Community = Opportunity. But don't blow it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012 — by Ted Novak

Your customers are people, and people are using the online channels to casually communicate on a daily basis. Many digital strategies focus on "attracting customers", but aren't we really talking about "engaging people"?

While SEO, PPC, Banners, Squeeze Pages and various other digital marketing strategies can multiply the size of your business and have huge ROI, there are other conversations going on online besides customers looking for products and services.  As technology has become more accessible and easier to use, it is becoming less and less of a "tool", and more of a "behavior".  Businesses need to realize that people will make their own choices on how to use digital media and ultimately engage your brand, be it through a search engine, mobile device, or through one of the various social communities.

The opportunity is to have a presence where the conversations are happening. 

A common mistake in this approach is abusing it.  Remember, it's a conversation you are trying to enter... nobody likes a loud mouth who interrupts and won't shut up!  Just like the rude person at the office, come on too strong and you'll quickly train people to ignore you at which point the opportunity is lost.

Instead, you need to bring something to the conversation that will naturally inspire engagement.  You are pushing product and services into a conversation you weren't meant to be in, and people did not expect to see you in.  Respect that and your chances for leveraging online communities will increase dramatically.

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