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Communicating effectively with customers and delivering the right message to the right people has been one of the major challenges for any marketer since day one. Since early days of marketing, various forms of communication medium have been evolving with developments in technology as well as its consumers.
For a long time in the history of marketing communication, media remained the stronghold of newsmakers and advertisers and communication was mostly one way from the marketer to the reader. However, the trend of this inequality of voice was broken with the advent of the Internet and further developments within that medium itself.
Internet and Quantum Change in Media
The Internet brought about a sea change in the science and practice of mass communication and hence the process of marketing itself. But much before common users could take control of the content on the World Wide Web, the way we see it today, there was a time when content creation was the forte of those well-versed in HTML programming and web scripting languages. However, with the advent of services, such as blogs and social networking sites, the power of mass communication moved to the common user on the Internet.
Facebook – Front-Runner in Social Media Phenomenon
With 500 million users worldwide, and the numbers growing steeply, Facebook is emerging as one of the strongest mediums, with users getting totally involved in creating more and more content on the website. At any given point in time, millions of conversations take place, with precious customer-related information seeping through each of these, in the most natural way.
Customer Insight… Really
Even before the first television spot or a newspaper advertisement goes live, any company serious about its brand spends a great deal of effort and money on gathering information and insight into what their customers really want and how they seek to accomplish those needs. A lot of money is spent on brand research that delves into the awareness levels of the brand vis-a-vis competition.
This information can be readily accessed freely floating on a social networking platform, such as Facebook. All the answers that a brand may want to seek are hidden in the conversations happening through wall comments, photographs, tags, fan pages, and many such avenues through the same platform of Facebook.
All of this information is first hand, with honest responses.
Coming Face to Face With Customers
Users on Facebook form fan pages and groups pertaining to their interests and form conversations around topics and brands of their interests. Here are some tips with how a new age brand manager can keep a tab and also build his brand on Facebook.
Do a Brand search on Facebook – Conducting a search on Facebook with the terms related to your brand or that of your competition throws up results that include customers associating with the brand and various discussions, fan pages, where the brand features. Going through these conversations can reveal the opinion of the customers about your brand.
Creating a Fan page: If you are confident that your brand has the capability of attracting positive response and drawing fans, it is time you create a fan page for your brand and watch users “liking” the page and enroll for the same. The fan page can serve as an excellent platform to directly engage with customers and create a strong bond.
Create branded applications: Applications can range from entertaining games with your brand to useful tools related to your product.
The possibilities provided by Facebook to reach out to customers are endless, and all of this can be done at minimal cost with maximum impact. But while doing all of this as a marketer, you need to remember that the customer and you are on a level playing field, with both having equal opportunity to express. The customer is free to share his positive as well as negative experiences with your brand, which can influence other customers watching your brand carefully.
This is where you need dedicated efforts of professionals who understand the dynamics of the medium, which is very different from what conventional media marketers are generally used to. Facebook can hence help you come face to face with your customers. It becomes extremely important for you to know how this medium and conversations should be managed.
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