4 Best Practices to Leverage Niche Social Networks for Conversions
Moving outside of its network, NI updates its pages on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube because the company wants to "play where our customers play, and then re-engage them," Walsh says.
To that end, NI also seeks out those blogging about it and tries to connect with them through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. "Embracing all of the other things and integrating them in will make your community really successful," she says.
NI also ensures the network lives outside static Web pages. "Every month people ... see 'From engineer-to-engineer,' " she says of the e-newsletter feature. "Real content, real code, real discussions, real blog posts, real applications."
Listen First, Then Engage
With forum discussion titles like "Dynamic Signal Acquisition," the NI Developer Zone support community is a product-oriented network that is integrated into the company's infrastructure. While Walsh says this community provides peer-to-peer support half the time, an NI engineer steps in and answers unsolved questions after 48 hours.
On the zone's more "energized community" side—the area of the social network that Jive helped create—Walsh says NI's input depends on the group. Some are self-sustaining. For instance, a geographic-based group might need only a local salesperson to answer a specific product question. "But we're not going in there and pushing a whole lot of marketing messages," Walsh says. At the most, NI may insert itself in more specific niches, such as medical or robotics groups, and provide links to new products with a request that the community evaluate it and provide feedback.
Kiker says similarly, other clients come up with unique ways to engage customers. "I think one of the great ways to drive conversion is to get the power of the community involved in whatever you're doing," he says, citing a photo contest for members of the Intercontinental Hotels Group's Priority Club Rewards loyalty program. IHG experienced a 24 percent uptick in e-mails-to-bookings after incenting club members with rewards points for taking pictures of their 10 top dream destinations, which they'd had the good fortune to actually visit. Then the hotel group used the images in direct marketing campaigns for its new hotels.