As marketers, social media managers or community managers, we’re constantly trying to find ways to craft a brand message, distribute it to the masses (or at least to our target audience!), help them “drink the Kool Aid” and get them to spread the message via word-of-mouth, social sharing, “dark social” (buzzword alert!) and more.
Lately, however, I’m thrilled to see a trend of marketers and social media professionals doing just what Eric Erwin tells us is so difficult in the quote above: turning our brands over to our communities and letting them run with it. Even better, we’re using it to our advantage to get better, smarter, faster and funnier. Samsung Mobile recently launched an ad campaign that was inspired by tweets complaining about Apple’s new iPhone 5. Bodyform created a video that exploded across the web by responding to an angry rant on their Facebook page. More and more brands are embracing community-contributed content and highlighting customers in their campaigns. They’re putting customer service conversations out in the open more often, on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms (think: Zappos’s @zappos_service account handling customer tweets, complaints and compliments 24/7).
Moving marketing and social media strategy away from our “control freak” tendencies and letting community members run away with our brand messaging can be a little scary at first, but with a little loosening of the reins and trust in our brands’ biggest advocates and dissenters–all people who are engaged with and invested in it–we can ultimately serve them better in multiple ways.
Confession time: are you a little bit of a “control freak” when it comes to your community?