Two thumbs up Keep your customers together and with you with a social network

Posted by tom klein May 21, 2007

We all know why Amazon just works – it’s the access to customer reviews.

You can give your customers a vehicle for reviewing your products, even if you’re business is offline, by creating a social network. Fans of Ducati motorcycles have created a Ducati social network using the free tools at Ning to trade comments, questions, even photos of their tattoos.

Once you have helped your customers find each other (with many being your heavy or most loyal customers), you’re not done. The secret is to then put the content they generate back to work to sell to new customers. From there, invest to build on the virtuous cycle.

While MySpace is the poster child for social networks, there are elements of social networking in many sites. A defining element is customer (user) generated content. Low cost storage and open source databases have made social networking possible. Don't forget to rate this idea or leave a comment (get it?).

Think of the social network as your volunteer customer panel - a great window into how some of your customers perceive your products and your category. A recent Wharton study (PDF) indicates that mining data from social networks - who talks to whom or who emails whom- could allow companies to pinpoint likely customers who otherwise would be overlooked.

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