Monday, August 17, 2015

Social Media Collaboration
Campaigns for Software Developers

A well structured, well executed social media collaboration campaign might increase your software sales. Unfortunately, only ten percent of enterprise social collaboration campaigns succeed.

A couple of years ago, Anthony Bradley, a group VP at Gartner, studied campaigns across a variety of industries. "The underlying reason for the low success rate," Bradley explains, "is usually that the organization did not provide a compelling cause around which a community could form and be motivated to provide their time and knowledge."

To succeed, Bradley suggests, marketers need to develop a plan that will define the audience that they're trying to reach. In addition, marketers need to define the result that they're trying to achieve. If you can provide your target audience with a goal that they can support, they'll rally to your efforts on the various social media groups.

As with most social media marketing campaigns, it's not enough to develop a cute tag line and a so-so call-to-action message. Marketers, including software developers, need to figure out what's important to their target audience, and create a message that draws prospects in and makes them want to participate.

Your social media collaboration campaign can be launched on one of the huge social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook. Or you can run your campaign on a home-grown web page that you've built to encourage your stakeholders to participate in discussions about your product or service. Encourage your customers, prospects, friends, and suppliers to use your forum or newsgroup to talk about your business and its products.

You may be surprised to learn that your customers aren't using your software the way you thought they would be. In their book "What Were They Thinking?" authors Robert M. McMath and Thom Forbes found that the marketplace is full of surprises. When you launch a new product, you may find that your buyers aren't the people you thought would be your buyers.

For example, Kleenex was initially launched as a cold cream remover. Sales were not very impressive. But the Kimberly-Clark marketers found that people liked the idea of having disposable paper handkerchiefs, and they repositioned Kleenex. Since their repositioning, sales have been enormous.

Similarly, Liquid Downy was developed by Procter & Gamble (P&G) as a way to soften diapers. Before long, customers started using it to soften all of their washables. So P&G repositioned the product and sold quite a few bottles of Liquid Downy.

By creating a community for your customers and prospects to discuss your software, you can get them to share ideas about how your software can be used in the real world. And that could result in increased software sales.

In 2001, before the social media sites became the huge force in the marketplace that they are today, Faith Popcorn and Lys Marigold encouraged marketers to create a community for consumers. "Connecting your female consumers to each other," Popcorn and Marigold believe, "connects them to your brand."

The authors devoted a chapter of their book "EVEolution - Understanding Women - Eight Essential Truths that Work in Your Business and Your Life" to the topic of getting your female customers to connect with each other.

Women connect to other people - at home and in the workplace - better than men do, Popcorn and Marigold tell us. Take advantage of this by creating a brand that brings women together. The authors say that a brand can become the glue that connects women into communities.

The book cites a study that declares that women are three times more likely than men to recommend a brand to friends and colleagues. Help women connect to each other, and they can tell others about your software.

Popcorn and Marigold insist that they are not talking about word-of-mouth marketing or relationship marketing. This isn't about putting a simple "tell a friend about our software" link on your website.

It's about creating a genuine community around your brand. Weight Watchers did this. They transformed dieting from a private act to a public one.

Use the social media sites, or create your own website where people can discuss what they're worried about and passionate about. If the site is centered around your software brand, then you can get prospects and customers to join your brand.

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