As a marketing and public relations tactic, the concept of knowledge sharing has long been applied by businesses and brands. The idea is to demonstrate expertise through articles, commentary, and conversations that have a positive effect on the perception of your products and brand.
It's the online equivalent of an old-fashioned apothecary store, where the owner could pass for a general physician in his determination to diagnose your ills and identify an appropriate treatment. He's more concerned about your health than he is about selling his potions. That's how he earns the townsfolk's trust.
Since the rise of social media, there are more opportunities than ever for marketers to establish this same image of authenticity and proficiency in their fields. Message boards, forums, blogs, Facebook Pages, and Twitter all provide platforms for sharing knowledge. A skincare line might set up a Twitter account not so much to post information about its products, but to answer consumer questions about common skincare concerns.
On a local message board for outdoor enthusiasts, the only connection between your advice about repairing a bike tire puncture and the fact that you own a bike repair shop might be the signature and site link in your post. That information won't be lost on the consumer who happens to be in search of a credible bike store, however. Talk about a qualified lead.
In the same vein, Dell's recent Small Business blog post on the best approach to creating a business plan directly addresses a common concern among small business owners. The post is useful, not promotional, and in its usefulness it offers the sense that Dell understands what's important to small businesses. That bodes well for Dell when it comes time for readers to furnish their businesses with a computer system.
To successfully integrate social media into your marketing strategy, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
Sharing the knowledge that your company possesses through social media sites is one of the easiest ways to connect with consumers. Playing up your brand's market knowledge is a smart way to position it in the social media space.