If there were a Saturn Lovers Facebook group, I’d join it. If GM had a community evangelist in that group, asking for YouTube videos ranting about my Saturn, I’d go out and make one. If they wanted to do meetups, I’d probably go.
Chris is talking about how big companies can leverage social media in their marketing efforts, but if you work for Saturn and happen to read this post, it screams "please contact me, because I want to promote you".
And that's just what Kyle Johnson, Saturns' Communication Director, did. Kyle left several comments to Chris' post, giving Chris a heads up about online forums for Saturn fans, and inviting Chris to contact him at any time. Many companies are beginning to understand why it's important to reach out to bloggers, and monitor what they are saying about their company.
But look at this post and take Chris out of the equation for a minute. Notice that as soon as Kyle commented, almost every comment from that point on (including Chris') were to Kyle. Chris' readers were obviously excited by having a rep from Saturn stop by, and they instantly responded to the chance to interact with him. And to Kyle's credit, he came back and left a few more comments after his original one.
Then we have the viral element to Kyle's comments on Chris' blog coming into play. I found out about Chris' post because I saw a post on it at Greg Verdino's blog. Greg explains:
But either way, this is exactly the kind of thing more brands should be doing -- not once and not just when something goes horribly wrong, but every single day. If customers, fans and haters are talking about you every day (and they are), you need to be listening and talking back. Mostly listening, but there's a lot to be said for joining the conversation when you have something meaningful to add.....And for anyone who isn't monitoring online conversations and joining in as appropriate, you're missing a huge opportunity to market smarter and build better consumer relationships.
I decided to check, and according to Technorati, there are currently 10 links to Chris' post about Saturn (this will be #11). This is what many companies aren't realizing, there is frequently a viral effect to reaching out to bloggers. Even today, a company taking the time to try to talk to bloggers on their blog in their space is still a bit of a rarity. The simple act of a company rep taking the time to interact with bloggers becomes the story. It creates a buzz among bloggers, as it's doing here.
Look at the companies that are spending these millions trying to create ads and videos that will 'go viral', when all they have to do is spend some time reaching out to bloggers and having a conversation with us. That's the quickest way to get bloggers talking about you.
And it's free.
UPDATE: Socially Adept and MarketingBlurb have already linked to this post. Susan mentions how she's now reading about Chris' post because I wrote about it after seeing Greg write about it. And so it spreads, hope you companies are taking notes.
Nother UPDATE: Jennifer at Search Engine Guide has also written an article about Saturn reaching out to Chris. Notice that not only are bloggers responding to Chris' post, but also to the fact that Kyle was smart enough to respond on Saturn's behalf. One comment on one blog has now spread out to reach readers on about 15 blogs. As I told Jennifer, isn't this what Jaffe calls 'using New Marketing to prove that New Marketing works'?
Tags:The Viral Garden, Marketing