Great social media is all about finding community passion then facilitating that tribe to discuss, share and support one another. However, when looking for social media content, most companies rarely look beyond their own self interest. A few enthusiasts may be wild about their products, but lighting the fires of social buzz requires a transcendent topic that can instill passion in a large number of people.
Successful companies should begin their social media efforts with a careful inventory of the values that drive their business. They can then build a social media presence based on those values and let their own product agenda mesh seamlessly with this higher good.
Success Case Studies
Citrix Online is the company behind the popular remote meeting software GoToMeeting. Sure, Citrix is firmly committed to online meetings, but it was smart enough to realize that was an internal priority that would not spark a passion of the community. The company took a hard look at its core values. A deep soul searching revealed its passion is about empowering people to communicate and live their dreams, without being constrained by location.
The company created the Workshifting community, dedicated to inspiring the growing ranks of telecommutors. GoToMeeting advertisements are strategically placed throughout this site, but the company is careful not to let its own selling priorities interfere with the community focus. This is a website with a higher purpose than selling. This site is focused on the issues that are important to this burgeoning community – success, better productivity, family support, even the loneliness that comes from a lack of daily interaction with coworkers. Citrix embraces the role of facilitator, not owner or advertiser. It provides a blank canvas and the community creates the masterpiece.
The Kodak photo blog does not try to sell cameras. It is dedicated to creativity and personal expression through the passion of pictures. It gives their audience a creative voice and asks this community to “share your stories about imaging and its power to influence our world.”
Humana Healthcare analyzed the core values of its business and created the Freewheelin’ bicycle sharing program. Bicycles have little to do with healthcare, but Humana’s core mission is to promote an active and healthy lifestyle. This blog and community program allows members to rent low-cost bikes right in the heart of urban centers. The appeal is not based on the threatening and controversial topic of health insurance, but on vigor, reducing the carbon footprint, and building community around healthy living.
Authenticity is key. Without this genuineness, the community will never reach the critical mass to make the site successful. Most companies do not have enough staff to build all the content on these sites. Great empowered sites will loosen their grip on the content agenda, letting the community become the masters. Then, these driven fans provide most of the content.
Graeme Newell is a broadcast and web marketing specialist who serves as the president and founder of 602 communications. You can reach Graeme at email@example.com.