Social media is an amazing way for companies to engage with customers, customers to engage with companies and generally share information easily. I don’t usually take the time to look at new social media products as they all seem to be trying to do the same task, but I see that a number of companies featured in recent stories could have benefited.

One of the more interesting products that appeared on my Twitter feed early this morning was Knowem. So you may think its another Twitter or Facebook service, but in fact it solves many social issues for companies.

The LA Times covered an article today that outlines how major brands need to learn to respond to social media and quick, or get left out. Recently the social media scene has seen Ashton Kutcher fighting with CNN to be the first to one million followers. This Twitter follower race was supported by a digital billboard campaign and other traditional media such as TV appearances.

Oprah was quick to jump onto the media circus, also showing support of Twitter was US TV show The View who called to their audience to join up and show their support by following them. The interesting thing about these TV appearances was that they looked more like an infomercial for Twitter and often seem quite scripted on how easy it was to use, how it worked and even some quick hints and tips on social etiquette.

The issue that was kept quiet was that CNN did not actually initially own CNNbrk until very recently – it was setup and maintained by British web developer James Cox. The smart process occurred when CNN quietly asked him to run the account and supplied assistance before hiring him to officially run it on behalf of CNN.

The successful Coke Facebook fan page was actually created by two LA actors, Dusty Sorg and Michael Jedrzejewski, but once it reached one million fans, Facebook advised Coke, the trademark, owner to take control or lose it. Coke moved quickly in what is a new way of dealing with product evangelists they took them onboard and requested they run the page for the company. The newly official page has exceeding three million fans.

Facebook is not immune to issues with brands being heavy handed – Hasbro sued Scrabulous for making a Scrabble-like game, which draw angry responses directed at Hasbro to save Scrabulous.

More recently, Australian companies have started to feel the effect with Facebook closing down employee started fan pages, with requests from the company to take control ignored by Facebook. Social networks like Facebook and its policies can often damage a companys social image as their loyal fans think they have been thrown out in the cold, when the unofficial page is shut down by Facebook.

This heavy handed approach to banning what Facebook doesn’t think is official starts to blur the lines of who actually controls the content – is it the creators, the trademark owners or the social network.

So, we go back to Knowem and how it could have prevented this occurring for these companies/brands. The software is a cloud-hosted application that offers the missing link in the social land rush to ensure you own your trademark term. Knowem shows how quickly and easily you can check the availability of your brand name or vanity name across over 120 popular social media sites.

This means that companies can quickly and cost effectively claim their social media profiles across over 120 services such as WordPress, Twitter, Myspace, Digg, delicious, and YouTube.

The best thing about this service is that it can prevent your profile being controlled by a third-party who may demand millions or use it to damage your brand. Knowem seems smart enough to understand business just doesn’t always have the time or patience and offer a premium service to automatically register all your usernames. Understanding how quickly new sites are being launched they also offer a monthly subscription service that will continue to sign up your brand on the six to 10 new social media services started each month.

Now that you are thinking about social media and worried that someone will register your brands social profile, take the time to speak with a marketing agency. Many marketing agencies have social media experience or work with consultants to help you design a social media campaign to help you benefit from social media.

If you dont have the budget to hire a social media firm, request your marketing manager to use Knowem to ensure that you at least have your social identity secured, and take the social media process in stages.

Links

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-twitter20-2009apr20,0,2701874.story?page=1

http://www.prweb.com/releases/Social/Media/prweb2339354.htm

http://knowem.com/

http://www.thelostagency.com – my agency

David Iwanow
BY David Iwanow ON 27 April 2009
With over six years digital marketing experience consulting to Australia's biggest companies and marketing agencies, you can now find David working as a SEO Product Manager at Marktplaats.nl