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H&M logoSince I’m a professional user of social media and a “constant learner”-type, I love reading case studies of how companies are using social media in unique ways to build strong, dedicated online followings. The Mindjumpers blog recently took a look at what we can learn from H&M’s use of social media, analyzing how the clothing store amuses their customers, involves their customers, helps their customers, and makes things easy for their customers. The section that most intrigued me was their overview of how H&M involves their customers through the use of “ordinary people” recommendations in the “Social Media Room” on their website:

Involve your customers
H&M does a great job involving their customers. Not only do they arrange contests and events, they also import people’s outfits and blog posts that mention H&M to their so-called “Social Media Room“. Even though people are not only wearing H&M-clothes, they take advantage of it and show how creative and individual their customers are. When people see H&M-clothes on human beings instead of on models it work as recommendation. It’s more likely that an ordinary girl shows how the garments really look like than a retouched picture in a magazine does. This brings transparency to the brand of H&M and appreciation to their customers.

It’s in peoples’ nature to be part of communities – so let them be a part. The passion and their own kind of way of using your product or service can inspire others and give you more customers. The really loyal fans are probably the best marketers you’ve got. Take advantage of other social media channels to let other people see what is written and shown about your business. Recommendations from people like you and me are so much stronger than a brochure through our doorposts.

H&M Social Media RoomI love H&M’s “Social Media Room” because I completely agree that the best recommendations often come from ordinary people, which is one of the reasons I use sites like Goodreads and Yelp. Sure, a literary award nomination will always peak my interest to a degree, but if a fellow avid reader who has similar reading taste to mine gives a book a raving review on their Goodreads profile? That’s guaranteed to have that book added straight to my (insanely long) to-read list.

I’ve also used the “ordinary people” recommendations idea in my own social media promotions. On my Glee blog, I’ve posted excerpts and links to reviews of my book from Glee fans and other Glee blogs. Just like H&M is hoping that the photos and posts from H&M fans will help bring them more customers and sales, I’m using Glee‘s strong online community to help boost the appeal of my book to other fans of the show.

How much weight do you put in “ordinary people” recommendations? Do you think that they help to build stronger, more dedicated online followings for companies or products? Share your thoughts or experiences in the comments on how “ordinary people” recommendations have or haven’t influenced you in the past.