Finding the right social engagement

| Print |  Email
Archives - April 2009
Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Connecting with a community of your customers through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter may help you increase your online presence, but are you ready to become an active participant? Expanding your marketing efforts to include these “Web 2.0” options takes you beyond merely presenting information, straight into a public two-way conversation.

Facebook ranks as the social networking site with most traffic, drawing 74 million unique visitors in January, second-place was MySpace (53 million), and Twitter came in third with about 8 million.

While social networking can help you tap directly into what your customers are saying, “You have to give up a bit of control,” says Dawn Foster of Fast Wonder Consulting in Portland, who advises companies on strategies for engaging with online communities where everybody has a voice. “What companies struggle with more than anything else is how to manage the communication about their brands on these sites.”

When Martina Degliantoni, a principal at Portland PR firm Conkling, Fiskum & McCormick, looked at blogs about her client, the Tillamook County Creamery Association, she found two unofficial fan groups. In response, the company created an “official” Tillamook Cheese Facebook page last year, invited the 750 existing fans to join, and now engages with 6,900 fans and counting.

Additionally, Tillamook rolled out its own fan club page in November, and is working on phase two of that site, which will incorporate a social networking component in June. “Because our customers have such an emotional connection with the brand, it is important to be a part of the conversation and let them know we’re listening,” says Degliantoni. “We have an online community manager and we monitor conversations about Tillamook hourly.”

If you can’t commit the resources to manage and monitor social networking sites and provide fresh content for your audience, you may want to hold off on creating your own pages for now, says Foster. Also, be sure you can answer the question: Whose job is it anyway? “You have to have time carved out for people to achieve your objectives,” she says. “Otherwise, you end up with abandoned accounts, and that can be embarrassing.”

If you are ready to commit to maintaining a business presence on Facebook, create a “group” or a “company page” where people can become a “fan.” Then, as on Twitter, do more than just tout your products and services, which will turn people off. Participate as part of the larger community by discussing industry trends, or asking employees from outside marketing to post information, suggests Foster.

The important thing is becoming — and staying — a part of the discussion. Once you become comfortable with the process you can determine how social networking fits into your marketing plan — and budget.

JENNIFER L. HANSON

Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




 

More Articles

Modern design defines new Portland indoor market

The Latest
Thursday, June 25, 2015
thumbSnøhetta JBPM exterior www mir noBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An international architecture firm known for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York unveiled its plan this week for a modern indoor/outdoor food market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland.


Read more...

An uncertain future

Guest Blog
Thursday, May 21, 2015
norristhumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

Uncertainty is a part of doing business, whether in through the lens of investment opportunities and risks or the business of running an enterprise.


Read more...

Frothy Battle

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ROBERT MULLIN

Latest development in Nestlé plant saga sparks debate about the value of water.


Read more...

Intrepid reporter checks out ZoomCare rebrand

The Latest
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
dentistthumbPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Like all good journalists, OB editorial staff typically eschew freebies. But health care costs being what they are, digital news editor Jacob Palmer couldn't resist ZoomCare's offer of a three-in-one (cleaning, exam, whitening) dental office visit, guaranteed to take no more than 57 minutes. 


Read more...

Apartment Mania

Guest Blog
Thursday, June 18, 2015
4805983977 11466ce1d6 zBY BRAD HOULE | CFA

While most categories of commercial real estate have performed well, one of the most robust has been apartment buildings.


Read more...

The ancient fish that stops bullets

The Latest
Friday, May 08, 2015
hagfishthumbBY CHRIS NOBLE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Hagfish may not have evolved much over the last 300 million years, but their protein-heavy slime promises advances in super-materials.


Read more...

Downtime with John Helmick

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Live, Work, Play: CEO of Gorilla Capital.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS