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Connecting With Customers and Communities

Posted by Christine B. Whittemore on Nov 15, 2011 9:48:00 AM

This is a 6 minute read.
Connecting With Customers and Community

Communities and the role they play in connecting with customers fascinates me. If you, as a business, have no connection with anyone in your community - think mail delivery person, UPS driver, bank representive, Church/Synagogue members, town council, store keepers - how can you connect with potential customers? And, yet, I see that pattern repeated frequently online.

Have you noticed the same?

My most recent reminder comes from the just updated Social Flooring Index, an analysis I started in August 2009 to monitor the social state of the flooring Industry, which I consider pre-digital, and not intuitively attuned to online collaboration and interaction, or elevating content conversations.

Using eCairn Conversation™, a social media monitoring, analysis and targeting platform, I map out the online flooring community, identify influencers and conversations, and monitor results. The ranking is based on relevance within the community [a function of traffic data, interaction with the community, followers and relevance to flooring].

The November 2011 Social Flooring Index series includes:

  • Social Flooring Index: Flooring Blogs November 2011
  • Networked Blogs: Social Flooring Index November 2011
  • Geography: Social Flooring Index November 2011]
  • Conversations:Social Flooring Index November 2011 

Overall, the flooring industry blogs included in the Social Flooring Index are not closely networked. In fact, if you removed the 18 high and medium influence blogs, the resulting blogs appear completely disconnected and in no way representative of a community.

In other words, the majority of flooring industry blogs created don't have a clue what it means to be part of an online community. Wow.

A few days ago, I asked on Twitter how important community was to those participating in social media. Arpi Nalbandian, editor of Tile Magazine and an influencer in the Social Floor Index responded "very". No surprise, she gets it!

Community

What I find perplexing is, why don't more in the floor covering industry? Why don't more realize that, by not being part of the community, they are diminishing their opportunities to connect with customers?

Although I'm picking on flooring [understandable given how intense the past few days have been finalizing the Social Flooring Index for November 2011], other industries are in the same boat.

So, how do we change this? How can we make the benefits of belonging to online communities more apparent and the losses from not being involved more obvious?

Here's additional food for thought to share: the level of conversations taking place within communities:

 

Blogs

Conversations

Weekly/Blog
Mobile/Technology 1,427 1,396,524 40.78
Auto 387 168,722 18.17
Travel 367 120,672 13.70
Retail Experience 437 137,089 13.07
Healthcare 994 235,950 9.89
Small Business 567 123,891 9.10
Social Media/Content Marketing 1,413 214,250 6.32
Architects 510 69,124 5.65
Beauty 2,414 259,119 4.47
Interior Design 2,142 195,041 3.79
Mommies 8,790 684,151 3.24
Food 5,985 408,213 2.84
Social Flooring Index 190 8,174 1.79

and also the level of involvement beyond the blog and with other social networks:

 

Twitter %

Facebook Page %

Facebook %

LinkedIn %

Mobile/Technology 51% 30% 5% 6%
Auto 54% 42% 7% 2%
Travel 65% 52% 8% 9%
Retail Experience 64% 37% 8% 16%
Healthcare 50% 26% 6% 7%
Small Business 66% 42% 10% 17%
Social Media/Content Marketing 60% 27% 18% 32%
Architects 45% 28% 5% 5%
Beauty 43% 28% 9% 1%
Interior Design 45% 38% 8% 2%
Mommies 48% 33% 12% 4%
Food 38% 29% 6% 1%
Social Flooring Index 52% 41% 7% 4%

What are you reactions?

To be fair, more conversations does not necessarily mean more connection. The Mobile/Technology community tends to be intensely focused on producing late-breaking content at a frenetic pace, without a great deal of interaction. Most of those blog owners tend to be hard to contact directly. They publish, but don't necessarily engage.

I'm surpised to see Facebook profiles promoted on blogs [that's my bias: I consider Facebook personal profiles -well - personal] whereas LinkedIn profiles are not.

Twitter profiles are the easiest of the networks to establish a profile on. How surprising, though, that the Food community has the lowest Twitter percentage!

I welcome your interpretation...

Thanks for reading!

Best,

C.B.

 

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Note: Tables created using Tableizer

Image credit: Involvement.co.UK

Topics: Blogging, B2B Social Media

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