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Creating a network of consumers


Groups of consumers can share information online and in-person.

Groups of consumers can share information online and in-person.

Businesses must recognize the value of each of their customers. A consumer can do more than purchase a product or service. Individuals that reach out to customer care centers provide important details about satisfaction and possible causes of frustration. A single customer might also influence large groups of potential buyers.

Some brands have found the benefits of connecting consumers to each other. When a company’s customers communicate, share information and pass on recommendations, they can become a source for cost-efficient and effective marketing. Businesses should look into using their customer relationship management solutions to link consumers and manage large groups of supporters.

The power of advocacy
Referrals are still one of the best ways to attract new customers, but the nature of referrals constantly changes. Instead of taking a friend aside and recommending a business, people jump online to provide advice to like minded consumers.

“People jump online to provide advice to like minded consumers.”

SearchEngineLand shared the results of a BrightLocal survey that found almost 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before working with a business, while 73 percent said positive reviews go a long way in convincing them a company is honest. The survey also found the number of customers who seek out online reviews grows consistently as platforms hosting public insights become more popular.

Consumers trust people who are just like them. When content about product or service quality comes from peers, it appeals to individuals with the same quality demands, finances and other purchasing requirements. It can also be a cost-efficient form of marketing, provided brands know where to find customer-generated materials.

Create a place to meet
One strategy for encouraging consumer connections is to host a place for them to interact. Businesses can make Facebook pages or other online meet  up locations that are easy to monitor. Many sites offer audience statistics so organizations can see exactly who joins the network and what they say.

Grouping consumers together should lead to more positive impressions. Forbes shared numerous examples of people who enjoyed things more when they experienced them with others. For example, Yale researchers found chocolate tastes better in social settings. Adding a social element to online consumer interactions provides consumers a chance to express what they love about a product or service and encourage others who feel similarly. Many businesses provide chances for consumer to talk to each other in physical locations and online.

There is a chance these network locations will attract people with negative perceptions. As long as the business monitors platforms, however, it can respond to critiques or questions before the audience starts adding to poor reception. Online networks can build positive support, and customer service agent involvement can stop negative momentum.

Monitor for similarities
Using social media solutions allows companies to supervise actions on their channels and third-party platforms. Anytime a company makes a major announcement, releases a new product or launches a marketing campaign, it should have tools in place to see how online groups feel about the development.

Businesses also have to recognize who speaks for online communities. Certain people on social media channels have large followings. Companies need to recognize popular social media users that share characteristics with their target audience. It’s also helpful to see what the online users who say positive things about a brand have in common. Knowing who likes a product or service and who holds influence over audiences allows companies to plan referral incentives around particular groups.

Keeping full visibility of public perception can be difficult. Maintaining control of public opinion by hosting consumer networks can be a good start, but a company may need more resources. Third-party customer service partners may provide social media centers that can focus on the communication demands of modern audiences while providing businesses with consumer data needed to make informed marketing and product design decisions.


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