Word of mouth is the most powerful stamp of approval for any business. If a company goes out of its way to serve you, you sing their praises. If a company bombs in your view, you scream it from the rooftops.
Our personal opinions can be expressed on a global scale or on a micro-local scale, reaching hundreds if not thousands of people with a click of a button. This is scary and exciting, but if you educate yourself about our social driven culture and invest in it heavily, you will come out on top.
This is not a new phenomenon. The “new” aspect is how connected we are and how fast the information moves along what are now referred to as social and interest graphs. For example, when a new vehicle hits the market, those first purchasers are texting their opinions before the OEM even has a chance to kick their marketing efforts into full gear. The early adopters “like” it, or not, which sets the tone for the entire launch of the product.
The interest graph
The interest graph consists of the network of people who share interests, but don’t necessarily know each other personally. It offers powerful insight into who someone is as a person and allows others to instantly connect based on exactly the same interests, regardless of knowing them or not. I personally have very strong friendships across the Web with individuals I have met through my blogs, but that I’ve never met in “real life.” The strength of these relationships is rooted by our common interests and mutual life passions.
The ability to graph peoples’ interests allows them to tap into potential relationships that they might never have been exposed to. Before, a person could be in a room with five other people who love the same bikes as they do, but they’d never know. By mapping and connecting people’s interests, however, people can immediately identify those connections. As more companies begin to take advantage of the interest graph, people are more capable of connecting with like-minded people.
The social graph
The social graph is the representation of our relationships defining our personal, family or business communities on social channels; all of which are intertwined like never before. It is about people discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge about brands they care about and relate to in their personal lives.
A social graph allows us to see visually how our business’ social world is connected, which spurs conversation about us and with us at blinding speed. Vendors are talking to employees, customers are talking to bloggers and one another. Journalists have Twitter feeds and Facebook pages where they ask questions openly and directly. Are you listening?
How to utilize these graphs for your marketing efforts
Businesses can utilize the concept of social and interest graphs in a number of very powerful ways:
- Specials and discounts: Develop promotions on your most popular products to garner attention and expand your customer base.
- Targeted advertisements: Launch ads directed at particular customer group(s) to greatly increase the success rate when compared to general advertising.
- Product development: Interest graph data can be useful when it comes to developing new features or offerings for your customers; you will know precisely what your customers want and need.
- Email campaigns: You can turn wide and general email campaigns on smaller, more precise ones, increasing conversion rates.
All of these ideas are within your reach if you make a commitment to invest the time and budget into planning campaigns designed specifically for your customers. The days of spraying ads out there and seeing what sticks is over — it’s lazy marketing that produces lackluster results. If you want ROI — drive it yourself.
Award-winning blogger and CEO of Duo Web Solutions, Heather Blessington is a nationally-renowned speaker on social media marketing and a digital marketing veteran. Her company provides MPN monthly columns focused on best practices in Web marketing for powersports dealers.