Some companies never use social networking sites (SNS) since it poses the risk of losing their brand in the market (e.g. flame war). But EMC proactively tries to take advantage of SNS. Why? Because social media can be a powerful tool for growing and sustaining customer engagement.

 

To understand the importance of customer/social engagement, let’s take a brief look at the history of marketing. “Segmentation” was very important for marketing in the beginning. Since we used to have only one-way marketing channels, such as TV, Radio, Newspaper, marketers tried to find the ideal segment in which lots of potential customers would be.

 

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With the advent of the Internet, a huge change occurred. Suddenly, we had a two-way interactive marketing channel! In some industries, segmentation suddenly lost its importance since customers could directly provide a very specific demand to companies. Some companies were just waiting for customer’s specific demand and provided what he/she preferred. Dell, for example, was one of the successful companies in this era. People called it “Web 2.0.”

 

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Web 2.0 did not last long. At the same time, a famous marketing theory, 3C, became obsolete. A new strong, non-negligible market entity emerged. They were called “Influencers.”  They tended to be existing customers or sometimes famous bloggers in the industry. Potential customers did not communicate only with companies but with key influencers as well. Potential customers really cared other user’s reviews, opinions, and word of mouth information.

 

Marketers could not ignore this new market entity. Many companies tried to control the influencers. Some companies even paid them to spread positive information about the companies. However, people could easily spot paid-influencers and no companies succeeded in this attempt.

 

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Finally, “Engagement” came to light. We realize today that we cannot control influencers, reviews, or word of mouth – but we can participate in the conversation! Things that we can do, and have to do, begin with showing who we are. In other words, transparency is the key. If a company is excellent, customers judge its products and services positively in the social sphere, which generates engagement between the company and customers in the market.

 

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There is no easy way or short cut to quality engagement. It takes time to build trust and communities which garner healthy, steady and valuable social/customer engagement. More importantly, not all companies are able to do this well. Only companies with great market value can. I believe EMC is one of them and hence we are working hard to continue to expand on the wonderful success we’ve seen to date in our EMC Community Network forums, our blog spaces, and our many social media properties.  We encourage our customers to join the conversation and engage with us! If you haven’t already, we invite you to participate in our Support Communities and to follow us @EMCSupport.

 

Yutaro Uehara

IT Social Engagement

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ueharaus