Social media marketing is not just a buzz word anymore.
Businesses are taking it very seriously and despite the drop in budgets and spending on several other forms of advertising, reports show that the social media spend is still on a rise.
The food giant General Mills employed the social media power of 900 bloggers about a month ago to promote their range of products through their enterprise blog platform.
80% of the bloggers comprised of moms and housewives, which also the largest demographic of the company’s customers — and there is probably no person more credible to blog about a Betty Crocker double layer choco chunk cake than a cooking loving mom.
But just how did they pull off a collaborative blogging effort of this size? By building MyBlogSpark which was based on a strong social media software platform.
An AdWeek press release by Brian Morrissey stated:
“MyBlogSpark has recruited more than 900 bloggers — over 80 percent are moms — to register to be eligible for everything from sampling campaigns to product coupons to news of a new ad campaign. General Mills plans to use the network to promote its wide portfolio of products in the food and beverage, beauty, home, electronics, health and automotive categories.”
General Mills can be confident the program will fill blogs with positive reviews.
One of the requirements for participation reads:
“If you feel you cannot write a positive post regarding the product or service, please contact the MyBlogSpark team before posting any content.”
Collaborative blogging is an extremely powerful source of word-of-mouth marketing
Whether it’s paid or for some incentive, as in the General Mills case, or it’s done by a community that is simply passionate about a business or its products, it’s still perceived as a more credible source of information than PR and press articles.
Your customers and online community are your best PR agents, provided that you give them a good collaborative platform to talk about your products and services.
- There is no better PR agent for a small software company than a small group of software experts who use their products.
- There is no better agent for a small online musical instruments business than a group of musicians.
- There is no one better to market a local SCUBA dive shop than a group of divers who have been there.
Even the small independent music store can mobilize the community to blog collectively and help promote its business online. It may not be 900 bloggers and moms, but even 10-20 music enthusiasts working together to blog and promote the business can create a lot of word of mouth marketing and go a long way.
Social software platforms allow a virtually unlimited level of customization and can easily be used to build something along the lines of MyBlogSpark or make a perfect base for the collaborative social media and blogging campaign.
There is a lot you can learn about enterprise blogging from the big guys — but you don’t have to be one to build a strong community to represent your business.
Use the power of “community.”