4 Best Practices to Leverage Niche Social Networks for Conversions
"They're very similar to a Facebook group," she says. "Engineers can self-group based on geographic location, or product interest, or application area. So one thing that makes our company unique is that no one industry represents more than 15 percent of our revenue. So for us, it's really, really important that we connect like-minded engineers."
Ben Kiker, chief marketing officer of Portland, Ore.-based social business software provider Jive, points to an exclusive community created by online investment firm Charles Schwab. The firm decided to hone in on those making more than 36 trades a year or with more than $25,000 in assets to invest. "The way that they target active traders to join the community is they basically send them an e-mail that links back to a persona-based demo of what it would be like if you were in that community," Kiker says. Using the recurring theme of allowing traders to exchange tips and tricks with "people like you," Charles Schwab now has 10,000 active members of that invitation-only community who make 365 trades a year versus 200 trades a year from the active traders who aren't in the community, he says.
Integrate Channels and Disciplines
"We have built this virtual social media team, where we have representatives from the more traditional marketing functions like direct mail, events, public relations," Walsh says. "And their role is really twofold: It's to ... work on the ... social media projects ... [and] to evolve the more traditional marketing functions."
For instance, for a conference, members of the NI team will create direct mail pieces that provide information about how to follow updates on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the NI community.
All of the leads gathered during conferences receive e-mails inviting them to join a customized niche social networking group that's specific to the show they are attending. The pages, of course, include NI case studies and product information. "But they'll also see things like 'Check out all the demos that you just saw at that trade show. You can see the demo in a YouTube video, and then you can actually see a customized parts list of all of the NI products used in that demo,' " Walsh says. "So once there, then they can take the next activity and drive to the customized price list and then, hopefully, convert."