By Ruth Han @han_ruth
Many companies’ reaction to the social media trend is setting up their Facebook and Tweeter page. But getting 10,000 fans on Facebook or 5,000 followers on Twitter is only the start of your company’s journey down the social media path, not the end. The ultimate goal to any marketing initiative should be the ROI, but you can’t translate the increase in Facebook or Twitter fans into actual revenue. So what can you do to translate your current social media into tools that helps you reap in incremental revenue?
1. Let your fans tell you what they need
Why spend thousands of dollars on focus groups and other ethnographical researches when you have a group of customers at your disposal? Use your free resources on Facebook and Twitter to reap consumer insights! Start a discussion thread asking for your fans/follower’s opinion on the latest product release. Do they like it/don’t like it? What elements would they change? You can even ask fans to vote on the ideas they deem most valuable to give you a sense of where to take your next step in the product development. Salesforce.com has used this technique to pump up their product release and make revisions that are more relevant to customer’s needs.
2. Energize your fans and make them your evangelist
Once you’ve had the fans talking, you can further energize them by closing the feedback loop and showing them that you’ve listened to them. Make changes according to the comments and show it on the Facebook page. Speak directly to followers in reply to their comments to continue the momentum. In showing that you listen and care about what your fans have to say, you continue to generate energy on your Facebook page and create passionate fans that will help you spread the word even outside the social media circle. Lego has even created a Lego Ambassador program to stay connected to their fans and engage their most profitable customers. Many studies have shown that Word of Mouth is the most powerful form of marketing, and by energizing your fans, you will be able to generate Word of Mouth without having to launch any marketing campaign.
Advance your social media strategy with the following 2 easy steps:
• Start talking directly to your Facebook/ Twitter fan; posting announcements on the social media doesn’t count.
• Ask your fans for comments on a product or service, and take the most valuable comment and act on it. Show your improvement on your Facebook page.
Ruth Han is a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill IMC marketing program and specializes in social media planning and database analysis. Ruth will be graduating in December 2012. Ruth can be reached through twitter @han_ruth.