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Using Social Media to Generate New-Product Ideas and Innovations

7 Nov

by Susan Lowe

Benefits of Using Social Media for New Product Ideas and Innovations

Social media can be an ideal method for your business to collect information from customers for new product ideas and testing those ideas because of its mass reach and speed at which information is shared.  Companies that are using social media for new product innovation are realizing real business benefits, according to research done by Kalypso.  These benefits include more and better product ideas and requirements, faster time to market and lower product costs.

Traditional methods used for gathering data and researching customers’ needs can be very costly.   Social media has the potential to provide better quality information at much less cost.

How Companies are using Social Media to Generate Product Ideas 

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, Wikis and Public and Private communities are being used today in a variety of ways to learn what customers think of existing products and for new product ideas.

Community chat rooms and Twitter are used by companies to listen to what customers are saying about their products. On LinkedIn groups are asked questions about a company’s product or service and group members’ responses are then monitored. Companies are testing new product concepts on Facebook and Twitter by polling fans to rank or choose their favorites from a list of choices.  Customers are asked to share their comments about a product, they watched on a YouTube video.

Your target audience and what information you want to collect will determine which social media and the best method (questions, poll, survey, listening, comments) to use.

Recommendations when Using Social Media to Generate New-Product Ideas and Innovations:

  1. Define your social media strategy for product innovation.  It should tie in with your overall product innovation strategy and broader social media strategy.
  2. Pull together a cross functional team that may include stakeholders from management, engineering, customer service, marketing and product management.  If possible, include someone from your company that knows social media.
  3. Choose a team leader to champion the effort.
  4. Set Goals. Determine what it is you want to accomplish.
  5. Develop a Plan.  Remember to determine your target audience(s) and what social media sites they engage. This will help you decide which social media to include in your plan.
  6. Define the Processes.  Determine before you begin, how will the information be collected, shared, and analyzed and what you will do with the results.
  7. Test it.  Before jumping in with both feet, consider starting out with a pilot program.
  8. Confirm the program is on track.  Meet often to review interim findings.
  9. Measure. Did you meet the goals?  Look at what worked right and what did not. Take your learnings from the pilot and make any necessary adjustments.
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Harness the Power of LinkedIn for B2B Lead Generation

31 Oct

by Susan Lowe

If you want to get more from your social media marketing, look at including LinkedIn in your mix. LinkedIn is the social media site for business professionals.  Members total over 120M (million) that includes 12M small business professionals, 5.5M high tech managers, 2M C-level executives, and 1.3M small business owners.  You can be very granular when choosing your audience on LinkedIn. The site allows social media marketers to target key decision makers by specific industry, company size, geography, job function and other demographics.

Advertise on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Advertising is a great way to generate leads and grow your audience. LinkedIn offers several options when choosing the type of ad to run.  You can run a text only banner that runs across the top of the LinkedIn page of your chosen targets.  The other option is a text and image ad that again runs on the pages of your chosen LinkedIn targets.  Both have limits to the amount of characters you can include but, LinkedIn provides best practices to help you get the most from your ad. Provide your company URL to direct viewers to your website.  You may direct them to a special promotion on your website and a form to gather contact information.

Run a Promotion on LinkedIn to Grow Your Audience

In addition to advertising offered by LinkedIn, certified applications are available to help promote your brand and grow your audience through the LinkedIn network. One of these applications is Wildfire.  Wildfire allows companies to integrate branded interactive campaigns like sweepstakes, contests and give-aways with LinkedIn and it integrates with social media site Facebook and Twitter.

Ready to Go 

The nice thing about Wildfire is it provides several ‘out-of-the-box’ tools that can get your promotion up and running on LinkedIn in about four weeks.  And the app has several priced options to suit a small or large budget.  The app includes an ad for your company profile page (if you don’t have a LinkedIn company page – make sure to get one), a Microsite, a form to gather entrants contact information and a landing page for sharing.  You provide the content. Make sure to purchase the option that provides entrants data for your future engagements.

Combine a LinkedIn Ad with a Promotion for Greater Results

Run your promotion in combination with a LinkedIn advertisement to drive traffic to the Microsite. Place the ad in specific areas of the LinkedIn site to target your audience.  You can also use your website and current contact lists (newsletters and other marketing activities) to invite participation in your LinkedIn promotion. Entrants are able to share your promotion with their contacts and groups on their LinkedIn network or via email.  This is why social networks like LinkedIn help you grow qualified leads quickly.

Keys to Successfully Generating Leads Using LinkedIn

1- Strategy – Consider how your LinkedIn activities support your overall social media strategy.

2- Set up a LinkedIn Company Profile – if you don’t already have one.

3- Define your audience.  Remember LinkedIn allows you to very specifically define the target audience.

4-  Set your objectives and goals.  Decide what results you want to achieve from your LinkedIn activity. Include the kind of information you want to obtain from the entrants.

5- Plan and Tactics- Determine the right activities to generate the results you want with your target.  Is it a LinkedIn ad, a coupon, a giveaway or a combination?  Provide something of value in return for participation in the promotion. Remember in social media – it is  better to give then to receive. Don’t forget to include a definitive start and end date as a call to act.

6- Measure- Once your ad or promotion has ended determine how well it did in accomplishing the objectives and goals.

Additional Resources
Finding Your Way Through the Social Media Maze, White Paper

 

Is Social Media the Right Choice for Your Business?

3 Oct

By Susan Lowe

There is no denying that social media is the biggest thing to happen to marketing since the Internet.  Businesses are trying to figure out how to effectively be a part of this game changing phenomenon.  A friend and I were talking the other day about one of her clients who believed their company needed a presence on Facebook. When the client asked for her help, she recommended they focus their marketing activities in other areas.

Why? Facebook has over 800 million active users and plays an important role in many of the largest corporations’ marketing efforts.  For my friend’s client, a B2B supplier in a specialized industry, Facebook isn’t the best fit to reach their target customers and to meet their business objectives.  So, how do you know if  social media is the right choice for your business?

Start with a marketing plan.  A good marketing plan includes your business goals and objectives and which marketing activities can help you achieve them.

Here are a few basic elements that should be included in your marketing plan;

  1. Your business goals and objectives.
  2. Your target customers.
  3. The marketing activities that support those goals and objectives with your target customers.
  4. Your budget.

Determine if social media can further your business goals and objectives.  Is social media an effective use of your budget and resources compared to other marketing tools?  Answering these questions when developing your marketing plan will help you decide if social media is the right choice for your business.

Additional Resources
Finding Your Way Through the Social Media Maze, White Paper

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