Social Media Optimization – Getting the Most Out of Online Conversations

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Social media websites are demystifying the online shopping process and leveling the playing fields for new brands.

Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook provide a library of customer testimonials which shoppers increasingly use as research materials detailing information on countless brands. Consumers can instantly compare reviews, identify points of parity and points of difference, from real live consumers. Notable platforms such as Twitter are taking the place of traditional advertisement (TV commercials, billboards, back-of-the-box descriptions, etc.) due to the level of trusted authenticity. Genuine, online testimonials are the new word-of-mouth marketing.

In just one year, DELL managed to increase its revenue by $1 million through posting deals on Twitter. Interacting with fans over the blogosphere and Twitter alike, American Apparel freshens its advertising methods in a more effective manner. The American Red Cross utilizes Twitter as a means of educating the public, and has gained over 200,000 followers.

As I refer to it, The Twitter Library is an especially convenient source for branding. Digital marketers, such as myself, are accustomed to the extensive benefits of gaining the most from output here: we create tweets enticing excitement, emphasizing the finest aspects of our brand, its products, services and special deals. We respond to positive feedback and thank our followers with warm words and product giveaways. We love those who love us.

Is the Twitter Library effect changing the way we make purchase decisions?

In this tremendously fast-paced field, we can learn a lot from online shoppers and their behaviors.  In the marketing world, understanding buyer behavior involves a thorough comprehension of the cognitive process customers take prior to purchase.  A major pre-purchase step is no longer taking place in department stores as much as it is online. Consumers aren’t comparing the quality of one brand’s sunscreen vs. another’s by reading tangible labels as much as they refer to Twitter, Facebook and review sites before buying something. They research real, personal brand experience before making a final choice.

As digital marketers and social media experts, we should be visiting Twitter Library in a similar manner; we can conclude valuable information about our brands in doing so. Just as customers learn about different products through listening to online conversation, we should be doing so about our brands. Track and listen to both positive and negative feedback.

At Imagemme, we’ve become quite familiar with the challenge of developing brand personality for our clients who otherwise lacked one. In such cases, we first identify the value proposition and style a voice that delivers the brand’s ultimate message. Then, through use of social media “arts and crafts,” we form and maintain an online  personality. This involves thorough research of the market and consumer behavior.  We conduct an online analysis of user-reviews, inquiries, brand referencing in the blogosphere and, of course, tweets and Facebook comments. To properly maintain the persona of our brands, we respond appropriately to any further interaction from users; engaging in conversation as much and as frequent as possible.  These social media platforms expose consumer insights and privy brand marketers to an informal focus group, but where the product is being used in the real world.

Digitally active consumers can build your brand’s online image, and they can also tear it down.  Critique is the foundation for improvement, so pay attention and be ready to respond to negative customer feedback both directly and internally by taking advice and making the changes needed in order for your company’s success to continuously grow.

Websites such as Topsy.com and Icerocket.com can be used as an index for tracking brand-related conversation via Twitter, blogs, Facebook and more.

Seema Shariat is the Digital Marketing Analyst for the Imagemme New York City office.

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