11 Crucial Niche Social Network Rules for Building Product Marketers – Part 1

27 Mar

Think of These Networks Like a Coffee Shop or Bar for the Trade

It’s not enough just to be there – here are 6 tips to help maximize your opportunity, and we’ll post 5 more later this week!

In an earlier post, I talked about the potential value of niche social networks versus Facebook and other consumer-focused ones. Now I’d like to offer some tips for the things to do (and not to do!) when participating in a niche social network as a manufacturer.

    1. DO your prep work. Look around the network to see what other manufacturers are doing already. Talk to the site owner and/or administrator about their network and how your company might become a valuable member of it.
    2. DO create an account that clearly states what company is represented, and the person from the company that manages the account. Some companies have created accounts that look like a personal one, to give the appearance of a peer to other site members. That type of strategy is deceitful and is usually discovered by members of the site, and ends up giving the company a black eye in the end. A great example from Magna-Matic, a company in the lawn maintenance trade, is below. You can clearly see that Magna-Matic is a site sponsor and know that Gerd Ferdinand Bauer II is the representative.
    3. DON’T jump on and immediately start posting press releases, product specials and information that’s all about your company. People aren’t on these networks to be sold; they’re on them to converse with peers, get ideas and solve problems. Some sites have sponsor areas that are perfect for this type of information, if you truly must share it.
    4. DO ensure your representative regularly spends time on the site and monitors for the most important keywords to your brand.
    5. DON’T expect to receive a warm welcome. Not to say people will immediately attack you or anything that negative, but plenty of manufacturers and salespeople join networks because they think it’s an easy place to try and sell some more product, without putting in the work and recognizing the purpose of the network. Because of that, the regular, active members of the network will be wary of what you say until you’ve proven your worth as a member of the network.
    6. DO set a goal for the number of posts you want to average per day/week. By building up the total post count and contributing to lots of different discussions that have little or nothing to do with your product, you can build credibility and demonstrate that you’re an industry expert and not just a salesperson.

Be on the lookout for part 2 of this post, coming later this week!

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