience. Read, learn, and understand what each blogger talks about.

Step2: The Relationship

Put in the work to become the blogger’s friend. The goal here is to turn the targeted blogger into your brand’s advocate and best champion. Build trust through honesty, transparency, and personality. Blogs are called earned media for a reason!

Step3: An Offer They Can’t Refuse

Most bloggers don’t work for money. So what gets them motivated? Top reasons include sharing their expertise/experience with others and being more involved in their passion areas. Start by offering them quality content with which they can grow their own audience base. Follow with appropriate incentives (small brand-related goodies, etc.) and most importantly, Always keep your commitments.

Step4: Quality Content is King

Make sure your content is current, crosschecked against other sources, and relevant to your audience. Talk about fresh stories with interesting angles. Quality content is the foundation of your relationship with a blogger.

Step5: Don’t Forget about the Relationship Once You Have What You Need

Successful blogger outreach is not a one-time event, but rather an on-going process. Continuous correspondence and timely appreciation have the potential to turn your sometime-blogger into a brand ambassador for life. Continue to treat the blogger like a valued partner.

 

Register for #CMGRClass Spring 2014!

The spring semester at Syracuse University starts on January 13th and there are still a few spots left in #CMGRClass. This online course is open to all graduate students and select undergraduates who have a significant interest in community building, online communications, online content, and social media. For undergrads, if you’ve taken #RotoloClass (IST 486) or the Newhouse Social Media Course you’re eligible to take #CMGRClass.  If you haven’t taken either of those courses, but have experience in an internship or student activity you may still join as an undergraduate.

#CMGRClassWhy Take #CMGRclass?

In this online class, you’ll use social media tools first hand and meet a number of professionals who are working on community management and/or social media for some of the best companies out there. This course is broken up into three parts that are designed to help you understand various aspects of community management.
1)  Content Management – Blogging is an art and different than your typical academic writing.   You’ll write blog posts about the topics in this course and learn some of the best content strategies.
2)  Social media – The tools are always changing, but there’s things you’ll walk out understanding such as important metrics and best practices.
3)  Community Building – how do you start a community from scratch?  How can your users help you to generate content? Where do you find your key influencers?

What’s new and exciting about this course?

This isn’t your typical online course. The class meets every other Tuesday at 7pm in a Google+ Hangout and once per month we’ll have guest speakers join us and tell us how they got into their roles and what their jobs are like.  Though if you can’t make the time due to work or other classes, the class is recorded for you to watch at your convenience. Students have the ability to network throughout the semester and they find out about excellent opportunities like internships and careers.

Last semester we had guests from Google Local, Cycle to Survive, MRY, JetBlue, Scoop.it, LiveFyre, Klout, and Moz, and students met community managers from a variety of different industries.

We also don’t use blackboard all too much! #CMGRClass primarily takes place in a Google+ Community group where it’s easier to interact and post fun content.

If you’re curious about this semester’s syllabus you can take a look on this site.  If you want to register, sign up for IST 600 by January 13th (or the add/drop deadline by January 21)!  And of course you can always contact the professors, Jenn Pedde (@JPedde / jmpedde@syr.edu) & Kelly Lux (@Kellylux / kalux@syr.edu) with any questions.