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Friday, February 13, 2009

Health + Healthy Lifestyle Brands Need To Join The Social Media Conversation

In 2008 Forrester Research declared that social media is now mainstream. A consumer poll done in Q2 found that 75% of Internet users participate in some form of social media, up from 56% in 2007. By 2012, it's predicted that 80% of the web's content will be user generated. More and more companies are participating, but health and healthy lifestyle brands are much further behind the curve. 
So they need to join in on the conversation. Accept that their comfortable "traditional" world is no longer. And realize that the risk of not participating (of eventually becoming irrelevant) is greater than the risk of dipping their brand toe in the water. 
One of the important benefits of Social Media (vs. traditional) is its fluidity. It allows for micro strategies, experimentation, quick adjustments and rapid implementation - at far lesser cost than that of traditional media. 
Through social, you can help people connect to each other through your brand, in ways that they value and want. In turn, you can create positive interactions, transparency, authenticity, trust and loyalty.  
Here are four tips to consider:
• first, just listen in to the conversation, as you'll be surprised what you hear, what motivates your audiences and what messages appeal to them 
• join in only if you have something relevant to offer (defined as compelling, valued, authentic)
• don't interrupt with selfish one-way brand messages
• and don't squelch the conversation if you don't like what you're hearing


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