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Elaine Feeney President & CEO Wayin

How can brands bring the social conversation to their own turf?

A recent Forrester report recommended that companies shift their focus away from third-party platforms, opting for their own branded communities instead. Following the established model no longer yields the same return on investment, so marketers must add more to their repertoire to maintain notable social media engagement.

Instead of going through the familiar motions, marketers are taking Forrester’s suggestion and supplementing third-party sites with their own microsites.

Don’t Add To The Noise
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are powerful tools for online engagement. However, the space often becomes loud and cluttered, making it challenging for messages to stand out. It’s nearly impossible to know what is going to go viral and what is going to go virtually unnoticed. It’s especially tough for brands as platforms are increasingly becoming a pay-to-play environment.

The Forrester report found that the average Facebook and Twitter posts only reach 2% of fans, with only .01% of those viewers actually engaging with the posts. Despite the low figures, these conversations are valuable and relevant, so don’t throw in the towel quite yet.

Instead drive the engagement to a space that allows them to stand out and be recognized by your target audience: your Web site.

Keep The Conversation Where It Counts
As marketers, we spend much of our time focused on how to drive our target audience to our Web site. Web site traffic is the most effective way to analyze where customers come from, what pages they view, how much time they spend on each page, and if they make a purchase. The Web site is key to measuring marketing success, so ultimately that’s where we want to steer our customers and take the opportunity to build a deeper relationship with them.

On the other hand, there is immense value in engaging with our customers beyond the point of sale. Third-party social media sites facilitate that well. Engaging on such sites and directing the conversation to an owned site, be it a micro- site within a brand’s larger Web site or an entirely separate community, effectively combines the two, gathering information about our audience while also building deeper connections and providing a more worthwhile experience.

Your message is much more powerful if you use keywords and hashtags to organize the conversation within a single owned community, rather than fragmenting it across platforms. 

Elaine Feeney, CEO, Wayin

Build Your Own Community
Owned social media sites provide more freedom to build an engaged and informed online community. Incorporating a microsite or separate community platform positions the brand as a trusted industry expert, providing valuable insight, trend analysis, and additional resources. The message is not lost in the clutter, as is the risk with third-party social media sites, resulting in deeper and more compelling conversations.

For example, when marketing a new product, much of the buzz generated around the brand will be through social media, yet you are trying to sell a product that is purchased through the brand’s Web site.

Your message is much more powerful if you use keywords and hashtags to organize the conversation within a single owned community, rather than fragmenting it across platforms. This strategy filters out the noise, provides a cohesive brand message, and visually displays the entire conversation surrounding the brand. Gathering all relevant content and positioning in the proper context quickly delivers the message in a format that provides richer value to both the consumer and the brand.