Telligent Face Of Marketing Social Media Download

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Telligent Face Of Marketing Social Media Download

  1. 1. White PaPer 17950 Preston rd., Suite 310, Dallas, texas 75252 Phone: 877-492-9484 Fax: 972.407.0194 www.telligent.com www.communityserver.com how Social Computing is Changing the Face Of Marketing As the world’s leading provider of .NET social networking software, we at Telligent remain on the cutting edge of forward-thinking Web 2.0 technologies. In the following document, we discuss how the rise of online social networking is quickly changing the world of marketing. Executive Summary Forrester Research defines social computing as the following: “A social structure in which technology puts power into communities, not institutions.” The latter part of that definition—putting power into communities—is key to understanding the impact that social computing is having on the world of marketing today. Social computing sites are not simply a medium for building and conveying a carefully crafted marketing message. Instead, social networks and online communities are changing the face of marketing as practitioners know it today—taking the power out of the hands of marketing executives and putting messaging and branding into the hands of the consumer. authored by Ken Vernon, Courtney taylor © 2008. telligent. all rights reserved.
  2. 2. White PaPer 17950 Preston rd., Suite 310, Dallas, texas 75252 Phone: 877-492-9484 Fax: 972.407.0194 www.telligent.com www.communityserver.com Whether or not your company embraces social computing, rest assured that a large percentage of your consumer base, (particularly those under the age of 30), already has. Chances are, they’re already out there blogging, commenting, trading opinions, reviews, troubleshooting hints, and offering advice about your products or services. They have no interest in your marketing messages, press releases, or static Web site. What they are interested in is each other . . . and they expect you to listen. John A. Greco, Jr., President-CEO of the Direct Marketing Association, shares his thoughts on what direct marketers will experience in 2008: “The rise of online social networking is quickly changing the world further for marketers. In addition to the power that results from having many different alternatives for gathering information, forming opinions and making buying decisions, people are turning the tables in the conversation and beginning to talk to one another, consumer-to-consumer (c-to-c). What’s more, consumers are talking back to business. “We’re quickly approaching a world where the ultimate marketing channel is becoming ‘everyone-to-everyone else’ or ‘e-to-e,’ posing a whole new set of challenges for marketers.” Here’s a little secret: Companies succeeding in the Enterprise 2.0 marketplace aren’t devising ways to control their branding message; instead, they’ve ceded control to the consumer and are listening to the conversations taking place around their products and services. By using social networking tools, big businesses are paying closer attention and reacting—not as corporate monoliths via press releases, but as individuals, with faces, personal profiles, opinions, and stories to tell. And these enterprise organizations are assessing the feedback and actually using it to improve their products, services, and customer relationships. Are you? authored by Ken Vernon, Courtney taylor © 2008. telligent. all rights reserved.
  3. 3. White PaPer 17950 Preston rd., Suite 310, Dallas, texas 75252 Phone: 877-492-9484 Fax: 972.407.0194 www.telligent.com www.communityserver.com Listening and participating as an active member in your social network builds trust in your brand and helps to develop customer evangelists. Long gone are the days where corporations defined their place in the market. Today, anyone with Internet access and an opinion has the ability to either positively or negatively brand a product or service within a matter of minutes. Millennial marketers today need to remember two things: 1. Consumers are far more likely to listen to their evangelist peers versus a corporate institution, and 2. If you’re not participating in the topic-driven discussions your prospects and customers are already having, you’re in danger of losing valuable consumer mindshare The only real directive companies have is choosing which social computing tools (blogs, forums, wikis, ratings, groups, etc.) to use in order to spur conversation in their online communities. Other than that muted influence, it’s the everyday person who interacts with your product or service (and with other like-minded individuals) builds his/her own audience and creates content on top of your content. authored by Ken Vernon, Courtney taylor © 2008. telligent. all rights reserved.
  4. 4. White PaPer 17950 Preston rd., Suite 310, Dallas, texas 75252 Phone: 877-492-9484 Fax: 972.407.0194 www.telligent.com www.communityserver.com all Marketing, all the time Aside from enabling the consumer, social computing has also transformed marketing in other ways. Before digital marketing and Web 2.0, marketing included a series of strategies devised largely before a product was introduced. In a way, social computing has helped to turn marketing into a constant, ongoing conversation that continues through sales, support, and product and service upgrades. That means continually facilitating ongoing dialog among community members and empowering consumers to collaborate and help each other through the entire purchase lifecycle. Additionally, social computing has transformed companies from monoliths into intimate institutions. Mass communication is being rapidly replaced by more personal communication among community members. Some of those community members are employees that work for the company that produces the product or service; others are partners, prospects and power users, but they all communicate today across a borderless network. These open communication forums (the world of social computing) mean that your employees have now introduced themselves to the community at large and are connecting directly with users. They are swapping personal experiences, helping users with their issues, helping users help each other, and accepting personal feedback from hundreds or thousands of individual consumers. Many of your customers know and understand your product as well as the company’s marketing managers. Many are better experts at troubleshooting product glitches than the company’s technical support team. By encouraging and supporting community member feedback, your online social network can help decrease your support and operational costs while increasing overall efficiencies. authored by Ken Vernon, Courtney taylor © 2008. telligent. all rights reserved.
