Search Marketing: Creating your ‘Online Community’

February 9, 2012 - Digital State Marketing

Search marketing is being used by many companies in order to optimise their social media and online community. Community is now one of the buzz words in politics and business and the ‘Online Community’ is a phrase often used, implying incorrectly that everyone who uses the internet is somehow in some form of communicative relationship together. The vagueness and sheer overwhelming size of this ‘community’ coupled with the lack of certainty about the best route in has meant that some businesses have completely ignored the many benefits of exploring it thoroughly whilst others have spread themselves too thinly.

Many companies are waking up to the need for something more than just a static website and the obvious routes of twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and so on can be very tempting. Everyone else is tweeting; it’s in vogue, it must be done. But have you chosen the right channel for your business?

Many professionals in the search marketing industry believe that the best way to rationalise your online community plan is to ask a few simple questions of your current offering and also of your expectations. What are your current communication channels? Can these be used more effectively? Why do you wish to connect with people? Is it for recommendations, endorsement or simply for new sales? How will you maintain this relationship? Who within your business will establish and run your social media campaign?

As is often the case, it takes a careful balance of many different elements of the available media in order to create the most powerful campaign message. You may need to invest more time in keeping your website not only up to date, but moving forward and continuing to meet consumer demands. You may need to focus on data capture so that you can communicate effectively with your whole client base, as well as being able to differentiate between their different wants and needs for more finely tuned messages.

You may want to investigate social media. The only warning that comes with this is to be discerning about the appropriateness of the formats you select. For example, if you are in agricultural chemical business, your audience is less likely to follow you on twitter than if you are selling wholesale foods to delicatessens. There are various industry/sector-preferred sites and applications, so research is key and using a search marketing expert at this point is advisable.

Give and take is crucial in the ‘online community’. You are going to be forming an online conversation which can be directed according to the results you require. Do you want to increase sales? Gather product feedback? Gain information about your competitors? Explore new markets? Recall a product? Launch a product? The information you give out in order to answer any of these questions will of course have to be different and be representative of a different area of your company and perhaps show a different side to your corporate persona.

Building up an online following is undoubtedly far quicker than building up a physical, local community. The same social rules do apply however. Slow and steady wins the race and building up a coherent, meaningful online community over a period of months is far more useful than simply having 3,500 friends on Facebook. Use a professional search marketing company that understands social media and is going to make the right impression first time, at the Digital State Marketing we offer a range of search marketing services such as social media, search engine optimisation and pay per click campaigns.