||The explosion of social media has created the profession of blogger-participant, a fully interactive "face person" who represents your brand's appeal as an integral part of an online community and acts as an extension to your email message. And yes, you need one.
Social Media Is Changing How A Generation Interacts
The online social networking world evolves at breathtaking speed. Twitter has been the media darling for the past few months, and now some web pundits are already declaring it a "has been": The fascination with learning what some Hollywood or sports star is having for breakfast in usually badly misspelled 140 character Tweets was bound to wear off quickly. Regardless of the ups and downs of Tweeting, social networking as a whole is not just showing signs of greater permanence than any of its parts, but actually seems to be profoundly modifying the entire personal interactions of an entire generation.
Social Networks Are The Ol' Skool Marketer's Graveyard
Any social phenomenon this powerful and far-reaching has to be evaluated for its promotional potential by savvy email marketers. Some have plunged in with disastrous results as they have neglected the primary caveat of social networking marketing: Converse, don't advertise. Ol' skool marketers who see the millions of people on social networks as Nielsen couch potatoes have completely missed the point. Social networks are not passive veg-out receive-only parlors, but full-duplex send and receive participatory arenas.
When you are engaging in a conversation with a valued friend or associate you don't just read commercial scripts at them, you literally "engage." The key to success in any social media setting is participatory engagement just like a conversation. The social networking participant seeks information of unquestioned value from you, not just your bland, discordant presence. Since your goal is to position your brand as the hub of a mushrooming conversation, you must begin by the establishment of your unassailable credibility not only as an acknowledged expert in the sector, but also as a pleasant and friendly participant in the community.
A Blogger-Participant Social Media Face Can Boost Your Brand
You may have all the knowledge of your field yet be a stilted or imprecise communicator; you may have a short fuse with the nihilistic criticism you'll receive from the tiny but irritatingly vocal minority of "online conversation vandals"; or you may simply not have the time or the inclination to put in the hours needed to fully engage a community. That is where a professional blogger-participant can be of unparalleled value. This individual will become the social networking face of your brand, and provide not just unidirectional blogging support, but actually:
respond to opportunities
comment on others' content
integrate seamlessly into online communities.
Consider this individual as the personal, even one on one, outreach extension of your email message.
Blogger-Participants Must Be Not Just Trained, But Motivated
A blogger-participant must be trained to understand your brand inside and out, not just with shallow mottos and tag lines, but with a thorough appreciation for the benefits it can provide. It may sound a bit too "touchy-feely" for traditional marketers, but the social networking face of your brand has to be convinced that not only will they derive benefits from your promotion (a positive reputation plus a paycheck) but that the individuals they are interacting with will derive pure benefit as well in every sense.
Of course a blogger-participant can go sour on you as well and thus must be meticulously selected and scrupulously monitored. The damage they can do to your brand is at least equivalent to the benefits they can provide. They must be professional, maintain a steady frequency and volume of comment, stay cool under pressure, and be totally committed to a format of friendly chat versus hucksterism. When you get the right social media face, your brand will certainly notice the difference.