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Social Networking in Businesses

Essay by   •  April 26, 2011  •  Essay  •  468 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,593 Views

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SUMMARY OF ARTICLE

Customers or would be customers can become more informed about a product, share any possible concerns with the product, what's good & bad, and what can be done to make it better. However, the problem with online is that it's divided into two categories, 'haves' and 'have-nots'. The 'haves' are the sites where visitors spend their time sharing ideas with each other and just talk about the product or company. Through this companies can receive insightful feedback about the product and are able to create strengthening bonds between the product makers and consumers. The 'have-nots' sites, ran but companies themselves mostly, discuss primarily the product, and offer only a few ways to interact, which makes many visitors not want to return, ever.

Enthusiast and customers of the brands and products run the successful communities. A well-designed brand community can be used to conduct marketing research, generate and test ideas for product innovations, deliver high quality customer service, strengthen the bond with existing customers and new ones through word of mouth.

Article goes on to discuss four ways to turn a tired brand community into a powerful market research lab. One way is to stop controlling everything. Most communities, run by companies, host discussions about products and services mainly. For example, Ford Motors Co., has a brand community, syncmyride.com, for its Sync product and it limits discussions on the message board to Sync itself. No one can discuss anything else but that. The article argues that allowing discussions, feedback both positive & negative, and activities like networking and socializing leads consumers to come to the site for many reasons, emotional and social. It keeps them coming and creates a bond between them and the company.

Another way is to welcome diversity. Many company-run communities look for visitors who fit the profile of the brand or product, but in doing so a company prevents itself from discovering attractive new market segments. Also, when the community contains members who are like, then they tend to think alike, which will not provide a creative and innovative atmosphere needed for all communities.

The third way is to give visitors ways of interacting. Many communities don't allow visitors to communicate with each other. Allowing visitors the opportunity to talk, joke, flirt, or whatever, makes them feel that they part of something important and special.

The fourth way is if you can't be like the fan sites, at least monitor and support them. But systematically tracking and engaging these communities opens up a host of potential benefits for companies. Not only will marketers gain access to some of their most devoted and influential fans here, but they will also find more ideas for innovations; sharper criticisms of existing product problems,

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