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Three Steps for Reaching Your Customers Through Social Media

Social media offers an unprecedented ability to learn about customers and share information with them. Unlike many other forms of marketing, customers actively and willingly consume marketing messages delivered through social media, and the insights gained from social media can help inform everything from the content of the next email newsletter to overall product strategy.

Three Steps for Reaching Your Customers Through Social Media

Mine Social Media Followers for Future Segmentation

Johnny Cupcakes, a clothing retailer, had a large email list but no information to segment the list for targeted emails. They mined information from their social media follower’s, social media accounts to gather such simple demographic information as gender, long with information on hobbies and interests. The company sent out its first targeted email campaign to customers with an interest in baseball, and segmented by gender. The result was a major uptick in every measure over previously un-segmented and untargeted emails.

  • 42% increase in clickthrough rates
  • 123% increase in conversion rate
  • 141% increase in revenue per campaign

Mining social media paid off for Johnny Cupcakes and enabled them to reach customers more effectively.

Global Thinking Translates Into Local Action

SAP, a large software company, had always controlled the company’s social media presence through just a few accounts and channels that represented the voice of the company. They decided to let more employees contribute their voices to the ongoing conversation but found that its social media presence fragmented into too many small special interest groups to make an impact. The result was a revised that still enabled focused communication, greater employee participation, and adoption channels and uses that considers local and regional differences.

In the U.S., for example, the company uses itsLinkedInpresence to foster a sense of community and for personal branding, while in Europe, it uses LinkedIn to broadcast and promote the company, reflecting differences in local practice.

SAP corporate creates content that local marketing people adapt and use locally in ways that best suit the local culture. This may be as simple as translating the content into local languages or as complex as adapting it for a completely different channel. For SAP Latin American, that strategy paid off with a 900 percent increase in social media followers and a recent campaign targeted at social media followers had a 15 percent engagement rate and drove 12,000 visitors.

Choose Your Channels

One lesson learned from both the Johnny Cupcake and SAP stories is that it matters which channels with which you engage. Often, people feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of social media platforms and their frequently shifting demographics and popularity. It isn’t necessary to have a robust presence on every platform; you only need to be on the platforms that matter for your brand.

You can mine your existing list to see which platforms your current customers engage with, and how they use those platforms. You may find, as did SAP, that they use platforms differently in different regions. They may use one channel for updates, another for support and community and a third for consuming video. Once you’ve identified the top platforms for your user community, concentrate your efforts on ensuring that you have a strategy to ensure frequent updates and clear communication on each. Once you’ve identified the key channels, social media is not so overwhelming.

There are hundreds of social media platforms, but your customers most likely congregate on just a few of them. Follow these three steps to engage with your customers on social media:

  1. Use data mining and analysis of your existing customer lists to identify your top two or three platforms
  2. Decide how you will use each platform
  3. Put a clear plan in place to keep each one up to date and engaging for customers

Author Bio:Matt Smith is a Dell employee who writes to help raise awareness on the topic ofsocial mediaand other network management subjects.

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