It is earned through experiences that delight, and through the delivery of the highest class of customer service. Advocacy is the nirvana of social media , and it is through advocacy that your efforts start to truly scale and grow. It shows that your brand is doing such an amazing job that your customers shout about your brand from rooftops, sharing their opinions and experiences with their networks.
That sharing is the best marketing a brand can ask for. Identifying potential advocates is a good first step. You can use social tools many of which are outlined in the rest of this guide , site data, customer data, and even your own observations to help you pick out which customers are likely to go to bat for your brand.
You'll want to figure out what is most important to those potential advocates. What are they looking for? Are they fishing for recognition?
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Figure out what type of advocates your brand attracts and find ways to recognize them for their advocacy. It is important to note, though, that most of your greatest community relationships will be built organically. While your research and brand knowledge encourages people and helps you put the right foot forward, relationships take time. The transition from a passive web to an interactive web has brought with it many changes affecting how individuals connect with one another and also how businesses operate. At this stage in the game, it's fair to say that a web presence is critical to the success of a business.
You can't get ahead if you're ignoring your customer's online conversations or opting to look the other way. Use this opportunity to get closer to your audience than ever before—reach more people in a genuine and authentic manner, drive more qualified site traffic, increase the authority of your brand, engage the people who influence your customers' behavior, and gain the data necessary for insights-based business decisions.
Maybe a better question is, why wouldn't your company use social media? Keep in mind that neither your customers' experience nor your brand starts with Twitter, Facebook, or your blog. Social media should take your existing brand and solidify it, galvanize it, and bolster it.
Your efforts in social media should be an extension of everything else you do in all departments of your company. Capturing your company's voice and sharing it with the world through social media will open up unique opportunities in all other channels of inbound marketing, including SEO, branding, public relations, sales, and more.
To get the most out of social media, make the relationships you build with it your end goal. That might sound a bit utopian for anyone who is grounded in more traditional and tangible business measurement and metrics, but take a step back from the bottom-line, ROI-seeking aspect to look at the big picture for a minute.
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The relationships built with customers are the foundations upon which other aspects of your business can and will flourish. Relationships flourish when you cultivate them, and no other area offers you the opportunity to do this as well as social media. Social channels have broken down the walls between individuals at an unprecedented rate. In , Facebook released data showing that its users were, on average, 3.
In the years since that study, the network has only continued to grow. That's pretty amazing, and social media can take credit for making it happen. Some of the most successful SEOs and public relations professionals earn their notoriety, at least in part, from the relationships they are able to build.
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They're also good at what they do, of course, but great relationships bolster their already solid effort. The relationships you build with your customers lead to advocacy and loyalty, traits that can support your brand during both the good and the bad times, representing an investment that will remain strong on nearly any platform and under nearly any circumstances.
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Information can be shared through social media at an amazingly fast pace, and users are increasingly turning to social channels to share information in real-time. This information often takes the form of opinions, so if you're listening for the right cues from your audience, social media can become an invaluable source of insights and feedback.
Incorporating social listening into product development work can act as an early warning system, save on customer service costs, provide valuable development feedback, and even help identify ideal beta testers without much expense. Social media is not something you can simply "tack on" to the rest of your marketing, branding, PR, and advertising efforts; it needs to be a fully integrated part of the mix. In doing so, you can create a cohesive and scalable experience for your customers.
Think of it as a means to an end, and not an end in itself. Also, it's not as hard as it sounds. Be sure to integrate social media into your marketing efforts as early as possible to help amplify and solidify your work rather than waiting until the end of a planning cycle to explore social options. Traditional media staffs and journalists are trying to learn the keys to writing successful online.
However, many are lamenting an SEO methodology which they interpret to require tacky, keyword-stuffed writing. In a rare glimmer of hope, Rachelle assures the media community that poor writing is not required online. There are a number of sensible ways to include keywords without diluting the substance of an article. Writers must understand the true goal of SEO. But picture this. You have to psych yourself up, remind yourself of your best qualities, and remember that you have lots to offer!
That party is real life. The Web is real life. In our local market Akron, OH , a good chunk of our newspaper staff have been laid off over the last couple of years.
Yay Heather! Top Chef lovers unite!! Okay, back to online media. So true! I graduated from J school a little less than 2 years ago and at the time online media was finally moving into the picture. Online media lessons basically came down to: people reading on the Web want stories to be shorter. They also want to see pictures. The end. Oh my.
I love that you love Top Chef just as much as I do! Oh, and that is the greatest picture of spunky Carla! I have to wonder, are the Journalism programs in universities starting to incorporate SEO, blogging, and Web-related courses into their curriculum? Jay, I agree that the format of newspapers has made them inherently unfit for the new information environment. Once they realize that — and evidence suggests traditional media folks are getting there — the public will be able to get the in-depth, investigative news once again.
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Photo credit Ahmed Rabea via Creative Commons Over at Search Engine People yesterday, James Duthie wrote about how fear has prohibited corporate involvement in important social media channels.