As online conversations are a growing, new marketplace, you must first understand how your customers and prospects behave online. While social media users meet in different places (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.), they still evaluate brands based on content. People still buy products to accomplish something.
Companies that understand this behavior are able to communicate directly with customers and prospects to influence their perception of their brand. Here's what you need to do to make this happen.
Research where your customers and prospects are located online to join these communities.
Establish a listening campaign ot figure out who's doing the talking and what's being said.
Consider how you will connect with the more influential "conversationalists" within those communities. Do you need to create your own Facebook page or Linkedin profile? Or do you need to comment regualarly on select blogs?
Share whatever is going on in your offline world with your online community (photos and videos).
Reach out to other bloggers (guest blogging).
Respond quickly to comments and feedback on your own blog.