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How you can benefit from your customers` use of social media

Social Media and customer support cross each other with customer-generated content. Many marketing people treat this in the traditional push-style marketing.

On a recent marketing convention in Sydney, New South Wales. One remarkable insight leapt at me, the unmet need for commitment to customer-generated content instead marketing driven content.
As proof of this emergent link between customer care and marketing is the use of events in social media, use of customer-created content in marketers’ campaigns. This is the next big thing in Marketing.
Existing marketing practices used by marketing managers for online publications is to employ in-house generated marketing copy.
Effective campaigns that run on the email and social media channels were noted at this Sydney conference. Sadly missing, was their incorporation within the company strategy itself.
Many steps were taken to connect customer knowledge in social media groups with product users in mainstream social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Customer satisfaction techniques have also integrated with topic experts and customer care staff.
In contrast, social media management and marketing case studies show that are often operated by, from and for the marketing department’s interests. In other words, a top-down approach.

At the Sydney conference, speakers remarked, several case studies emerging from their marketing campaigns:
• Campaigns were deemed a success in their own terms, according to existing industry standards of cost-per-impression, reach and open rate. However, they showed poor or next to no participation by users extending to sharing, using an app, adding entry details to the contest, etc.
• There was a general trend to operate marketing campaigns, with marketing work leading to little involvement by customer peers (online friends and forum users) in providing Facebook “likes” instead of the insightful, informative conversations with topic experts.
• In other words, these marketing case studies resulted in metric results reflecting television-like ad campaigns rather than chances to create long-term customer involvement. Communication was one-way, with no further feedback generated as a result of the traditional marketing campaigns.

Industry attendants asked several important questions:
Using social media to generate leads by the discovery and involvement in conversations, where topic experts met with customers to reduce disloyalty and brand switching. And interacting with prospective customers with the goal of dramatically increasing sales.
Speakers also noted that:
Online pre-sale staff interacted with online prospects to stir the sales conversion after product promotional campaign was completed.
The new campaign used customer peer-produced and compiled content; this was employed in outbound marketing campaigns as sources of high-value content which are easy for customers to engage with and generates further content by customers. They spoke in the customer language, providing social proof and were in the reference frame of customers themselves.
The examples shown above are the next phase in the transformation of marketing within the social media context.
Resources are used outside the scope of the marketing department to boost social media influence and conversion rates by increasing the customer involvement in the production of content in platforms like Facebook, Twitter and independent user forums.
This will involve resources, content and assets outside the marketing department, suppliers and long-term content generators.

This sounds promising, yet what’s next?

There is the chance for ongoing involvement to better sales targets, customer satisfaction goals, increase the profile of peer-generated content and thus promote the relationship between customer retention, loyalty and marketing.
This type of campaign can be inserted and expanded into an existing marketing campaign.
Conference speakers added.
Seek long term customer involvement is a key driver in this new form of marketing.
Examine previous campaigns that ignited interest for prolonged engagement, based on perennial themes, topics and issues of interest to customers.
This requires a mix of demand-creation and customer conversations among their peers.
By making good use of peer-generated content, which by its own nature is of importance to customers, you are capable of turning mere interest into strong bonds through ongoing involvement in customer-to-customer conversations.
Maximise the profile of customer-produced content, it’s an easy task to do.
You may use existing content collected from your established customer-generated help and support online forums, Facebook “fan” and community pages and so on. Remember, customers will speak first to their peers sharing the same product experience.
The utility generated by customer-generated content becomes the foundation for new marketing campaigns, which shows its added value for further returns on investment.
So highlight the linkage between good customers retention practices, care operations, selling and marketing activities, they all play a part in the Marketing Operations mix.
This key relationship is an aspect of customer satisfaction, affected the most by customer care, along with sales growth, and product renewals. They make it crystal clear that the customer care, support and marketing teams create a more valuable customer experience, with reductions in lost customers and increased sales conversion rates.
By designing comprehensive social media campaigns, it demands full dedication and expertise in using online tools, besides making sure that the organisation’s teams coordinate their efforts together.

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