What do ModCloth, Playstation, Harley Davidson, and Lego all have in common?
They are just a few of several brands that have successfully created social networks around the products that they sell.
While each approached the process differently, all were successful. This is because they created communities and experiences that are tailored to their audience members.
If you have a product that is generating excitement and enthusiasm, it might be time to create your own social network too. Here’s why.
It Can be Used as a Very Dedicated Marketing Channel
When someone joins your social network, you know at least one thing about them.
They are interested or enthusiastic enough about your product that they are willing to become part of a community built around it.
If they aren’t an owner/user yet, you can bet they are pretty deep into the sales funnel. If they do own your product, they are a prime target for offers such as upgrades, accessories, or other complementary products.
Because of this your marketing efforts on your social network can be very direct, very dedicated and offer great conversions.
It Provides Opportunities For VIP Customer Service
Once they join, your community members will have plenty of questions, comments, and concerns. Many of these may be more advanced and in-depth than what you see through your other customer service channels.
This is a challenge, but also an opportunity.
You can use your network to curate a higher level of customer service. This can be accomplished via question and answer sessions, how to videos, and by allowing experts to act as community leaders and moderators. These experts can be product enthusiasts who have demonstrated superior knowledge of your product, and members of your team such as product designers.
You Can Drive More Traffic to Your Site And Landing Pages
If you choose to host your social network on your website, you’ll get the SEO boost of more traffic. From there, users are much more likely to click into other pages and visit your landing pages.
Of course, there are also benefits if you go offsite to host your product based social forums. Links to product information, special offers, and landing pages are much more likely to be well-received by your members. After all, they’ve already established that they are interested and that is one the reasons for your social network to go viral.
There Are Multiple Options For Pulling This Off
Your product social network can be as simple or as complex and involved as you like. On the easy and low maintenance end of the scale would be doing something as simple as creating a private group on Facebook or creating a subreddit on Reddit dedicated to your product/brand.
Your more dedicated options include hosting user forums on your own website or creating an entire social networking site around your product. In fact, the latter option isn’t as complex as you may think. A social network builder like Ning allows you to create a social media site using drag and drop functionality.
It’s a Great Way to Gain Customer Insights And Data
There are unlimited ways to gain insights from your customers. You can read the reviews they leave on Amazon and other sites. You can mine data that you collect from Google Analytics. You can even set up alerts on your company name and products so that you know when you’re trending. There are also surveys and other instruments for gaining insights.
These are all valuable, but the insights and data you receive through your own personal network can be quite powerful. Let’s start with member profiles. Depending on the information you are able to collect you may have access to demographic information, location data, interests, and preferences. This is information that is heaven to your marketing team.
Finally, by participating in or even simply watching the customer engagement that happens, you can gain insights into what customers like, what they dislike, and what they’d like to see in the future. You’ll also be able to identify potential brand ambassadors and power users.
You’ll Generate Plenty of Longtail Keywords Organically
Take a look at any product forum. Chances are the initial post in each thread contains a great long tail keyword. For example, a car forum might contain posts with longtail keywords such as:
- Where do I find a replacement rocker arm for my Mustang?
- Are there any Corvette shows in the Seattle area in 2017?
- Announcement: The Newest Ford Truck Lift Kit Will be Available Next Month
The SEO benefits of this are amazing. Plus, you’ll continually get the attention of search engine spiders thanks to the continued onslaught of fresh content.
When people are excited about a product, they will inevitably find one another online, and create discussions about that product. By creating a social network based on your product you get to control that experience, participate in the conversations, and take advantage of all the opportunities that comes with your efforts.