Posts Tagged ‘LinkedIn’

Seek Out Your Customers, Be Where They Are: Engage and Be Social

Figuring out my "social" prioritiesWhere are your customers hanging out these days? Chances are social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. (And if your customers go to three particular tradeshows a year, and only those three tradeshows, make sure you’re there also.) With the time and resources people are spending online, everyone’s trying to figure out a way to monetize the relationships they have. But before we go into monetization, let’s think about relationships for a second.

I always think the concept of “following” vs. “followers” on Twitter is revolutionary – you’re not just friends or colleagues with people who follow you or who you follow, but you’re actually cultivating a clout – a group of followers – while you become another person’s following.

What do you do with your followers? And if your followers happen to be your customers, what would you do differently in your interactions with them online? Chances are, you will interact with each person fairly equitably. Every Tweet is posted instantaneously on every follower’s status page, so your communication with any one person is shared and displayed. (Unless you go the route of DM – where you Direct Message the person; but what’s the point of DM if you can email each other.)

So what’s the insight here? Social media compels marketers and business owners to behave differently from before – every decision and point of interaction made is in relatively full view of other people (some competitors, too). The relationship-building process becomes open, rather than competitive, i.e. you’re no longer an exclusive commodity to your customer and neither is your relationship with your customer an exclusive one because your customer can be followed by Nth number of people just like yourself.

The open nature of online communication brings us to rethink the way we’ve been doing business or marketing our products and services. Our engagement with each customer is now driven and fostered by relationships, not by hardselling or advertising. And these relationships require commitment – a commitment to continually engage our customers in meaningful and reflective conversations, continuous service/product improvement and deeper relationship building. And some of these relationships may translate into better performance or financial rewards, while others may not. (Charlene Li of Altimeter Group recently released a study on the breadth and depth of the 100 most valuable brands’ engagement across 11 different online social media channels http://www.altimetergroup.com/2009/07/engagementdb.html )

So when Topsy (a Twitter-based search engine) said on its blog today: Influence is the New Web Currency, I think that ties right back to what we’ve been saying about relationships, engagement and open communication – the three elements that make influence possible.

Instead of figuring out what our customer loyalty index is, maybe we should ask, “What’s our influence index?” to be more relevant, engaging and social.

Resources:

1) Measure your social media influence: Take the Engagement Survey http://www.engagementdb.com/Rank-Yourself

2) Check out the brand engagement report at http://www.engagementdb.com/Report