I have already talked about participation and integration. Today, I’m going to discuss social syndication. When properly combined, they can pay huge dividends for your business. Thus far, we’ve discussed how to better leverage social networks like Facebook and Twitter. We’ve also established that your own site needs to include important community capabilities. So you’re all set, right? Not quite.
The next frontier for socially enabling your brand is allowing the many interactions that happen both on and off your site to travel to wherever they are most relevant.
Just as some large news organizations syndicate their content to thousands of smaller outlets, you can syndicate your brand’s content and user activity out to where the most valuable conversations are happening on the Web. The idea is to shape and extend your brand by allowing consumers to effortlessly pluck information from your website and carry it with them wherever they go.
For example, on the San Francisco Chronicle web site, SFGate.com, members who comment on stories can choose to broadcast those same comments into Facebook, where their friends will see the conversation taking place. Brands can do the same thing with their own sites. If a visitor posts a comment, reviews a product, or asks a question on your site, you now have the ability to let them automatically cross-post it to other communities, thus enabling their friends and family to see and participate in the conversation. In other words, the content no longer resides on your site alone, but everywhere your consumers live and breathe online.
This is what I call Social Syndication. Social Syndication will make it possible for marketers to inject social media features like customer comments and user-generated content into mainstream digital advertisements that are distributed wherever consumers live in the online world.
For instance, a film studio with a new release could use a banner advertisement that enables consumers to review the movie directly in the ad unit, as well as read feedback from other movie goers—without ever leaving the point of display for the advertisement. Essentially, this would enable consumer participation and social influence inside the billions of impressions received by digital ads.
Soon, there will be no artificial boundaries limiting social interactions. Community will live anywhere the consumer wants it. Why is this happening? Because consumers are demanding a stronger voice in their brand and product relevant conversations—in response, smart marketers are breaking new ground in shaping digital marketing and engagement strategies around this natural consumer intent.
Indeed, communication is no longer a one-way street. Increasingly, it’s a multi-lane highway where companies must engage their audience on many fronts—and enable consumers to engage with each other, wherever they are. As the social web becomes a greater part of the whole web, consumer dialog and the social current will have a forceful bearing on overall brand performance and ultimately purchase decisions.
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