G Media on Marketing Through Social Communities

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 at 15:46

G Media on Marketing Through Social Communities
Think Global but Act Micro-Local

In this age of online marketing and social networks, many marketing managers and indeed CEO’s consider social marketing to simply imply that online social networks are the key to a community strategy. Online networks are just one tool, not a community strategy. Online networks get lots of buzz, and given today’s enabling technologies it seems silly to pass up opportunities in the virtual world. According to Garion Hall, the CEO of G Media unfortunately, most well-crafted online networking communities can have limitations, and lest we forget,a huge chunk of life still takes place off-line in the real world of bricks and mortar. The reality is that social networks at the local grass roots level such as local community centers, the shopping mall, school, coffee shops often provide social and emotional support stronger than family ties and research has suggested there is a benefit from this grass roots buzz that delivers price premiums of up to 20%. This is nothing new, word off mouth marketing has always been a desired outcome of a good marketing or PR strategy.
Understanding the need to think global but act micro-local is more important today then ever before as consumers seek brands and products that they trust and deliver a perceived price value.

With countries as geographically dispersed as the United States and Australia where a large portion of the population live in smaller regional communities, there is an opportunity for marketers to get back to basics in building local social communities of advocates that will assist in growing market share. These local communities are strongest when everybody plays a role. Opinion leaders and evangelists play important roles in online social networks. They spread information, influence decisions, and help new ideas gain traction. While focusing on opinion leaders may be sage advice for online buzz campaigns, it is a misguided approach to local community building, as communities establish trust by enabling everyone to play a role as products are discussed and recommended in a one-one-one face to face engagement.

Managers can forget that consumers are actually people,with many different needs, interests and responsibilities. A community based brand can build loyalty that is not driven by sales transactions, but by trust and helping people meet their needs. In these type of local bricks and mortar communities, brand loyalty is the reward for meeting peoples needs in the community, not the impetus for the community to form as is the case in the virtual world.

Today marketers need to combine the on-line capability that can deliver a wide range of information and resources at the local community based level, and then ensure they are mapping the feedback that comes from these communities to provide goods and services that meet the needs of the various social networks within each community.

There are several good search engines and community based sites around that allow consumers to search out local service and product information for their own town, and then select products or services based on community feedback.

This micro approach can take a lot of work and requires developing a community engagement strategy that links your product or service to the needs of each community that wish to become a part of.

The end result however will be loyal consumers that tell their friends about your brand allowing you to grow market share, which is of course what G Media is striving for……not much different to 1960 when brands grew on on word of mouth and now we can be combining the best of the virtual world with the natural human need to help others.

Let the staff at G Media know what you think

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