Viral videos and Internet memes have become part of modern pop culture. Their popularity should serve as a lesson to all about the power of online media. Unlike printed pages, television, and radio, the Web provides people with a chance to be heard in a way that was previously impossible. Now they are using various platforms to interact with one another and share their stories. Businesses should take note of this emerging behavior and think of ways in which they can utilize it in crafting creative marketing campaigns. Success will belong to those who can move consumers to tell genuine positive stories about the company and its products.

Netizens as Product Evangelists
Customer service has always been deemed important because of two main reasons: 1) it is easier to make an old client make another purchase than to attract a new buyer, and 2) an unhappy customer is more likely to spread bad word about the business, eroding gains made through satisfied patrons. With social media, the latter no longer has to hold true as reviews of satisfied customers can reach just as many. If a highly reputable blogger writes a flattering post about a product, then this can gain traction fairly quickly. Even regular folks who tweet how happy they are about a product can help a business a lot. Their friends who happen to read it may be convinced to make the same purchase because of the trust factor.

Companies can also tell stories themselves. They can initiate campaigns to spread awareness about how their products have been helping people by citing concrete examples. They can also show the company’s readiness to listen to feedback and to support projects that help the community. The content would ideally contain quotes from customers, project beneficiaries, and other stakeholders. This would bring much more depth to the message — something that is lacking in an outright sales pitch. People will be better able to relate to the company and what it stands for, giving it a personality that they can feel at ease with.

Be Unique, Enhance Your Brand
Accomplished businessmen understand that good marketing is not about making the most expensive ads or repeating a slogan ad nauseam. It is really about engaging people’s imaginations – setting the company apart from all the others by underlining its values, its strengths, and the many ways in which it can help its customers. Viewers must be able to relate to it on a personal level and this is best achieved by telling stories grounded in reality. Show them how the company came to be, what hardships it had to overcome, and what it plans to do in the future. People love success stories. Hard work earns their cheers and support.

Be transparent about the inner workings of the company. Some businesses even show their employees at work. Emphasize the ways in which they try to please each customer that walks into the door of the establishment. Don’t forget to highlight their training which enables them to rank among the best in the industry. Above all, tell people about the company’s values and how these are reflected in the way each employee handles customer concerns. Give the business a human face that viewers can connect with. All too often, companies seem remote, unapproachable and unresponsive. Consumers prefer dealing with brands that they can trust and feel comfortable with — those who will assist them when they have questions and act quickly whenever there is a problem.

The foundation of a good company will always be the creation of a quality product. However, this must be matched with a compelling marketing campaign in order to generate the desired sales figures. Technology often changes the rules of the game and the advent of the Internet certainly required new ways of thinking for businesses that want to survive and thrive in the 21st century. Sometimes this means using old methods in a novel manner. Storytelling is nothing new but social media amplifies its power when done well. Whether it is the customer, the founder, or the employee providing the story, as long as it comes out as an honest representation of the company, then people will be able to connect with it, and the brand will be firmly etched in their minds.