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Live from MIXX: Tyra Banks on creating demand with audience empowerment

Tyra Banks says she is on a mission to empower women. At Monday’s IAB MIXX conference in New York City, Banks spoke at a keynote panel with IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg and Demand Media’s Joanne Bradford about her newest venture with her company, Bankable Media, to empower women by creating the content that they are asking for in the here and now.

Banks says she wants to create a platform where women can learn about and discuss the fashion and beauty issues they are already discussing online. Banks is partnering with Demand Media to cull content topics from real women searching and chatting online, in the hope of engaging women and empowering them by providing the type of content they seek.

Banks has always been a social figure, well known for reaching out to her audiences on television and to her more than 2 million Twitter followers. Now, she is leveraging her TV audience and social presence — along with search data — in a quest to create the best platform to serve her fans.

Lessons gleaned from Banks’ newest venture?

  • Empower your audience. The data is available and the demand exists, so do your homework and listen up.
  • Leverage your network by pulling in the experts you know who can speak to your audience on the topics they care about. Knowing what they want is half the battle — so when you do know that, make sure you go all out to give it to them.
  • Use your social channels to ask for feedback on what your business is doing — or not doing — to best serve customers. Banks says she frequently surveys her Twitter following to ask for advice and suggestions on her business ventures.

Banks may be on a mission to empower women, but in doing so she is highlighting one of the most important tenets of social media: empowering the audience. By bringing them into the content equation, she’s moving toward a new kind of user-generated content — that which people suggest without even knowing it.

What are you doing to listen to your audience and leverage your brand? Are certain social channels or search metrics providing the key data to better serve your audience?