6 tips on building an online community you can do right NOW.
Our #prwebchat with Janet Aronica proved to one of our most fun this week as we talked about building communities online. Janet is the community manager for OneForty, the social business hub and a buyer’s guide for social media tools. In addition to being a community manager for OneForty, Janet also blogs about social media, community and tech at Social Rant. Prior to her current position, she served as a social media consultant.
Social media’s role in business is increasing everyday—but we need to know how to use it correctly for great results. So what did we learn?
SA: Why is it important to use social media as a customer service platform?
JA: Because you’re responding to brand mentions and questions, customer service is HUGE in social media and community management. You lead by serving. Some great examples of customer service on Twitter are @zappos_service & @wegmans.
SA: What are your top 5 tools for managing multiple social media accounts online?
JA: Tough to pick just 5 because I’m a junkie with this stuff. All the tools I use are in this Toolkit. My favorite tools include: @raventools @performable @cotweet @tweetdeck @crowdbooster@tweetreachapp and @bufferapp. Some of my favorite FREE tools are @twilert @twoolr and @tweetdeck. I also just wrote this really geeky blog post about tools from a panel.
SA: How much time should we spend on social media for our business?
JA: Ideally in the future I think social media is a holistic thing that each department contributes to so it scales better. See @jowyang’s post: http://bit.ly/dUstCV. Spend as much time as you can, commit to and keep up with it. Don’t start a blog, blog every day and build expectations then drop it. That’s why listening is so important. Identify where your customers are and focus on those platforms. Prioritize your time that way.
SA: How do you find your target audience online?
JA: Set up search terms and Google alerts for your industry and competitors. Use Listorious to find Twitter lists of people by topic. See what your audience is talking about/reading/doing. Subscribe to the blogs they read and organize that stuff with Google Reader folders. Look in Google Analytics at traffic sources. See where your audience comes from… literally. We use @performable to see where people come from that perform conversions we want them to do, like make a profile on @oneforty. One thing though… as a soc media marketers, PLEASE think beyond finding Twitter followers…. think about finding the Twitter followers who go to your site and buy things, as well as ROI (return on investment).
SA: Is social media good for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? How?
JA: YES it is important! @seomoz is an AWESOME SEO blog/community with tons of information on social search. But basically Tweets of a URL help boost its rankings in Google. Most of all, sharing links to your blog and site on Twitter and FB increase awareness. So those links get passed around more, get read more and more likely to get linked to. All of that boosts ranking.
SA: Should we keep community management in-house or outsource? Should it be the PR or marketing dept?
JA: I think it depends on the size of the brand. For startups I think a community manager should be the first marketing hire. But I can see why bigger brands outsource to social media agencies to scale their efforts. But having someone in-house around the business each day helps them to be a unique voice of the biz when running a Twitter acct. A good example of this is @ICOBar.
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