I am working on a presentation that I plan to use at a couple of internal Digitas trainings (and may ultimately repurpose into a client-facing document) to help agency managers understand how to best activate social networks and online communities to meet client marketing needs. I'm going in with several hypotheses, including:
2) Brands need to find their risk threshold -- the line between "policing the brand" and "releasing the brand" -- before deciding if, how and when they will play in social media
3) The most important "brand conversations" that take place in social media are those among consumers without heavy-handed brand intervention (e.g., digital word of mouth), and those that are directed TOWARD the brand FROM the consumer (not the other way around.) In other words, give 'em something to talk about and then get out of the way; and when your customers talk, listen...
While looking for tidbits from the blogosphere and mainstream press to support my points, I came across this great MarketingProfs post by CK. If you're reading my blog chances are you are interested in social media marketing, so you may find CK's post as useful as I did. She writes mostly about how to play fair in the blogosphere but her principles apply to other forms of social media as well.
By sheer coincidence Hooman Radfar over at Clearspring Technologies sent me this New York Times link, which illustrates some of the right and not-so-right ways in which marketers are tapping social networks to promote their brands - making it clear why marketers would do well to heed CK's advice. Happy reading. :-)
(And credit due to colleague David Armano for the visual representation of the social network.)