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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Old Lessons Live On In New YouTube Brand Channels

Mashable blogger Todd Wasserman's recent listing of five successful branded social media video channels just goes to show that the more things change, the more they remain the same.

The technology, media platform, and type of consumer interaction in social media may be relatively new by traditional marketing and advertising industry standards. But the judgments that went into creating these video channels are tried-and-true. Brand communication best practices are basically the same as before the explosion of social media. Though the applications have changed, what works in social media today is not all that different from the advice we at CommCore have always provided our mainstream media and traditional platform communications clients:

• Know your audience: Importantly, in the interactive social media world built on two-way conversation, the nomenclature is "end user" or "community," not "audience." Regardless, because interactivity and engagement is the formula for any successful branded social media campaign, it's more important than ever to know who you are trying to converse with. Otherwise, your communication will be strictly one-way.

• Transparency: We have always advised our clients to identify their company or brand as the source of any PR or corporate communications campaign in order to maintain credibility with the news media. Though successful engagement in social media brand campaigns requires creative content aimed directly at end users without the filter of an editor, being creative with identifying the source of the channel is a no-no. A deceptively-labeled front for a brand's channel will be "outed" very quickly, and will create a brand crisis when news of the disguise is spread in the blogosphere and virally.

• Consistency: In traditional one-way communications repetition is important to make sure your brand message is firmly planted in the audience's memory. In social media, twofold consistency is required: monitoring the channel to ensure prompt responses when the brand is engaged online, and regular updating of content so that interest in the campaign among the community of end-users doesn't flag.

• Sticky Messages: In traditional one-way communications brand messages have to be delivered in the form of memorable or "sticky" stories and analogies that audiences will remember and act on or re-tell. In successful branded social media channels, stickiness comes from blending relevant interactive content, targeted calls for action, and topical and timely online engagement with the community of end-users.

How have you or your clients adapted traditional communications best practices to social media?

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