Social networking is our virtual watercooler
When you start the conversation about your brand, you should be as enthusiastic as you would be talking about your favorite TV show.
DO casually engage your friends with the brand photos you take by sharing them on Facebook and Twitter.
DON'T be that "friend" who annoys your friends. The worst sin of all is endless repetition, just blasting out the same soulless message like an autobot.
Here are a few key things to consider before you press the share button
Timing — A few weeks before Father's Day, the Timberland company spread around a Dad discount promo code on Facebook. Those "in the know" could buy Dad hiking boots or sport sandals at 20 percent off. Let friends know about such discounts by snapping a photo and sharing it with them.
Creativity — Go crazy with your digital camera or camera phone. Snap twice as many shots as you need and experiment with angles. You just never know when you'll capture something hilarious or poetic. Strive to try new things and be different.
Relevance — Always ask yourself "Why should I care?" before you send a message to your network. If a friend is a fashion diva, she'll eagerly click on a hundred Prada photos a day. If another friend is a Boston Red Sox fan, there is no such thing as TMI when it comes to Big Papi and Mike Napoli.
Humor — Why do we all go nuts over the Super Bowl ads? Every brand has its own unique vision for witty banter and jokes. For example, this Starburst candy video of a screaming, ill-tempered mime will amuse even friends on sugar-free diets.
Personalization — Facebook and Twitter are like giant high school yearbooks. Your photos need to be teased to avoid being lost in the pile. If you're taking a photo of yourself sipping the new Starbucks Vanilla Bean Cherry-Chococcino Latte (sadly not on the menu yet), send that photo to friends whom you KNOW is a coffee fiend. Don't assume that everyone scrolls down the feed for countless hours. Sometimes specifically targeting a few motivated friends is more effective than carpet-bombing the masses.
Pride — We're huge advocates of early outreach by gamers to their respective real-life companies. If you have an dynamo idea that successfully spreads a brand on the Web, it is your duty to brag about it and make yourself known. But don't be a pest by contacting the real world marketing department every time you send out a tweet. Anyone can type out a sentence and press "send". Before taking a shot at the Big Leagues, make sure you have done something worth bragging about.
We'd love to hear your ideas about how to more effectively tap into the power of social networking.
Please send us your ideas and success stories to email@example.com.