Social Marketing: Because a two-way Conversation is Always More Engaging 1 Comment

Social media can be an inexpensive way to communicate with an audience. Websites such as MySpace and Facebook, and even the corporate networking site LinkedIn, can play a role in connecting with your members and enhancing your brand.

But before you jump in, make sure you have a good understanding of how best to use these tools and, if appropriate, have the resources to commit to them.

Why should a company add social networks to their marketing strategy?

A 2008 Cone Business study showed 93% 0f online Americans believe a company should have a presence in social media. More than 80% feel companies should interact with its consumers via social media. And 56% feel a stronger connection with, and better served by, a company with whom they interacted in social media.

Network socially: know the right place for your brand
Corporate social networking is most successful when a company finds the right place for its brand.

First, think about what your brand represents. Is your company more conservative but very relevant to 20 – 40 year olds? Facebook is an appropriate option and is rapidly growing among 30 – 40 year olds. Building a strategy to target Baby Boomers? The social network BoomJ could be the perfect fit.

The important thing is to stay true to your brand. Use media like social networks to enhance your brand and highlight your best attributes to the right audience.
Here are some DOs and DON’Ts of social marketing:

Be Useful
More than 40% of online Americans say that companies should use social networks to solve their problems.

Here are two examples of how you can use a social network page like Facebook or BoomJ to deliver real value for your members:

  • If your customers are frustrated with your online checkout, put a video on your page that walks them through the process.
  • If a customer posts a problem, post the response on the page because there is a good chance other customers have experienced a similar situation.

If you provide something of value, your customers will come to you and reward you with loyalty and additional business. The key is knowing what to provide and where to provide it.

Be Open
More than 40% of American want companies to solicit feedback on their product and services.  Social networks and forums are great venues to receive feedback on existing services.

Accept negative feedback. When you respond in a positive, proactive manner, it will pay dividends in member loyalty and brand preference. Most importantly, the key is to respond, as members expect two-way communication via social networks.

In addition to soliciting feedback on existing services, use this media to test new services concepts.
Before spending money to develop and market a new product, get your members’ reaction – quickly and inexpensively.

Communicate Appropriately
Social networks are another element in your overall marketing strategy, so it is important that your online presence supports your brand.
If you are appealing to a young and innovative segment, an instructional podcast might be an appropriate way to connect.

Don’t Rely On One Online Tactic
As with all successful marketing efforts, use the multitude of online options to increase your presence and grow the relationship you have with your customers via email, search and social.

Be Aggressive
Nothing is sadder than a MySpace page with 5 friends. If you make the effort to establish an online relationship with your customers, your success in this medium relies on encouraging them to engage and, more importantly, to interact with your brand.

Be Frequent
Online users are happiest when they have access to fresh information. Dedicate resources to frequently updating your social network page, as it positively represents your brand and shows respect for your user.

Social marketing is for everyone. The key is finding the channels that are relevant to your brand and your audience so you are best positioned to succeed.

Written by Andrew Abend for The Talent Buzz blog post contest.

About Jason Buss

Talent HQ’s creator and editor is Recruiting & Diversity Leader, Jason Buss. Talent HQ is a premier online news and information channel for the Recruiting and Human Resources community.

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  • Posted on: Monday, March 2nd, 2009