by Jimmy Marks
Recently, Adele got a heaping helping of Grammys for her “21″ album. She had a great year, with a handful of hits that were all the rage on the radio. I was listening to those hits for months before they ever debuted, because my fiancée was a member of Adele’s online fan club. My fiancée is a big Adele fan. She got to see Adele live in a small DC night club before Adele was filling the Albert Hall with her crowds of screaming fans.
For being such a big fan, my fiancée received an email one fateful evening with a free download of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” in it. That’s right, the song you’ve been hearing non-stop for months? I’ve been hearing it much longer and much more frequently than you have.
Because of this, my fiancée told all her friends about the upcoming album. She bought the album for quite a few of them and she listened to it over and over and over…with one email, Adele’s label had turned the love of my life into Adele’s number one advocate.
Who do you love? Who loves you back?
Recently, we came across a blog post about the value of online communities. This post wasn’t necessarily talking about Facebook, Twitter or other social networks – it was more focused on user’s groups and customer portals set up by companies to help said companies test products and manage the brand.
Many companies use online portals that they open up to loyal customers. These customers aren’t paid for their input, but they are, in many cases, offered things other users/consumers wouldn’t be offered for their insight and input.
These communities can be very valuable. Creating portals for these communities can be very costly. So where do Facebook and other social networks come in?
We’ve seen quite a few financial institutions use their Facebook pages as:
- Focus Groups
- Community Bulletin Boards
- Help Desks
The feedback from loyal customers and members helps these institutions make decisions about which products to implement or change; what’s important with the customer base; and what technological issues need to be solved. That’s a lot of valuable information, and it can be had with a focused effort and thoughtful community management.
One thing about an online community, though – getting people to click on a “Like” button is one thing, but the truly dedicated in your online community are the people who take the time to write you, to respond to postings, and to take you up on offers. Give those people as much respect as they give you of their time. It can make a big difference.
Show the people who love you how much YOU love THEM. It’s a cycle that will turn social media from a noisy nuisance to a critical connection point for your best customers, members and clients.