There are a billion people talking on social networks every month. If only one of the conversations on there is about your business, brand or company, it would generate the same impact as 200 advertisements on television would. Many businesses are now being smart about the use of social media websites and they are shifting their promotional efforts toward trying to engage in two-way conversations with customers.
Businesses that are looking for ways to survive have been trying to become a lot more social with their prospects and customers. Using social channels to allow prospects and customers to give feedback such as questions, comments, suggestions and even complaints are what it is all about. Listening with intent is where the two-way conversation has to start for your business.
Listen Actively to Customers
Listening actively and with intent to what a customer has to say means that you put aside any judgments or attitudes and listen to everything the customer is saying. Before any sales rep or business owner attempts to communicate a marketing message, it is vital to first be an excellent listener. As soon as most customers feel that they are being heard and understood, you will experience how the two-way conversation starts opening up.
The first and most important step you need to take in listening actively is to put aside any existing beliefs, attitudes and pre-judgments you may have. You have to be open to the customer’s message and hear what is being said. Do not go on the defensive, but listen. Trying to solve any customer concerns or problems before you have truly heard what the feedback is has to be avoided. When you make an emotional connection initially, then the rest of the conversation will flow more smoothly.
Starting the Conversation
This is an essential part of any conversation via social channels and people respond to them all.
1) Throw out some information such as a point of discussion or a question. Once you receive a response, you can keep the conversation going by asking more questions and adding your own insights.
2) Research what people are talking about in general. Search for hot conversations online that are happening already and join in. Having something new to add to such a discussion is important.
3) Attract conversation with slideshows, video, images and media. Wait for questions, comments and insights and then respond and start a unique conversation.
4) Use opinions to start conversations and form online relationships. It is highly effective to start conversations with a controversial opinion or a unique angle.
Start a conversation this way:
- Post meaningful quotes
- Ask trivia questions that are niche-related
- Ask the readers a personal question
- Create “how-to” suggestions
- Be humorous and inspiring when suggesting sales
- Share an image, video or a post from fans
- Find Customers on Social Sites
To engage your customers in a conversation through social channels, you need to know where they are active. It makes no sense to spend time on a social site if none of your customers are there. How do you determine which networks to target?
A business should:
- Train their employees to engage customers in an informal conversation concerning social media. Employees should mention which social accounts the business has.
- Advertise each of their social media accounts as much as possible. It has to be visible to customers.
- Train their employees to find out what social networks the customers are using. Employees should write down the information they receive.
A business that goes out to visit customers needs the following:
- Give out flyers that indicate which social networks they use.
- Signs on vehicles that indicate the active social network accounts.
- When visiting the customers and when appropriate, start the same active conversations as discussed above.
Organizing a short survey could easily give you all the necessary information regarding the social habits of your customers as well.
Author Bio:- This guest post was contributed by Cameron Prockiw, one of the co-founders of Hubblr, a Social Engagement Platform. Cameron enjoys sharing his insights on various social media blogs.