Brands are only beginning to realise the importance of conversing with their consumers online. To give an indication of just how important it is, 83% of people say that they are more likely to make a purchase if they have had positive social media interaction with a business. In addition to this, auto-posting to Facebook decreases the likes and comments a post will receive by 70% on average. If you only using generic content, you could be missing out hugely on potential business. In order not to miss out on these opportunities, engaging in conversation with your consumers is an absolute must in today’s world.
Conversation is important for many reasons. Marketing used to be more personal as many sales took place on a one-to-one basis; however, mass marketing removed this individual aspect, causing businesses to be out of touch with the consumer. This was often in the form of developing specific, business related jargon that the everyday person would not understand.
Social media allowed for mass marketing as it enabled businesses to push content but this changed as people realised that they could reply and engage with the brand on these platforms. This has made it essential that brands respond to this communication to capitalise on conversing with customers.
Conversation is needed to capitalise on the use of social media primarily because it lends an authenticity to your brand that is almost impossible to achieve by any other means. Conversation is undeniably authentic as our ability to edit speech in real time is limited. It means that they have to respond to what you say and do not have the time to go through several drafts of a response. Whether this is in face-to-face conversations or through an instant messenger on a social platform, it does not allow a brand to hide behind a façade of media that it pushes. It lends a human side to your business as it ceases to be a corporation pushing content and becomes a partner in conversation. The value of this transition cannot be underestimated.
It may, at the outset, be hard to see how a business can actually engage in conversations with consumers without is being forced or potentially unwelcome. One of the best ways to initiate this is to respond to their interactions with your content. Respond to their comments, questions and complaints. Starting a conversation in this way shows that, as a brand, you are listening and a conversation cannot happen without this element.
To be sure that what you are saying to your consumers is understandable, make sure that you use language that they are likely to understand and, even better, use themselves. The use of company jargon that was built up with mass marketing has broken down now as brands are adopting the language of their consumers. Target, for example, realised that consumers were using the term ‘(to go for a) Target run’ and began to use the term in their own messages. Deploying the language of consumers in this way is far more likely to make them think that they are making a genuine connection with your brand.
With 83% of people more likely to purchase from your brand following positive digital interaction, conversation cannot be ignored and represents both a step forward and a step back in the marketing world. It is a step forward for how businesses use social media to engage with their audience. Conversely, it appears to be making a step back as mass marketing is dropped in favour of a far more individual approach. Given the potential to convert on social platforms, it is a facet of social media marketing that businesses cannot afford to neglect.