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

Courtside

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Power lunching at the Court Street Dairy Lunch in Salem.


Read more...

Beyond Bodegas

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Five years in the making, the Portland Mercado — the city’s first Latino public market — will celebrate its grand opening April 11. A $3.5 million public-private partnership spearheaded by Hacienda CDC, the market will house 15 to 20 businesses in the food, retail and service sectors. It has some big-name funders, including the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and JPMorgan Chase. The project goals are equally ambitious: to improve cross-cultural understanding, alleviate poverty and spur community economic development. 


Read more...

Car Talk

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Everyone knows cell phones and driving are a lethal combination. The risk is especially high for teenage drivers, whose delusions of immortality pose such a threat to us all. Enforcement alas, remains feeble; more promising are pedagogical approaches aimed at getting people to focus on the road, not their devices.


Read more...

Photo Diary: Forest Grove Farmers Market

The Latest
Thursday, May 14, 2015
IMG 8469BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

There are more than 160 farmers markets in Oregon, contributing an estimated $50 million in sales, according to the Oregon Farmers Markets Association. We checked in on the Forest Grove market, which for several years has brought local produce and food vendors to Main Street in the center of town.


Read more...

Picture This

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

As a general rule, the more people with autism can be provided with visual cues, the better they will be able to understand and manage their environment. It’s a lesson Tom Keating learned well. The 61-year-old Eugene grant writer spent 31 years taking care of his autistic brother James, and in the late 1980s developed a spreadsheet that created a series of nonsense characters that grew or shrank depending on how much money James had in his account. 


Read more...

Short Shrift:The threat of just-in-time scheduling

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Companies can benefit when they use software to meet staffing requirements and address employees' family and life commitments.


Read more...

Footloose

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Founded 12 years ago, Keen Inc. likes to push the envelope, starting with the debut of the “Newport” closed toe sandal in 2003. Since then, the company has opened a factory on Swan Island and a sleek new headquarters in the Pearl District. The brand’s newest offering, UNEEK, is a sandal made from two woven cords and not much more.


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