It doesn't matter whether you like the brand. Everyone is aware of them. People link to brands they're familiar with. The trick is getting people talking about your company so your brand is recognizable and trusted. That in turn will produce more credible links.
What Do Your Customers Care About?
The easiest way to get people talking is to engage your customer base. Find out what matters to them and create a campaign to get them involved. This will help retain customers and build brand awareness.
Here's an example. Let's say you're in consumer retail, and you decide to survey your customers to find out the issues that matter most to them. You discover the most popular issues are education, health care, and childhood hunger. With that knowledge, you can pick the theme that fits in best with your company and employees, then find a worthwhile nonprofit to support.
Global brands should pick a global nonprofit. Regional brands should pick a regional one. Start-ups should go local. That will help get their public relations people promoting your campaign.
Next, figure out how to help that nonprofit while getting your customers involved at the same time. One way is to donate a dollar amount, or percentage of each sale, connected with the campaign.
Spread the Campaign With a Widget
Instead of just letting your existing customers know about the campaign and hope they start telling others, make it easy and viral with a widget. Creating a widget for the campaign will help it spread more easily and quickly. Because it's a cause your customers care about, they're more likely to post the widget to their social media profiles, blogs, and Web sites.
The widget could be as simple as making people aware of the issue, the nonprofit, and your company's involvement in fundraising. While that could be done with a traditional banner, people are more likely to post a widget and it will spread easier.
Jazz Up Your Widget
Make your widget more engaging to increase the chances of it spreading and going viral. Rotating pictures of hungry children from different cities across the U.S. would be more effective than one picture of a hungry little girl from Cleveland, for example.
Better yet, make it educational by adding a question such as, "Do you know how many U.S. children go to bed hungry every night?" They click the widget to find the answer, which is 12.4 million children, according to the USDA.
Encourage people to take action. Make them aware of your donations with each sale. Let them know your company is committed to this issue.
Spread the Word
Make sure to encourage people to spread the word about the issue. That is what makes widgets so great. They're easy for anyone to republish on their social network profile, blog, or Web site.
Also, encourage existing customers to talk about the issue in their blogs, e-mail newsletters, community meetings, work, and gatherings with friends. Your company's name and widget will surely come up in the discussion.
Give people a reason to talk about your company. Supporting a cause is a great way to build your brand awareness and links at the same time.
People link to brands they're familiar with and trust. A campaign done right can even go viral. The results might just surprise you.