7 ideas to generate buzz with your existing customers

Guy Kawasaki recently did a couple of interview with Emanuel Rosen, author of national bestseller, “The Anatomy of Buzz”, and the recently released “The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited: Real-life lessons in Word-of-Mouth Marketing”.

In the interview, Guy asks Emanuel for ideas for helping his online business, Alltop. Here are 7 ideas that were directed at Guy, but are really applicable for any of our businesses, especially those that have a strong online component.

Get authentic user stories. Start an initiative such as “how I use Alltop” or “why I love Alltop”. Make it clear that you are not looking for “it’s the coolest thing” but for very specific examples for how the service helps regular people. Such an initiative does a couple of things: First, it helps users articulate why they like the site. Second, it can give other users some new ideas for how they could use Alltop.

Feature a short testimonial video on the front page.The current tutorial video does a good job explaining the concept. Add another one with user testimonials who tell, in their own words, how Alltop helped them. Again, make sure the stories are specific and the benefits concrete. Ideally, every visitor could find someone like himself or herself in these videos.

Involve people through voting. Let the public vote for the top three entries in each category or for whatever makes sense. This will get the bloggers buzzing to their readers. Check out American Express’s campaign, Partners in Preservations, which used a similar idea. In that campaign, the public had to vote on which historical buildings in each city will get a grant for preservation.

Take the current users to the next level. Even among the bloggers featured on Alltop, a lot of the comments are about how cool it is that they are now on Alltop and not enough about how they benefit from using it. The more time they spend with Alltop, the more likely they are to talk about it. Perhaps a trivia game or a treasure hunt on Alltop will encourage them to explore other categories, not only the one that classifies their blog.

Provide more Good stuff. People who believe in a cause tend to be more proactive in spreading the word. Consider a special promotion that involves the categories classified on Alltop under Good. Two examples for campaigns that may give you some ideas: Toms shoes and http://www.freerice.com/

Listen to more buzz. In addition to listening to what people are saying online, conduct face to face, email, and phone interviews to get a sense of how much users are really buzzing about Alltop—and if they are not recommending it, why not?

Continue the dialogue with users.

To see the full article, visit OPEN Forum by American Express OPEN | The Art of Generating Buzz, Part II.