The Community of Your Brand…

Community is the most important leveraging point for any brand.? Having a loyal, evangelical, earnest group following one’s brand provides a far-reaching, surrogate sales force working on behalf of the brand – yet as a member of the community.? But to garner such a following, first the brand itself must become an active contributor to the community at large.

Becoming a member of the community, participating proactively from within, and resisting every urge to “sell one’s self” (in the traditional marketing sense) are most important.? And it’s all about relevant content and interaction – and listening.

Listening is not participating.? Listening is reconnaissance and research and should begin on sites such as:

Bookmarks
Ma.gnolia
Delicious
Diigo
StumbleUpon

Crowdsourced Content
Digg
Yahoo Buzz
Mixx

Conversations
Google Alerts
Blogpulse
Radian6
Ask.com
BuzzLogic
Google Blog Search

Blog Communities
Blogged.com
MyBlogLog
BlogCatalog

Micromedia
Tweetscan
Twemes
TwitterLocal
FriendFeed

Social Networks
MySpace
Bebo
Ning
Facebook
Friendfeed
LinkedIn

It’s important to synthesize not only the information being aggregated, created, and talked about by people on these sites, but also the community of people that inhabit them.? How do people relate to one another?? What is the language? What is acceptable, what is forbidden, and why? Their interactions between one another are paramount and will allow the listener to learn how to interact successfully before entering the contribution stage.

Now, once the brand is confident in their target and prepared to participate as a part of the larger community the brand must contribute as a person, not a marketer, spokesperson, or sales representative.? Talk like a person, and more specifically, from your brand’s point of view.? With each contribution assure that as a participant you are: bringing value to the conversation, creating honest, original content, and are engaging in proactive, helpful conversations.? Throughout this process the brand’s personality and viewpoint will become the synonymous with the brand itself.? With some great conversation, link-backs (others’ links to the brand’s content), and constant activity among the community, the brand will begin to accumulate followers.

A testament to social media community activism and the leveraging of a powerful web presence is Skullcandy.? Relatively small at its birth, Skullcandy (a high-fashion headphone and audio accessory company) has now become an evangelized force among the social media community.? This was, and continues to be, achieved through their active and consistent contributions to the community from downloadable music, custom artwork, peer-to-peer photo and video sharing, embeddable widgets, and virtual street teams to blogs, self-started communities and forums, social networks, virtual and physical events, and customer-centric traditional marketing.? The customer became, and now is, their friend.? And that relationship is at the center of every interaction they initiate.

And so should the community-centric relationship be all brands’ focus.? It’s expected.? And if your brand isn’t delivering, your competition will be.

Thank you to Brian Solis and his comprehensize blog post on PR 2.0 from where much of the information above was synthesized and presented originally.? For even more on creating and sustaining a social media community and how to further leverage the community in favor of your brand, do hang on his every word.

3 comments for “The Community of Your Brand…

  1. Cari
    October 17, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    We just starting a buzz marketing company that would be in the “conversations” group. We monitor and measure online conversations in real time on blogs, forums, message boards, etc., for small and medium businesses. We help them get involved and interact with people within their communities. Right now we are working as an agency but we will be releasing a consumer version of our software within the next couple months.

    Cari
    Buzz.io

  2. October 19, 2008 at 12:03 am

    Good to read that the primary focus is on Community and not perse the conversation.

  3. BiilYBonnYU
    November 12, 2008 at 12:56 am

    Excellent blog! Interesting article and very informative! I will necessarily subscribe for this blog. http://movie-cool.com/map.html

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