If you’ve been using social media for business for some time you will start to recognise specific people who contribute to your posts, discussions & tweets the most. They start to become the core of your community and will recommend you, your pages and your services to others they know. These are your ‘Brand Advocates’. This is a hugely powerful group of people and gathering a strong group is essential for increasing the reach of your message. How can you nurture these people? How can you encourage them to share more? Here are four recent examples of businesses using user generated curation or content to engage with and create new advocates.
@Ireland Twitter Account
WorldIrish.com launched a very clever initiative giving people the opportunity to curate the @Ireland Twitter account for a week. It’s totally up to the curator to decide what to post. As I’m typing this the current curator is Jonathan Lynn whose day job involves curating and promoting street art. As you can imagine there has been much talk about street art on the page this week.
The aim of the project according to the World Irish Website is:
…@Ireland is based around the idea that a single voice cannot represent a country. By sharing peoples’ experiences and lives with the world, project curators WorldIrish believe @Ireland can help to further connect Ireland to the world and the world to Ireland.
You can view the tweets from previous curator on the WorldIrish website. I have my hand hovering over the send button on an email applying to be a curator… I’ll keep you informed if I do decide to go for it.
Another country, this time using user generated content to promote itself is Australia but this time it’s being pushed out by ProBlogger. I love the story behind this one. Darren Rowse, from ProBlogger decided that there were very few products he’d be happy to promote via his extensive social media channels and blog. One of those oh his list was his home, Austrailia. With this promotion he’s managing to fulfil that wish. I first saw it pop up on Google+.
The competition will bring 10 bloggers on an all expenses paid trip to The Great Barrier reef. In return the winners will be expected to blog about their experiences. Sadly the deadline for entries on this one has passed. Those that did enter had to submit their ideas on how they would approach the task as well as submitting links to their own blogs and social media sites. It’s clear they won’t just be selecting the winners on audience size but also on their ideas and how the experience will relate specifically to their readers.
The rules of entry will ensure that they get the best 10 bloggers with the biggest influence to participate in the project. By throwing the net wide and by running it as a competition rather than just researching influential bloggers in the field ProBlogger has already created a buzz around the project, many readers, myself included will be following the stories of the winners avidly.
Irish Rail Blogger
It’s fantastic to see Ireland in the European Soccer finals this year. I doubt many of the people planning to attend have looked further than an aeroplane for getting there, however you can get there by train and Irish rail have come up with an excellent way to promote this service by engaging bloggers and potential bloggers.
The winner will travel over-ground via InterRail , get accommodation on a fan campsite in Ponza, have tickets to the three group games and receive €1,000 spending money. A great budget holiday that is bound to attract the student and the all important Millenial generation. Winners will be expected to produce daily blog posts in return.
To be in with a chance of winning applicants are asked to submit a sample blog post covering a journey they’ve taken or a sporting event they’ve attended.
The good news is that there is still time to enter this one, the deadline is Friday 27th April at 5pm. Details here.
Getting to the Euro’s is going to be a big stretch for a lot of people this year and the news has been full of the huge prices of flights and hotel accommodation. This competition should draw attention to the budget options that I’m sure will attract many of the people who otherwise could not have attended.
Engaging your audience this way and encouraging brand advocates is not a new thing. Clothing chain store A-Wear have always been very smart at bringing their audience on board and as I started to read about the ProBlogger and Irish Rail blogging competitions I was reminded of a promotion from A-Wear and the Electric Picnic a couple of years ago. They recruited bloggers via their Facebook page, narrowed it down to a few finalists, styled them in A-Wear clothes and asked their community to vote on a winner.
This competition was hugely engaging to watch on social media, appealed exactly to their target market and although it only produced one blog entry as far as I can work out, it definitely created a buzz around the brand as well as sending customers into the store to pick up their gear for the festival.
Have you seen any clever ways that brands have engaged their communities?