Businesses have taken a new turn in relation to how they access customers. By access, one means how they make themselves and their product and services available to a variety of people out there.
Back in the day, marketing was relatively simpler. All one had to do was rely on advertising. Then came the concept of promotions and now, a big chunk of the work is done online; particularly via social networking websites.
It makes sense, does it not? Everyone is online, everyone is online and connected to each other via a social networking website, why not get everyone connected to your business as well?
More exposure, more frequent updates for your product and services and all these reaching the masses at reasonable costs.
By social networking websites, one means the likes of twitter, Facebook etc. if you’re still confused as to what is being discussed here; let’s take Facebook as an example. Notice how your service provider, favourite dress shop or even the local grocery store would have a Facebook page? That is a form of social media networking.
Facebook allows them to have their presence online and on your newsfeed, so any new deals, products or anything else offered by these businesses are directly shown on your newsfeed and you, their targeted market, are one of the firsts to be aware of them.
Think of the potential a Facebook page has and imagine if you had one for your business.
Another thing you would notice on these various pages is that many a times, they use a status to spark up a discussion. Be it about their product or service, any new product or service they are considering offering or it may even be about a general event such as the elections or the super bowl.
That one question on their status bar accessible to hundred maybe thousands of people is a social marketing strategy: Conversation.
You see, social marketing is not just about putting a page online and forcing your friends to ‘like’ it. Nor is it tweeting and re-tweeting facts and figures and accumulating followers. No, it is much, more than that. Social marketing does not end at accumulating people, it involves retaining them also. And there are several strategies that have evolved to accomplish that.
Social Media Conversation is not just about promoting your product or service. It is about engaging the interest of your target market and picking their brains for more ideas.
Now to start a ‘conversation’ here is what you need/need to do:
An Interesting Topic.
By an interesting topic it doesn’t mean one that interests you or a few people in general. It means one that appeals to the masses, something that hosts a variety of opinions and ignites a passion in others to contradict others and voice their thoughts. The internet is full of opinions and because of the screen in between people is not afraid, rather more than eager to put their two cents into everything.
A lot of topics would excite an interest in others, but that does not mean you pick and choose just about any. Choose one that relates to your business, product or service. For e.g. A new law that is being considered; ask your ‘fans’ or ‘follower’ what they think about it and see where the conversation goes!
That is the new way to listen. Read what your ‘fans’ or ‘followers’ are saying, respond to what they say and continue the conversation. You cannot just throw in a question and expect other to keep the posts alive; you have to put in some effort yourself.
You don’t want your business to be one of those that allows just about any kind of comment. A wrong, impolitic comment made by one could offend many and cast a wrong image on your business. Do not hesitate to weed out a comment or discussion that offends anybody be it a minority.
More Conversation, Less Promotion.
This should be your mantra. You are not trying to sell your product or service; you are just trying to engage the audience in hopes of picking their brains for new ideas. The concept of demand and supply works here. You should simply try to see what your target audience wants from you next and see how feasible it will be for you to supply!
Social media conversations are not more than just another way to sell, nor should they be used for any other purpose. They are simply to keep the interest alive on your page or account, and possibly a new way to get your targeted customers to brainstorm ideas for you. Everybody loves to say something, maybe what they are saying or want to say just may be the next ‘it’ thing your business need.