Using social media to enable a dialogue with customers is great, but a smart social media strategy can improve the bottom line, Forrester Research analyst Emily Riley told attendees at Mediabistro’s UGCX conference on Wednesday.

UGCXlogo3.gifRiley laid out a four-point plan for organizations to create a “groundswell” of community:

1. Assess your customers’ social activities

2. Decide what you want to accomplish

3. Plan for how relationships with customers will change

4. Decide which social technologies to use

More specifically, Riley offered the following strategies as things that work (she’s very list-y):

1. Try something no one has done before
2. Focus on a single point of passion
3. Tap into the unique benefits of your chosen tactic
4. Make yourself indispensable
5. Create better channels for sharing information
6. Use personal engagement to drive sales

Riley said companies that create tools on their own web sites allowing consumers to rate and discuss their products can build credibility, even at the risk of the occasional bashing.

“To give away some power to the consumer can encourage them to buy your product” because it builds trust, she said.

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