Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Social Networking and Your Brand: Part 1

Social networking sites have become very popular across the web, with new sites popping up every day. From the giants like MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn - home to millions of unique visitors, to more niche social networking sites centered around geographic areas, pet owners, suburbanite moms or even retirees with tattoos! The bottom line is, if you can find a group of people with a common interest, there is likely a networking website for those people to interact with.

So the question is: How can social networking websites be a benefit to your business?

Part 1
Share of Voice & Control of Voice

Social networking sites allow a unique opportunity to combine your advertising budget and public relations campaign efforts on to the same platform, and in some cases, the same content page.
A perfect example would be a local art center that I'm work with on www.indy.com, an entertainment website with social networking capabilities for socially active people in Indianapolis.
For their advertising budget, we put together a media plan that promotes signing up for their painting and sculpting classes, as well as highlighting specific gallery openings and events. While simultaniously, selected members of the art center staff have created profiles to network and write free "postings" throughout the website, specifically on the "Things to Do" page.

The display advertising on our social networking site will allow for share of voice, meaning not only will a percentage of the page content have information about this company, but also every time their ad appears on the site...a competitor for the consuming audience, didn't.
The postings by staff members via their profiles allows for control of voice. Simply put, the web and social networking sites in general can be filled with bogus info. With a staff member networking on the site and posting events on the Things to Do page, not only will the client become somebody to easily get in touch with in regards to questions about the event, but also over time, the staff profile will become a source to turn to when the next craving for an art project comes up. Finally, and most important, the information provided via the staff member profile will be ACCURATE and INTEGRATED with their advertising message.