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Learning a New Language

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print

Using social media to attract and retain customers and drive revenue requires more than a simple online presence: It requires a focused, well-planned business strategy.

Learning a New Language

Sales and support are also at the center of Rosetta Stone’s strategy. The provider of technology-based language learning systems has turned heavily to social media to market and sell its products. About two years ago, the company developed a set of goals and a road map for using social media: It established a dedicated social media department and launched a Facebook page during the summer of 2009.

“There is a huge word-of-mouth component to our business,” states Jay Topper, senior vice president of customer success. “Social media is a perfect way to interact with customers and extend the brand.” (See “What’s Next for Customer Service?” on page 8.)

The Facebook page includes general information, embedded videos and demos, discussion and review threads, events and support. The latter feature provides an FAQ, a searchable database and a live chat function. In fact, Rosetta Stone has extended its Website functionality to Facebook through the use of Parature customer service software. “Facebook is simply another channel,” Topper notes. “It’s important to give customers a choice about how they interact.”

Rosetta Stone has also turned to Twitter to address issues, questions and complaints; LinkedIn to facilitate hiring and human resources tasks; and YouTube to provide informational videos. “The idea is to create a more cohesive and recognizable brand,” Topper points out. “With all the different social media components in place and a focus on market and customer research, it’s like running a 24/7 focus group.” In addition, Rosetta Stone culls data and runs it through analytics software to better understand customers, channels and behavior.

When social media is used effectively, “People feel as though they have a personal relationship with a company,” author Libert explains. Through the use of polls, quizzes, games, customer reviews and discussion pages where the public can suggest new and better products, it’s possible for an enterprise to get closer to customers than ever before and tap into “market research opportunities that weren’t possible in the past,” he notes.

In fact, Accenture’s Dempski says that when all this data is plugged into an analytics program, it’s possible to gain insights into the types of marketing initiatives and advertisements that work best. For example, a clothing designer might post photos of a new line of coats in both color and black-and-white. The firm might ask customers which ads are the most appealing and study the results based on the specifics of the photos overlaid with the customer’s gender, age and geographic location. This might lead to different marketing campaigns for different market segments and for people in different geographic regions.

An organization might also examine activity around Facebook posts to understand the impact of a comment or thread. For instance, a post about blue jeans might elicit a large response from young women.

“If you’re looking to launch a new product, you can essentially ask the question: ‘If I want to sell more jeans to women this weekend, what do I need to post, what do I need to say and what is the optimal time to post the comment?’” Dempski says. “Based on past patterns, it’s possible to maximize current results.”

This article was originally published on 2011-04-06
Samuel Greengard is a freelance writer for Baseline.
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