Social marketing is a hot term right now, defined by Forrester as “the use of social tactics, media, tools and technologies across all components of the marketing mix: product, price, promotion, and placement.” Social marketing includes a wide variety of activities happening in social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as in online communities. Online communities are hubs where people with shared interests can communicate, get support and build relationships; they can be a company’s entire website or a specific section of the site.
Online communities take social networking beyond Twitter and Facebook and into an owned property that allows companies to connect with customers on a more individual level. In an online community, a company can control the customer experience in a whole new way. It can connect its customers to its employees and other customers, as well as provide them with content and support. And through the use of common social media applications such as wikis, forums, media galleries and more, businesses can create communities that help customers share and access information easily.
The culmination of all of these activities helps a company foster stronger customer relationships, augment awareness of the brand, build brand loyalty and increase sales efforts. Megan Yunker, vice president of marketing at Telligent, a provider of enterprise social software, identifies six use cases of social marketing that companies can apply to their social networks and online communities.
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