Businesses are usually at the forefront of online marketing.
But when it comes to utilising social platforms, there’s a lot they could learn
from humble bloggers.

In this post, I look at some social promotional tactics that
mega-brands could benefit from, if only they could carry them off.

Getting competitive

Competitions have always been a popular way of promoting a
product, but there are now more ways than ever of launching a giveaway.

Offering free samples on sign-up is a great way to build
your email database, giving you a list of interested potential customers to
target with future special offers and advertising mailers.

Direct competitions can have a similar effect, helping to
build your Twitter followers and Facebook ‘likers’ – but be careful of the
rules of whichever social network you choose. On Facebook, for example, it is
no longer acceptable to use the ‘like’ button as a method of competition entry.

Finally, think about teaming up with a popular blogger in
your particular industry area. They’re often happy to run a competition or
giveaway that’s of interest to your readers and, in turn, you reach a new
readership.

Remember to back up whatever approach you take with an
engaging general social media campaign, to keep new readers interested in what
your brand has to offer.

Be everywhere

It’s easy to think that bloggers can only be found on their
blog. Often, this is far from being the case.

Many cross-post their latest blog entries on to their
Facebook profiles, and tweet links to them to their Twitter followers.

Others submit their blogs and articles to social discovery
sites like Reddit and StumbleUpon.

In principle, the more platforms your blog posts are
advertised across, the wider your potential audience, so make sure your
articles are appearing to all the relevant social network users you can find,
and you have more chance of building your community.

Making a name for yourself

As your community grows, you have the chance to start encouraging
your followers to agree with your brand’s own guiding principles.

Individual bloggers do this by encouraging debate, and then
presenting their arguments in their posts and comments; this also helps readers
to feel that their opinions matter to you.

As a brand, you need to be careful that you do not seem too
interested in your own agenda. You should be genuinely keen to engage with
your customers and take a true interest in the feedback they provide.

One unique aspect of social media is that any negative
comments can be swiftly dealt with. This helps to ensure there is no negative
word of mouth going round about your brand, and lets you know the areas in
which you can improve.

Going viral 

The Holy Grail of modern-day social networking is ‘going
viral’, finding that one elusive piece of content so original or entertaining
that people will bookmark it, like it, retweet it and generally share it with
everyone in their social sphere.

However, people are getting savvier, and big brands can no
longer rely on shelling out for a special-effects-laden clip designed to look
like a home movie.

Instead, go lo-fi and focus on the things nobody but you can
give in detail: behind-the-scenes video clips and blog posts, sneak previews of
upcoming products and special offers, and how-to articles showing how to put
your products to better use.

On social networks, many people just want to seem useful to
their friends, so competitions, offers and interesting content are all in with
a good chance of gaining decent exposure outside of your immediate follower
count.