Social Communities, interchangeably referred to as UCC’s (User Created Content Sites) are predominantly social hubs where people meet and interact; rekindle friendships or create new ones. When introduced to the internet the first time, online users did not see social communities becoming important marketing tools, but just another group of sites for fun-chats; in fact, they cater mostly to teens and young adults, and it was unlikely to imagine a tight-lipped businessman doing marketing on these social hubs.
MySpace, Facebook, Multiply, Hi5, Orkut and Friendster are some of the more popular social hubs on the internet that initially derived traffic from teens and the younger set of professionals who are in the lookout for friends, rather than clients. However, today that demographic is fast changing.
Businessmen saw the vast potential of social hubs for their sales campaign or product and service promotions. As millions of people interact on social communities everyday, getting into the mainstream for sales promotion while making friends seems to make a lot of sense. Here are some “rules of the game”:
- Avoid blatant sales promotion, lest you let the cat out of the bag too soon. Make friends genuinely; when you have built rapport, advertising your product or service becomes effortless;
- Avoid sneaky redirects and pop-ups on your community page as these will annoy rather than impress;
- Exert effort on your profile. Personalize it by adding your photo or creating your avatar. You can employ subtle advertising here by leaving a link to your website, your contact details, or display your company or product logo.
- Do not abuse chat rooms with obtrusive advertisement of your product or service. You may create a special room or group for this purpose where you invite your prospects or like-minded people who share your enthusiasm about a certain topic to join you.
- Share ideas rather than sell them. Most professionals do not like to be sold to, but they would appreciate ideas that can help them make up their minds to come up with a good choice.
- Engage in lively and informative conversations that provide subtle reference to your product or service. Create an authority image for a particular topic, which you can use to highlight your product or service when timing is ripe for it. Without appearing too eager to advertise or hold a sales campaign every time, online users will develop their respect on you, as you have shown respect to them, too.
Social communities are the fastest routes you can take to getting people discover your business, but not the easiest. As interaction is on a person to person level, you should have good people skills. Regardless of your product or service, and the risk you take in building connection, there is always a room for everyone in social communities; it’s just a matter of finding the right people to speak to about your offer.
Try a social community today, and discover how it can add value to your sales campaign. As you win friends, you gain prospects – definitely, not a bad deal.