Editors Note: This is a guest blog post written by David Goldman, Founder and Managing Director of Green Sky Thinking. His opinions are his own.
The world of online marketing can be an extremely noisy place. It seems we can’t do anything online these days without being bombarded by virtual megaphones shouting at us to “Buy Now!”, “Click Here”, “2-for-1”, “Today Only”, “20% Off”.
This kind of marketing can be incredibly annoying, and is often a turn off more than anything.
It seems like some companies will never let up on trying to constantly shove content in our faces as though they’re trying to force us to buy against our will. Too much aggressive and forceful advertising certainly won’t result in a sale. In fact, it can often lead to people unsubscribing from your emails, clicking elsewhere and un-following you on social media.
So rather than just yelling at your audience all the time, is there a better way of marketing your business? Yes there is.
Conversational Marketing Through Social Media
Conversational Marketing is all about encouraging users to engage with your brand, and have a conversation.
It differs from traditional marketing methods in that the focus is on talking with the customer rather than at them.
Conversational Marketing is much less intrusive and is often a more successful way of letting people know about your products or service. Social media marketing creates a two-way conversation and is a wonderful place to:
- Promote your brand and get your name out there;
- Tell potential customers about your products or services;
- Find out what customers think of your service;
- Find and attract new customers and build a following; and
- Build stronger relationships with existing customers so that they stay loyal to your brand.
The two-way relationship you can build on social media has so many advantages. For a start, it’s almost limitless in terms of who you can reach. Traditional forms of marketing, like advertising in your local newspaper or doing a flyer drop can only reach your local area, whereas social media can reach millions of people around the world.
It also gives you the ability to target your audience and really hone in on your specific market. It allows you to communicate on different levels, whether it’s a personal interaction one-on-one with a customer, or a pitch to a larger group.
Social media is easy. You don’t need fancy software or high-level computer skills to be able to participate. And of course social media is free! Paid advertisements are available, but many brands have had great success with free promotions by targeting the right audience in the right way.
So, how do you carry out conversational marketing? There are a few different ways, so lets take a look at the most popular and most successful methods:
- Email marketing – make sure you have an option on every page of your website for readers to sign up to your newsletter. You can promote your business, but make sure you communicate news and events as well. This is a willing audience who have specifically said they want to hear from you!
- Ask your customers – for feedback, reviews, testimonials and survey responses. You’ll never get if you never ask, and you’ll often be amazed at the response you get. People love to share their opinions given half a chance!
- Be available – make it easy for customers to get in touch with you and ask questions. You can offer phone, email and social media support, webinars and live chats. Whatever method you prefer, make it easy to get the conversation started.
It’s helpful to take a look at other brands that do conversational marketing really well and see how they do it. So, which brands do conversational marketing well? We’ve come up with three great examples and why their approach really works:
Redbull is the most popular energy drink on the planet, and their social media strategy probably has something to do with it. They know who their audience is – adrenaline junkies and thrill seekers – and they know that their audience loves to show off their nerve-wracking achievements. They’ve created a “Photo of the Week” segment that gets their viewers posting, talking, sharing and engaging with the brand. They publish regularly and have become a media company in their own right.
With over 4 million followers on Twitter, Nike really knows what it’s doing in the social media game. The company recognises how important engagement and customer service is on social media, so has developed a Twitter account just for responding to customer enquiries and providing support @NikeSupport. When you look at their Twitter feed you’ll see responses to comments and questions every few minutes. This interaction and quick service shows Nike customers that the brand can be trusted to provide help and support if they need it.
Starbucks is very active on social media as well, and creates fun ways to interact with its customers. Like Nike, they’ve created a separate Twitter account called @MyStarbucksIdea where their customers can share ideas and discuss all things tea and coffee related, and give their opinions on how to make Starbucks better.
Whatever method of conversational marketing you use, it’s important that your business has an engaging social media strategy that’s equipped to handle customer service issues as well.
Don’t just let your Facebook page or Twitter account be a place to share your content and advertise your business. Make it a platform where your customers and readers can feel comfortable reaching out to you (good or bad), knowing that they’ll get a response.
Does your business do conversational marketing? We’d love to hear what you do and how it works for you.
With almost 20 years experience as a strategic consumer marketer David Goldman has a proven track record and a passion for doing things differently and challenging the norm. He is the Founder and Managing Director at Green Sky Thinking where he and his team provide strategic marketing resources for businesses that cannot sustain it full time.