Two recent examples of why it pays to engage in social media–even on a personal level:
* My post earlier this week, “Are you really engaging your fan base?” drew an email from my friend, Tom Snee, who works for the University of Iowa. We had some good banter about the issues facing academic institutions when it comes to engaging their alumni. However, in one of his emails, he mentinoed he went to school with Vince Flynn, the Minnesota-based author, and passed along some interesting nuggets about his experience with Vince. Why is this relevant? Because I’m a huge Vince Flynn fan. How did he know that? He obviously took a few minutes to look over my Facebook profile and check out my interests. Kudos, Tom.
Media relations pros could learn a thing or two from Tom’s approach when approaching non-traditional media outlets. Starting a blogger outreach campaign? Start by researching the blogger, finding out what interests him/her and reading his/her blog (you can frequently find most of this information right on their blog). You’d be surprised how much a little extra time and work can pay off.
* Earlier this week I sent an email to the marketing director at BlendTec in Utah–the makers of the wildly popular Will it Blend? series. My four-year-old son and I watch the videos virtually every night–it’s become somewhat of a bedtime ritual for us. My son’s a huge fan–to the point that he knows many of the videos by name and has actually become a Weezer fan as a result (those WIB fans out there know what I’m talking about). Anyway, I wrote this gentleman an email telling him we enjoyed the videos, to keep up the good work and to let me know if he’d ever be interested in featuring their youngest fan in a future video. Hey, it never hurts to ask, right? He responded the next day with a well-crafted email saying he appreciated the note and that he would find some WIB swag and personalize it for my son. Wow–a simple gesture that will surely pay off. OK, so my son may not run out and buy a BlendTec blender tomorrow, but I do tell anyone who will listen about BlendTec and its YouTube videos because of my experience with the company.
This example demonstrates the larger point of listening to your customers and taking even the smallest actions to make them happy. This gentleman could have easily ignored my email, but he knew from the content of my message that I was clearly an engaged WIB “fan” and that a little would go a long ways with me and my son. He was right. Can’t wait to see what he sends.
Random stories, I know. But they prove the larger point that social media can pay off–sometimes in unintended ways. And it can work for your company, too. But you have to engage in the tools and you have to be a savvy player.