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Below is the second part of our seven strategies to engage your customers in social media.To read the first portion of this article, please click here

 

  1. Put your fans front and center. Think about ways to highlight comments and input from your fans, friends, and customers. For example, hold “fan of the week” contests soliciting before-and-after photos of people using your products, then post the winners prominently on your wall so everyone can see them. Or create a place where users can post questions to be answered by other users, which makes customers active participants in your marketing efforts. Also, be sure to include social commentary on your website; if you post an article or new blog entry, include comments you’ve gotten as well. Spotlighting users this way conveys the message that you care about customer viewpoints and give them high priority, boosting shareability and traffic.
  2. Broaden your focus. Using social media to shape your brand image can extend well beyond products and services to wider topics and issues you and your customers care about. For example, you could build an online community where likeminded users can connect with each other around a specific interest or source of inspiration. This associates your company with a unique set of values that can win far greater mindshare than a strict focus on business alone.
  3. Make your content easy to share. Be sure to put share buttons on your website, newsletters, blog posts, and any campaigns or emails you send. Don’t go overboard, though—endless rows of sharing options will only distract and annoy your audience. Instead, pick the few social media sources that draw the most traffic for your business and include them consistently. You can also add “comment widgets”—balloons that invite users to share their experience by typing in comments, then posting what they’ve just said on their own Facebook page.
  4. Track your share of voice. Especially as you're getting your social media program off the ground, it's important to learn where you stand in terms of capturing online attention, then use that as a benchmark to measure the success of your efforts over time. You can easily do this by looking for your company and product names or keywords through search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and AOL; be sure to check from multiple browsers and computers, since today's search engines customize results based on user habits and preferences. You can also hire SEO agencies to help you track and improve your rankings.

 

 

This article is part of the current issue of Ariba Supply Lines, a quarterly newsletter for eCommerce decision-makers and practitioners who want to increase revenue, drive process efficiencies, cut costs, and manage cash more effectively. To receive the newsletter directly in your inbox, please click here.