This week The Bella Buzz gang of Desiree Scales from Bella Web Design and Joe Magennis of Fluid Media welcome special guest Brian Gleason, Public Relations Manager from Medifast. They discuss actual applications of social media marketing including Brian's perspective on how his company went about the practice of developing a vibrant social community.
Brian shares that the company had originally built a closed environment as an online community only for existing customers, but as they went about analyzing the impact of the word of mouth and peer to peer support that took place, they realized that they needed to evolve into more social networking platforms.
The most prominent networks for Medifast are a Facebook Fan Page, a YouTube channel, and Twitter for interaction. This works very well with their Take Shape for Life Health Coaches who use these tools to motivate their clients as well as get the word out to potential clients by simply offering advice and encouragement.
Note the story at around the 7:00 minute mark when Brian shares a real life case study of how he was able to direct a potential customer to the Facebook page and the entire community took over to convince the shopper of the product benefits. They turned the shopper into a customer ... exactly the results everyone is looking for in their own social media plan!
Brian recommends all companies monitor what is happening on Twitter by keeping the Twitter Search web site open on his desktop all day long and listening for references to the company, customer successes and any other potential opportunity to connect and communicate.
Medifast consciously took the "slow and steady" approach to developing their social community through organic discovery. The intention was to learn from the process in order to refine the strategy and to ensure the best execution. They use it as a community building effort much more so than a promotional platform.
One key element of this approach is the buy-in from the corporate executives, including Mike McDevitt CEO of Medifast, who was instrumental in getting Brian in touch with Desiree to talk about social media. (Mike and Desiree literally ran into each other while running at the annual 2009 TSFL convention in Phoenix a month ago!) This allowed for some time to roll-out the effort without having to justify through indiscriminate metrics.
Watch for the development of Health Coaches using social media tools as a key part of counseling their client base. Medifast is looking to provide guidance to the Coaches so that they can help their clients participate in "life-streaming" as a way to stay motivated and share their successes.
Brian's final bit of parting advice to business owners is that they should listen and learn as much as possible by immersing themselves in social media personally before diving right in representing the company. The mistakes can be made there first as a learning experience.
Thanks to Brian for joining us, and for more information about Medifast visit the web site www.choosemedifast.com or connect via any of the social networks linked above.
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