Sunday 31 July 2011

How to Use Social Media for Marketing to Generate Ideas

Many social media tools are equipped with several features that make it easy to engage your fans and followers. These features, which include the ability to reply to an update on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter, as well as leave a comment on a blog or YouTube video, can inspire discussion. While these these discussions may often lead astray from the initial topic, they usually generate new ideas that can help shape and grow your business.

Facebook is one of the best ways to use social media to generate ideas. With Facebook, you can ask your fans and followers if they like a new product, what they think about a product, or what their opinion is about an emerging trend that affects your business or brand. You can then use this feedback to generate new ideas about the future direction of your services or product. Asking direct questions is the easiest way to do this, but you can also use Facebook’s built in poll generator to offer your fans a quick way to vote on or choose between various ideas or options. This is a great option if you have a few ideas in mind, and also want to engage your community.

Twitter can be used similarly to Facebook. Asking questions on Twitter tends to generate a much higher response rate than flat statements. Use this to your brand’s benefit and ask your followers what they think, and then respond with follow-up questions to each reply to get an even stronger understanding of their ideas. While you may not agree with the thoughts of your followers and fans, their opinions could inspire ideas of your own to apply to your brand’s strategy and product development.

Gathering comments from YouTube and your blog are also great uses of social media that can help generate ideas. While these comments can often be spam or detritus from “trolls” who do not contribute anything meaningful to the conversation, many other responses can provide valuable feedback. Engaging with these commenters can help narrow down either a demonstrated problem in your presentation or discussion, or inspire an entire new set of ideas. While moderating comments on both your blog and YouTube can be time-consuming, turning off the option to leave a comment can make your brand’s fans feel like they have no voice, which will turn them away. It may also prevent someone with a truly good idea from reaching you. Try not to take this route.

Social media provides great features for marketing to generate ideas. To take full advantage of these platforms, be sure you are engaging your fans and followers and listening to their opinions and thoughts to hear their ideas, and to inspire your own as well.

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