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Using Brand Outposts and Communities

It’s time to connect the basics, to put in place the beginning of a framework for a social business. Chapter 1 covered the basics of engagement, Chapter 2 covered the new role of the customer as a potential participant in your business. Chapter 2 also touched on the social graph and social CRM, highlighting tools like BuzzStream that help you identify and build relationships with people who are talking about your brand, product, or service and influencing others in the process.Chapter 3, “Building a Social Business,” framed social CRM and social applications in the context of a social business, a firm or organization that is being run based on the direct collaboration between itself and its customers. The basic interactions— creating relationships between community members and creating shared knowledge—come about through specific.

Replicable actions that can be designed into the organization itself. In this section of Chapter 4, the social behaviors described so far are applied in specific social spaces—think online communities here—where the actual interactions, discussions, and conversations take place. Recall from Chapter 3 that communities are built around things like passions, lifestyles, and causes

The big things that people choose to spend their time with. Very often, a brand, product, or service by itself does not warrant a community of its own: Even when it does, that particular community is typically only participated in by a fraction of the total potential audience.

For most businesses and organizations, the places where customers willingly spend time—often engaged in conversation about the business or organization—is a social network or online community that is dedicated not to brands, products, or services, but rather to other people like themselves, with interests like their own. So how do you participate as a business? Even more pressing, how do you get your customers to spend time doing real work with your team, contributing ideas and 97 ■

Using Brand Outposts and Communities insights that will help you better define products or innovate in ways that will lower costs or differentiate you from your competitors? In short, how do you become part of the communities your customers or members belong to and begin to realize the promised benefits of social computing?

Final speech

You participate in the activities they are involved in—with full disclosure and transparency—in order to build the levels of trust that that will elicit their contributions of knowledge back to you.

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