The social media services company Vitrue recently released their list of the most social brands of 2008. Social brands were defined as those with the most mentions in social networking, blogging and microblogging sites. They used a “social media index” to track these mentions but did not differentiate between positive and negative conversations. The purpose of the index is to capture a brand’s share of voice on the web. The top 10 brands/branded products were the iPhone, CNN, Apple, Disney, Xbox, Starbucks, iPod, MTV, Sony and Dell. View the full list here.

There are three lessons associations can take from these big brands/products to help generate more mentions in social media venues for their groups:

  1. Join the chatter
    You must make the effort to participate and make your own mentions on behalf of your association. This will help you learn what type of content solicits the most feedback and comments from readers. Keep an eye on trackbacks to see how many other people are linking to a post.
  2. Give them something to talk about
    Once you start to understand how mentions are made and what drives the participation, concentrate on the type of content that will be of the most interest to your target audience. What will get them involved and talking? The conversation you are seeking can take place on your site and on other social media sites. The important thing is that you foster the conversation with compelling and fresh content that will connect with your target audience’s passions.
  3. Be responsive
    To keep the conversation flowing, keep an eye on comments on your site and others that mention your association. If questions are asked, respond to them promptly. If suggestions are made, for example, to improve your annual event, share your association’s response. Showing that there is a two-way dialogue for these online conversations will increase the likelihood of a jump in volume mentions.

And don’t forget to measure your success. Keep an eye on your analytics to see the effects of your efforts so you can constantly tweak your strategy. If you have questions about social media marketing or want to learn more about how Hammock can help you develop your online community, contact us .