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Research shows a third of businesses are filing away and ignoring customer queries that arrive on paper. Charlotte Marshall, Managing Director of Iron Mountain in the UK, wants to examine this problem and why the integration of paper and automated customer service management is such an issue for businesses today. By Charlotte Marshall.


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Optimising your social media campaign through e-communities

Filed under: All Articles > Industry News
By: NMK Created on: July 18th, 2011
Bookmark this article with: Delicious Digg StumbleUpon

This article looks at how the development of online communities (e-communities) can encourage meaningful two-way interface with the target audience and harness the full potential of social media (SM). By Chris Sullivan.

By Chris Sullivan

The advent of SM gives enterprises the opportunity to engage with their client base on a much more intimate level, opening up new lines of communication and affording greater interaction. However, though willing to spend heavily on such endeavours, few have seen notable return on their investment. Often this is because a company will simply jump on the SM bandwagon without first defining exactly what it wants to achieve. Instead it will apply the same sort of passive approach that worked for more traditional media channels.

So what does it take to build and sustain a successful SM presence? Doing it purely for vanity’s sake just isn’t enough. In fact, the relatively low barrier to entry involved and the unedited/unfiltered nature of the large volumes of material now being generated just serve to confuse matters – rather than being a blessing it can end up a curse. Simply blanket bombing your audience with trivial items will become an annoyance. Furthermore, the messaging coming via various SM tools should consistent.

e-communities are proving to be a powerful resource, underpinning the value of SM in both B2B and B2C spheres. These highly focussed platforms facilitate peer-to-peer dialogue and provide more fulfilling user experiences. They have the potential to offer enterprises a means for nurturing new prospects and addressing existing customers’ needs, however their creation should be approached in the right way.

A successful e-community must:

• Actually benefit its members, not merely promote an enterprise’s products/services. A subtle approach will pay dividends here, distilling greater advocacy amongst the community and in turn enhancing the brand.

• Produce compelling subject matter of real value to members - this is where a great deal of enterprises’ SM operations tend to fall apart. The more forward-thinking ones have moved away from the practice of simply filling their SM conduits with ‘background noise’. They have realised it is the quality of the content combined with ease of its availability that counts.

• Have a breadth of content - as different people will be attracted to different types.

• Offer some form of collaboration space where members can express their views and become involved in constructive discourse.

• Bolster its popularity by working with online forums/bloggers relating to specific topics and carry out social bookmarking campaigns. It should also utilise relevant Linked-in/Facebook user groups, Twitter, and SEO press release sites, in tandem with conventional media.

About the author

Chris Sullivan is Head of Global Solutions Marketing, Premier Farnell, element14. Chris joined the business at the beginning of 2011 and brought with him 20 years experience of the design automation, embedded systems and strategy consulting industries. In his current role Sullivan is responsible for the market definition and roll out of engineering design solutions that are helping to redefine the model of high service distribution. These engineering design solutions will become part of the core value proposition for element14 (see below more details).

About element14

Launched in June 2009, element14 is an information portal and eCommunity specifically built for electronic design engineers. It provides product data, design tools and technology information, whilst incorporating Web 2.0 functionality to facilitate communication, interaction, collaboration and information sharing between colleagues around the world. Users can consult experts, discover trends, post blogs, articles and comments in this world-wide forum. element14 attracts more than 24,000 visitors a week with new user profiles created each day.


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