Engage your audience via social media

November 26, 2009

The proliferation of social networks represents both an opportunity and a threat to many. Therein lies the juxtaposition of ‘We know our audiences are there, but how do we engage them?’

Here are some low-cost, high-impact ways in which you can engage audiences using social media:

Community-building

Social media networks are useful for attracting, engaging and building a community of loyal audiences. This can be powerful for online communication efforts on a number of levels, including talking to existing audiences, building rapport with potential readers and advertisers, and linking them together to increase a sense of community.

Many communicators have used Facebook, with more than 300 million current users, to set up fan pages and inform their audiences of products, services, news and offers.

Product Research

Social networks are a powerful research and development tool. The collection of people mixing and exchanging news, information, spending patterns, dialogue and feedback can give you a wealth of information for current and future products and services.

This can be delivered through crowdsourcing, or direct one-to-one contact with established readerships.

Customer Service

Social networks are a powerful research and development tool. Social media networks can provide a plethora of opportunities, and without an expensive marketing research campaign behind them.

Twitter, for example, has been leveraged by a number of companies, such as Zappos, which set up an account on this social network specifically to deal with customer service queries. Their Twitter account is followed by more than 1.3 million people.

The company has 400 employees, all of whom have Twitter accounts and who contribute to the company’s Twitter feed. This has helped to bolster customer service, provide an excellent point of contact for customers, and also to act as a showpiece for the firm’s outstanding approach to servicing customers both online and offline. It has also helped to increase revenues over time.

Marketing & Promotion

One of the biggest benefits of social media networks can be the speed, ease and global efficiency with which new products and services can be launched. Routes to market, via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, iTunes and blogging, can be leveraged effectively and in a timely manner.

Competitions, product launches, service initiatives, online forums and polls – there are countless ways social media networks can be utilised to add value to an audience online whilst increasing the buy-in.

Transparency

At a time when traditional advertising has less impact than at any previous point, and customers are able to voice poor service or treatment instantly across social media networks, the ability to show transparency via social media networks is a great credibility-builder.

The days of purely broadcast messaging as we know it are coming to an end.

The audience, particularly the increasingly social media-focused customer, now requires a rapid response to queries, great service, information to be readily available, and not to be sold to.

In short, transparency wins with the modern audience.

Is your social media engagement reflecting this?

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