Social media has fostered a new twist on creating brand champions for various companies and products. By allowing for the development of a more cost-effective and current campaign, social media has enabled customers and businesses to forge a more direct relationship.
Customers like having control, and they want to know that they are important. So, for instance, when Starbucks introduced My Starbucks Idea , they empowered their customers to take an active role. On the site, users can submit suggestions that are then voted on by other Starbucks customers. In this way, Starbucks has gained greater insight into their customers’ needs and desires, while customers have gained a greater sense of control.
Another example is Graco. Using the photo-sharing program Flikr, in combination with a blog platform, Graco built a community around its baby products. The submitted photos showcased real people, thereby humanizing and promoting their brand. It boils down to this: people crave attention. Give them an opportunity to get their two seconds of fame, and they will promote the brand.
Successful marketing stems from the idea that you have to give a little to gain a little. In the case of Burger King’s “Sacrifice Ten Friends” Facebook application, customers could give a little and gain a lot! Every person who sacrificed 10 of their friends by deleting them from their Facebook account received a free whopper. And let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want a free burger? The unique campaign, however strange it may have seemed, promoted Burger King through customers’ interaction with the brand on Facebook.
Overall, brands that have successfully integrated social media into their marketing campaigns have done so by allowing their customers to be involved. When you have a campaign that is as interactive as social media, there is a world of opportunities for capturing information and forming a strong relationship with your customers.