The old adage of a happy customer telling one person and an unhappy one telling ten has changed. If you get it wrong, very quickly thousands, even millions of people will know about it.

It all started with people creating blogs or being 'vocal' on the millions of forums on the Internet. But today social media has become a phenomenan with the many sites facilitating communication between individuals such as Digg, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube etc.

Using social media as a marketing tool is becoming more popular as companies realise that they need to get in front of their prospective customers wherever they may congregate online, in their millions!

You must become part of a community before you can have an effective dialogue with them. The opportunities might not suit every company, as an open policy is required, often an unbranded one, although this is changing fast. There's a fine line between integrating with a community and achieving success, or alienating them collectively.

Tornado understands your target audience and the best way to talk to them. We can advise on whether this channel is suitable for your marketing objectives and the best way to harness it, if appropriate.

As the digital equivalent of Hyde Park's Speakers' Corner, Blogs, regardless of your product, can be an integral part of a marketing strategy and there are ways to exploit this fast-growing opportunity:

  • Market Intelligence. Monitor public buzz to determine how your brand and close competitors are doing. Knowing where, why, and how you're being talked about in a public forum allows you to respond appropriately and quickly. Any angry customer can launch a blog at no cost. They may even get higher search rankings than your brand, 'Boycott Nike', a protest over their labour practices, was on the first page of Google for the brand.
  • Advertise on blogs to reach influencials, target a niche audience, or extend a media buy's reach. Most of the UK Internet population have read a blog, they reckon there's around 80million out there with 6 million new posts every day! They vary in size, and opportunities available. You can advertise directly on a blog that reaches your target market or through a network to achieve broader coverage. As users visit often, it's important to change ad content frequently to prevent impression fatigue.
  • Humanize your company with corporate blogs. One or more employees, the CEO included, may blog. Corporate blogs require a level of transparency. As a result, they may not work for all types of companies. Corporate bloggers must have access to, and support from, senior management, PR, and legal.