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Toby Bloomberg

Turning Customers Into Passionate Brand Fans

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Entertainers have always known that fans long for a personal connection with them. The more an artist can provide a behind the curtain experience the more people will become passionate fans who attend movies, watch TV shows, see concerts, download music and tell their friends. The other secret artists intuitively understand is that people like to share experiences with others who have the same interests.

Social media provides unique opportunities for brands to emulate the arts. Social platforms provide ways to connect employees, who are the heart of the brand, with their audiences. It also allows for the creation of digital events and communities that bring customers together to tell their unique stories about your brands.

On the surface, social media appears fairly simple. Drop a tweet, write a status update, post a video on YouTube. How hard can that be if middle school kids are doing it? Don’t let the ease of the technology fool you into the illusion using social media as a business tactic is child’s play. Incorporating social media into your master plan requires a sophisticated approach that is integrated, monitored and flexible to respond to market opportunities.

The digital brand experience frequently opens the door to a world where our customers collide with business units that have long been silo-ed within organizations (customer service to marketing, public relations, sales and beyond). To succeed a social marketing strategy must begin with aligning the enterprise. The first step takes into account the concerns and social interaction of the people who have contact (both actively and passively) with your customers.

Experience has taught us that while a step into the social web may initially increase awareness, the challenge of consistently extending and maintaining the goodwill of an organization’s online reputation through digital conversations is based on how well the details are managed.

  • Identify your target audience/s
  • Understand your target audience’s social media expectations
  • Understand the culture of each platform where your customers participate
  • Take into consideration how social media will impact resources: people, time, money and internal processes
  • Ensure social media tactics are integrated and supportive of business goals/objectives, as well as, current marketing, branding.
  • Determine measurements of success which may be quantitative or qualitative
  • Develop an outreach initiative for each social media initiative because they will not come unless you tell them.
  • Approach all social media initiatives from the point of view of social media ethics and values: Honesty, Authenticity, Transparency and Passion.

The corporate path may be more complex than the artist’s, but when the house lights go out success remains the same .. did we turn our customers into passionate brand fans?

Toby Bloomberg is recognized for her expertise in combining social media with traditional marketing values such as strategy, customer insights, segmentation, etc. You can find her at Diva Marketing and @tobydiva.

The Most Diverse Conference in the Blogosphere

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This post was inspired by a Lena West post over at Lip-Sticking. Lena approached me after the Mark Cuban keynote this year and asked about speaking in 2008. (I haven’t forgotten you Lena). In the post Lena ask:

Really, where are all the female web 2.0 rock stars?

Well a lot of them were on the stage at last year’s BlogWorld & New Media Expo.

I couldn’t help taking the opportunity to tout our record on involving women and minority speakers at our inaugural event.

I must give Dave Taylor who served as our Education Director full credit for bringing this to my attention. Early on in planning the event he told me we needed to make a concerted effort to involve female speakers. Until that point it just wasn’t on my mind but as soon as he said it I knew he was right. If we really wanted to be attract the most diverse group of bloggers the world has ever seen, then we needed to consciously reach out and include women in the same way we were reaching out to dozens of communities like milbloggers, political bloggers, godbloggers, sportsbloggers, etc.

Like Lena and so many of you I have seen the same old boys club of speakers over and over again. Many of them are great, but hearing the same talk, or the same message from the same folks every couple of months gets old.

With that said, here is a list of great women who spoke at the first BlogWorld & New Media Expo last November:

Stephanie Agresta
Paula Berg
Toby Bloomberg
Sue Bohle
Butterfly Wife
Jennifer Cisney
Anna Creech
Jory Des Jardins
Maggie Koran Fox
Vanessa Fox –
Amy Gahran
Mary Katherine Ham
Lynne d Johnson
Rachelle Jones
Marjorie Kase
Kathie Legg
Carla Lois
Charlotte-Anne Lucas
Mary Jo Manzanares
Taylor Marsh
Jeralyn Merritt
Dawn Olsen
Wendy Piersal
Daniel Phung
Sarah
Robyn Tippins
Denise Wakeman
Debbie Weil
Leora Zellman

Charline Li was originally on the schedule but had to bow out due to a conflict and was replaced by her colleague Jeremiah Owyang. Leesa Barnes had a last minute conflict and was replaced by Jason Van Orden. Arianna Huffington was scheduled to give our second keynote but had a conflict.

You can add to that list at least a dozen other women that we approached to speak but were unable to attend for one reason or another. It turns out about 30% of our speakers were women. We didn’t have a particular number in mind just that we needed to make a concerted effort to include great female speakers.

I would argue there is no other event that even comes close to attracting the diversity of bloggers that we were able to draw to the first BlogWorld.

I remember reading an issue of Wired shortly before the show where they had this pull out map of the “blogosphere” with major bloggers from different communities being the planets and similar popular blogs in those communities depicted as moons.

I knew we had achieved our goal when I saw most of blogs in their blogosphere were attending or speaking at our show.

Our goal for 2008?…

reach even further and get even more communities to participate, hold their own meet ups during the event and draw an even more diverse group both as speakers and attendees. To that end if you know a great blogger / speaker who you would like to see but who never seems to get their moment in the spotlight, please let me know rick@blogworldexpo.com.

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