How Social Conversations Uphold Your Influence

With over 600 million users on Facebook and consumers spending more time on social platforms, brands are now using these channels to connect and engage with customers in the hope of influencing their purchasing decisions.

But not everyone is happy about this.

Fear

As we speak many business executives around the globe are quaking in their boots at the thought of losing control of the conversation or exposing their company’s soft under-belly.

Unfortunately for them the business opportunity in social media is no longer in question. That ship has sailed. The challenge for them is to create a social business model that aligns with their organizational values in order to capitalize on the reality of today’s market place.

Opportunity

They can learn a lot from American Express – OPEN Forum for example is an online resource and social networking hub for small business owners and entrepreneurs to communicate and share ideas with one another.

The fact that American Express – a highly regulated financial services company – has not shied away from reaping the benefits of social conversations, is an important lesson for undecided brands. Every day through OPEN Forum they connect, engage and influence potential customers without openly discussing their product.

Wells Fargo is another pioneer in the arena of regulated industries and social media. Their blog too treads lightly on their product and instead focuses on connecting, communicating and solving customers’ problems.

The new market place

Social conversations have created a permanent change in the way companies do business. And every industry must take note – whether you’re selling to consumers or to other businesses – in retail, financial services, technology, health care and even government.

At first this will not be an easy jump. There will be many threats for sure and things will happen quickly.

But “…the first step is to dip your toe. Once you’ve done that you can begin to see where your company can, potentially gain some advantage.” ~ ‘Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies’, by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff

Over to you: How will you take advantage of social conversations to influence your customers?

Why You Should Publish ‘Other People’s Content’ (part 2 of 2)

As I pointed out in the previous article, curation is about blending your original content with carefully selected third-party content and presenting it in a way that is meaningful and appealing to your audience.

It is a much needed service in a world where readers are drowning in information. As Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics points out, curators are distribution agents for creators helping them to put relevant content in front of the right audience.

But don’t get me wrong. At some point you must create and publish original content if you want people to take you seriously. That’s how thought-leadership is established.

In the meantime however, there are real business benefits associated with content curation:

  • Brand visibility: Organizations that are new in the publishing arena may use curated content to quickly ‘catch up’ and stock  their own digital assets. This helps to improve organic search rankings as well as elevating industry awareness of their brand.
  • Reputation building as a destination point for specific subject-matter content.
  • Lead nurturing is facilitated when organizations use content to maintain engagement with prospects throughout the sales-cycle
  • SEO and increased traffic: B2B readership is increased through skillfully curated content residing in corporate blogs.
  • Achieve consistent relevance: In order to stay relevant organizations need to produce valuable content on a regular basis. Yet one of the major challenges they face is producing enough content. Curation helps organizations to stay relevant by providing an inexhaustible resource of valuable information.

Brands that want to win over consumers understand that there is a need to present well-organized information on the web. Consumers are struggling with short attention spans. They don’t have time to sift through mountains of content.

It is clear that the role of content curator is more important than ever before. Someone must restore order on the internet. Organizations that do so most effectively will command the largest audience.

Do you think content curation might help to achieve significant businesses benefits?