I get asked this question a lot…can you really have one-on-one conversations that have business value using social media?
Recently I was asked to be an influencer at the #ONEFest Conference in Las Vegas and their entire conference revolved around the value of marketing to the segment of ONE! I loved this theme because I am a firm believer that you can absolutely have one-on-one, value based conversations via social media!
Social media has the potential to help you forge real relationships with your prospects and customers…PERIOD. The problem at hand is that too many brands are still using it in a way that’s simply too impersonal: broadcasting their message, sharing their blog posts and basically have one-way conversations.
Another word for this type of conversation is “shout marketing”. Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google, shares his secret for getting engagement on Facebook: “I have conversations. I post something really interesting, nothing to do with promoting me or my book. The payoff of conversational marketing is that you persistently have a relationship with people that is impossible to achieve on any other channel.”
And it is this type of conversational marketing that creates personal connections and allows you to connect with your followers on a deeper level. Following are 7 ways you can start to have more personal and relevant one-on-one conversations on social media!
1. Take complaints offline so you can give a personalized response
Let’s face it: complaints are going to happen. Hopefully, most of them happen offline or via email, but sometimes you’ll be faced with confronting complaints or criticisms in a very public way on Facebook or Twitter. Whenever possible, move these conversations offline ASAP. This will allow you to ask for private information, offer more personalized responses and resolve issues much more expediently.
2. Have your social media team sign off with their name
It’s such an easy thing to do, yet it can have a huge impact. Let your fans and followers know there are real people behind your brand. When you or your team members respond to comments on social media, always sign off with your first name. This increases trust, and lets your followers know they’re dealing with an individual rather than a faceless business.
3. Treat social media conversations like real-life conversations (you know, back and forth)
Social media conversations should be like real life conversations. And real life conversations look something like this: back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. While you don’t have time to engage in deep conversations with everyone who posts to your page or tweets to you, facilitating an ongoing discussion from time to time shows you care about what your followers have to say.
4. Address people by their first name
This is another simple strategy that can take your conversations to a whole new level. When responding to comments or tweets, try to use people’s name in your response. For instance, “Thank you for your suggestion Rita! We will definitely keep this in mind for next time.” Tag or @mention using their name whenever possible.
5. Monitor and participate in conversations happening about your brand
Unfortunately, many conversations happening about your brand will be taking place outside your Facebook page. This is why it’s so important to monitor conversations that are happening elsewhere online. Try using a social media monitoring tool like Social Mention to see what people are saying about your business and products. Jump in to offer advice or guidance where relevant and appropriate.
6. Create a persona for use on social media
You may already know the importance of having a customer persona in place for your marketing. Personas help by giving you a clear picture of exactly WHO your ideal prospects are. This can help you engage in much more relevant conversations on social media, on your blog and in all your marketing initiatives. Here’s a great primer on how to create a marketing persona for your business.
7. Ask for input (and care about the answers)
Asking your fans and followers for advice, feedback or input is a great way to show you value their opinions. The questions don’t all have to be directly related to your business! You can also ask questions that help to inform your product development, marketing or communications. The key is that you actually listen to and care about the answers they give…then use what you’ve learned through these conversations to improve your business.
Social media isn’t just a way to advertise to your target market. The real value of social media is in the one-on-one conversations that help to build trust, respect and loyalty with your customers and prospects.
What are you doing to initiate and foster one-on-one conversations on social media?