I didn’t know that unofficial blogs, blogs written by fans of a company, dedicated to that company, existed until this week. There is an unofficial blog for every major social networking site: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. Starbucks, Apple and Verizon have one.
The unofficial blogs offer insights into companies that official blogs are too biased to provide. Amazon’s unofficial blog offers reviews and tips and tricks for purchasing and saving on Amazon. Starbucks Melody visits every Starbucks shop she comes across. Her blog is filled with artistic Instagram photos from Starbucks, individual franchise reviews and new promos. But surprisingly, companies like Windows do not have an unofficial blog, which I feel would be invaluable in offering tips, tricks and reviews for Windows users.
Consumer driven unofficial blogs are invaluable in building not only brand loyalty, but invaluable insight into a company. After an interview with Starbucks Melody, Leigh Duncan-Durst writes:
“…what these executives need to embrace is the idea that what folks like Melody are doing is a gift for Starbucks. It only takes one look at Melody’s blog to see how much of herself she has invested in it, how much she cares about her audience, the content, and the brand.
The truth is, when a customer cares enough to share thoughts, criticisms, and feelings—in any channel—it’s a gift. This is true whether the feedback is positive or negative. What brands like Starbucks have to decide, therefore, and in light of investments in their own blogs, crowdsourcing sites and partner channels, is how they will receive these gifts. As they decide, they must consider that we live in a day and age where corporate confidence is at an all-time low—where people statistically trust people much more than brands. In that light, it’s important to consider how powerful unofficial spokespeople can be. When a brand demonstrates sensitivity, humility, gratitude, and care—just providing great service provided on the local level—it can have a sizable, positive impact on the way people feel about brands. In the digital era, people with a trusted following can be strong and highly vocal advocates for brands or huge detractors. In the day and age we live in, it’s up to the brand to recognize the voices in the digital divide, and decide how they will respond to them to extract every ounce of value there is.”