  5. 5. White PaPer 17950 Preston rd., Suite 310, Dallas, texas 75252 Phone: 877-492-9484 Fax: 972.407.0194 www.telligent.com www.communityserver.com Branded Communities Dell and Microsoft are perfect examples of how social computing can extend a brand online. Both Dell and Microsoft employees contribute to their specific online communities and act as facilitators to help bring people in and encourage discussion. Dell’s branded community, dubbed “Dell Community,” includes Direct2Dell, where Dell employees blog about new products, product upgrades and recalls, new uses for products, Dell’s participation in technology-related events, relevant technology news, and changes on the Web site. Dell community members post responses to blogs via comments, and Dell employees respond back to the users in an ongoing dialogue. Each blog has an author with a name and corporate title, so community users know exactly who is talking to them. But perhaps the most intriguing and innovative feature is Dell’s IdeaStorm site, where users are encouraged to submit, vote on, and discuss new product ideas with Dell employees and with each other. Then through the use of Web logs, Dell product managers keep community members informed about which submissions are being investigated and which are being implemented. The interesting thing about Dell’s branded community is that it began in response to bloggers that were deriding Dell’s level of customer service. Dell began to respond to specific issues on several 3rd-party social networks and within weeks had built one of its own social computing sites. Because of the communication and collaboration on Dell’s online community, Dell was able to transform negative feedback into a positive consumer experience. Microsoft is another example of a company known for its aggressive, top-down approach to marketing. Microsoft’s Channel 9 is a site where Microsoft employees and developers can exchange ideas, opinions, and development advice with one another via blogs, forums, wikis and media. The Channel 9 site includes a large amount of customer-generated tutorials and Q&A forums, and is a way for customers to get a look at what other users are doing and saying, as well as what goes on behind the scenes at Microsoft. authored by Ken Vernon, Courtney taylor © 2008. telligent. all rights reserved.
  6. 6. White PaPer 17950 Preston rd., Suite 310, Dallas, texas 75252 Phone: 877-492-9484 Fax: 972.407.0194 www.telligent.com www.communityserver.com What’s Your Strategy? There’s no question that social computing will impact your marketing strategy. According to Wainhouse Research, social networking in the enterprise is inevitable. Their study indicates that “the enterprise social networking market is expected to grow at a rate of 40% each year over the next five years.” The question for today’s corporations is, How do I devise and implement a marketing strategy based on social computing tools and methodologies? 1. Start by looking at your existing Web presence for opportunities and synergies that would benefit from social computing. Execute a few online searches to find out about any existing outside forums, blogs, and other social computing venues where your products are discussed. 2. Become an active participant in these forums to learn what’s top-of- mind for your Web community members. Use what you learn from the community to create content that is compelling, interesting, and useful. Start thinking you, not us in your communications. Think about user benefits first. Source staff members that have an affinity for social networking tools for ideas. 3. Get your employees to start blogging on your Web site about relevant issues. Build more social computing tools into your site—such as tech support forums—and then spread the word. Start monitoring the response to see how many participants you’re attracting. 4. Make sure your efforts don’t go stale. Continually update your corporate blogs, and actively contribute to forums. Constantly facilitate and offer a large amount of valuable information up front to spur community collaboration. Get used to honesty and transparency in your approach to marketing, and respond to comments honestly and within an appropriate amount of time. Encourage user feedback and suggestions. Start small and continually test your ideas. Then think about how your social computing strategy will integrate with the other parts of your overall marketing plan. Tactics could change. authored by Ken Vernon, Courtney taylor © 2008. telligent. all rights reserved.
  7. 7. White PaPer 17950 Preston rd., Suite 310, Dallas, texas 75252 Phone: 877-492-9484 Fax: 972.407.0194 www.telligent.com www.communityserver.com Need help getting started? Visit CommunityServer.com to learn about Telligent Community Server, the world’s leading .NET social computing platform for online customer communities and social networks. About Telligent Telligent is a leader in enterprise-proven solutions for online communities and social networks. Telligent’s flagship offering, Community Server, provides a fully integrated platform that utilizes social media to enhance customer relationships and brand engagement, increase ROI, and provide channels for customer insight and feedback. With its software solutions and extensive service offerings, Telligent empowers collaboration for many of the world’s largest brands. Clients include: Associated Press, Conde Nast, Dell, Electronic Arts, GlaxoSmithKline, Honda, Intel, Mazda, Microsoft, MSNBC, MySpace.com, National Geographic, the NFL, and Visa. For more information, visit Telligent.com. authored by Ken Vernon, Courtney taylor © 2008. telligent. all rights reserved.

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