Photo of a frog taken by LynditListening to online conversations has most likely taught you a great deal. You have learned about popular places for conversations taking place about your products, company and competitors. You have learned about brand champions. The importance of keeping yourself organized. And you have gotten a sense that entering into social media is going to take a big time investment.

If there is one thing you need to focus on it is that the number one priority for your business needs to be serving your customer and community. A good example of focusing on your customer and community comes from Dell. What Dell did that is currently working well is they created different Twitter accounts based on customer interest and need. Check out Mashable’s article talking about how Dell used Twitter to help their business

“Focusing on customer engagement and social media should be a top priority if companies´ online direct marketing campaigns are to succeed during 2010, it has been claimed.” – Equi Media

Let’s say that this whole process of learning, and listening to social media took you 10 weeks, about the length of a college quarter. So, think of these next steps as your internship. During an internship at possibly a company with a career option of your choice you best bet is to work hard, have a great can do attitude, learn from the team you are on and network. The same goes with your social media campaign. Work hard researching about where conversations are happening. Have a positive attitude about social media and what it can do your business. What I feel to be very important, network with others currently engaging in social media.

“One of the greatest challenges I encounter today is not the willingness of a brand to engage, but its ability to create.” – Brian Solis – Mashable

Appreciate the conversation, and the experience. UTalkMarketing has some excellent articles that speak to the conversation:

Feedback, and even criticism, can be harnessed to improve product design and find out which areas your services are lacking. The other side of the coin is that superior products, which receive better reviews, will be easier to sell, with customers acting as (dare I say it) ‘evangelists’.
Offering useful content, whether it’s in your blog or commenting in forums, will build closer relationships with your brand. People are inherently inclined to repay generosity, and the brands and businesses offering value in the way they engage are more likely to be regarded as valued members within social media communities and rewarded with increased sales.” – 4 Steps For Engaging with Your Social Media Galaxy – UTalk Marketing

“Should social media be used to raise brand perceptions or as a tactical marketing tool? Both. Being responsive to your consumers is paramount to brand perception. JetBlue is a great example. They engage with their customers through social media, and in doing so, they are true to their service tag line “bringing humanity back to air travel”. – Flo Lugli, EVP – marketing, Wyndham Worldwide

Creating accounts, and finding people to follow and interview will be the easy part. Writing and finding content for your communities might be a little more challenging. “Establishing a presence is elementary, captivating audiences is artful. In the near future, brands and organizations will create new or augment existing roles for editors and publishers to create timely, relevant, and captivating content on all social media channels.” – Brian Solis – Mashable

  1. Understand Your Community
  2. From listening to online conversations about your product, company or similar companies in your industry you will have a good idea of what people are interested in

  3. Remember the Pareto Principle
  4. The rule states that 20% of your customers will do 80% of their business with you. Don’t target the other 80% that only brings in 20%. Provide content to that core group of customers

  5. Use Polls
  6. If you are having trouble getting content. Ask for it. Consider using polls, Survey Monkey gives users free access to creating and managing their own online surveys.

  7. Be Genuine
  8. Respond to posts on Twitter as a human. If your customers says it is their birthday, respond as your business and say “Happy Birthday”.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Time to rub elbows with the big boys; start networking and building your own personal brand a long with your company. This is a time to let your creative energy flow. Join in the conversation. Be brave. Get out there.

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”

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About the author

Lyndi Thompson wrote 114 articles on this blog.

Online startup marketing strategy & solutions. Customer focused, high energy, creative & thankful. I love connecting good people to create great communities. New Mom. Fan of chocolate & the smell of horses.