Thursday, December 30, 2010

Social Tips for 2011


Three Ways to Influence Your Influencers

"In simplest terms, businesses are no longer in complete control of their products, brands and messages," writes Susan Gunelius at "End-users are now in control." And those end-users are largely influenced by so-called prosumers—brand and product advocates who use blogs, social networks and forums to shape opinions.

"To stay competitive in this ever-changing environment," she says, "businesses must learn how to harness these forces to their advantage." And once you've identified your key influencers, Gunelius recommends that you take the following steps:

1. Join the online conversation. Find out where your advocates congregate and open a dialogue. "It takes time and persistence to get on the radar screens of prosumers," she notes, "so be sure to consistently participate and offer information and insights that add value to the conversation."

2. Develop relationships. You want to appear human and accessible to any customer you encounter online, but step it up for your prosumers. Send them products and ask for their opinions. Leave comments on blog posts. Send @ replies on Twitter. "Like" a status update on Facebook.

3. Avoid self-promotion or direct marketing. "If they have a relationship with you that is already built on trust and respect, and you don't try to sell to them, but rather offer products, information and insight for their consumption," she says, "they're more likely to value what you give to them and share it with their own audiences, particularly if they believe your product or business can benefit their audiences."

The Po!nt: Prosumers will talk about your product or service one way or the other—so give them the tools and incentives to deliver the message you want them to send.


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