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Recently, Facebook rolled out a refreshed version of its Comments Box social plugin.
The free plugin makes it easy for publishers to add Facebook-themed commenting functionality to their websites. And it gives Facebook yet another hook into the web that exists outside its walled garden.
One of the key benefits of social media is the ability to create dynamic, long lasting relationships with customers. Creating a useful community can really add value to a brand or product and greatly increase return business.
If you have a community that’s both inviting and interesting to a customer then you’ll develop a stronger bond with them and have the opportunity to reduce sales cycles.
However, in order to benefit from this you’ll need to implement some solid management strategy.
The internet is littered with empty forums and half-formed Ning groups, so here are a few universal rules that will help you grow a successful, useful online community whether it’s for a blog, forum or dedicated network:
A large chunk of any online marketer's time is spent on engagement. Engaging bloggers and sites to chat about your content, to check out your products and if you prove valuable enough, sign up for a glittering platinum subscription.
If we receive a conversion, we can be pretty sure that our new member is actively engaged with the site right? You want to engage visitors, have them convert, or at least stick around on a semi-regular basis. It’s all about traffic numbers.
One of the largest problems online however, is that we still don’t have a cut and dried method for measuring engagement.
I love to see brands generating innovative, engaging and creative advertising online. Yet, I’m always surprised at how little effort companies put into Facebook from a creative perspective, especially given the noise they make about using the platform and the levels of engagement often put in.
Arguably, Facebook does have a static format that needs changing, but it’s not that difficult – or expensive – to come up with some great landing page manipulation through Facebook Markup Language (FBML)... And some brands are taking advantage of this, to great effect.
Here are a few examples from our How to Create Amazing Facebook Pages guide...
Although 90% of tech brands have a presence on at least two social networks, they are failing to make the most of opportunities for customer engagement, with many failing to respond to tweets and comments.
Wildfire's 'Putting the 'social' back into social media' report looks into the social media activity of the Deloitte Fast Tech 50, finding that not enough brands are having two-way conversations with followers.
Mel Carson is well known across the digital industry as Microsoft Advertising’s Community Manager, although he also takes on dozens of related responsibilities.
Following his five-year tenancy with the technology giant, Econsultancy caught up with him to discuss the ins and outs of successfully setting up and running an online community, the real costs involved and the resources needed.
He’s also generously offered to buy all of our readers refreshing alcoholic beverages...
While many companies are now seeing the social light and jumping on board with Twitter, Facebook et al, there’s still a temptation to set up your account and start pumping out updates straight away.
While there is a need for some of this as you grow an initial audience, the thing that will really make a social media presence successful is your ability to listen and take on board what people are saying about your brand.
In order to do this properly you’ll need to set aside time for detailed monitoring. Unfortunately one of social media’s biggest bonuses is immediacy, something which can make knowing how and what to monitor confusing.
There’s an awful lot of electronic chatter out there so how do you listen?
Customer engagement is worth going after in a big way, according to
Econsultancy’s research. Engaged customers tend to stick around for
longer, buy more often and refer your brand to their friends. What’s not
As such a focus on engagement is both smart and necessary. We no longer live in a broadcast world, but in a world where listening, reacting and providing great service are essential if you really care about your customers.
In my view the key to a winning customer engagement strategy is to make it like a game, where points make prizes. The more the customer plays, the more the customer can win. And customers / users should be made aware of this. But what are the prizes?
A couple of weeks ago I posted a piece on the rules of email engagement, very much laying out fairly broad thoughts on the subject.
Now I want to follow up with a more pointed ‘plan’ that, if followed, will ensure a virtuous spiral of engagement and increased ROI...
Bulk email is dead. OK, some people might still be doing it, but does that mean it works as well as it could? Just look in your own junk folder to find the many emails you have opted into but no longer reach your inbox.
So why is bulk email on the way out? Well, let’s consider what the top three email ISPs have to say...
Imagine for a moment that you're the CEO of American Airlines (AA). A customer named Dustin Curtis comes to the conclusion that your website sucks after booking a flight on it and finding the process to be a "horrific displeasure".
A UX designer by trade, Curtis takes it upon himself to redesign your website's homepage and provide some suggestions. All at no cost, of course. He publishes this as a blog post that begins, "Dear AmericanAirlines". Shortly thereafter, the UX designer receives an email from an AA employee who does UX design for your company.
Social media measurement is something that I think should be undertaken with a sense of perspective, by standing back and looking at the big picture.
A widescreen approach to social media measurement ultimately looks at the things that really matter: sales, profits, customer satisfaction and loyalty. Besides, honing in on the detail might not be the best use of your time, given the obvious difficulties that arise, particularly with attribution.
But standing back and looking at the bigger picture is not going to be enough for your data-mad boss, is it? It’s a bit too soft focus, right? He or she is going to want to see proof that all this social optimisation is actually working.
If that’s the case, then don’t worry: there are lots of things you can measure...