3 Levels of Social Media Communication
The way businesses think about Internet marketing is critical to realizing positive ROI, growth and significant success. We ask our clients to think about these three levels of social media communication:
- Talk to your customers in an authentic voice to be believable
- Allow your customers to talk to you to show you are listening
- Enable your customers to talk to each-other and create a vibrant community
Today’s best marketing practices require businesses to minimize old-school outbound tactics like static web pages, direct mail, email blasts and replace them with communication based on the use of an authentic voice. Today’s consumer is conditioned to ignore most of these (and so are the search engines). If you’re going to talk effectively to your customers, you must do it in a more conversational voice using a blog, podcast or video by telling relevant stories and offering genuine testimonies and reviews. Get away from the agency-generated copy as your only way of describing yourself. Loosen up and reveal the real you that your customers really want to get to know and believe.
Allowing your customers to talk to you is the second level of updating your marketing presence. It is easily done by allowing comments on your blog, encouraging customer feedback everywhere possible, and showing that you’re listening by responding to every piece of relevant input. Increase the use of customer comments in all your marketing materials, and respond publicly to positive and negative comments. Businesses that ignore their customers position themselves in turn to be ignored by their customers.
The third level of communication is by far the best—enabling and encouraging your customers to talk to each-other. Unpaid and unsolicited advocates are a marketer’s dream, not just because they cost next to nothing to acquire, but the words of adoring fans are a lot more effective than you tooting your own horn. Set up and nurture any platform you have at your disposal, be it a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a discussion forum, or through blog comments. Prime the pump by asking for comments, respond to comments with appreciation and encouragement, and let it discussion flourish. Then pay attention to what they’re saying and react to the valuable input and ideas they provide.
The best example I’ve seen of customers talking to customers and taking over on a specific platform is Dunkin’ Donuts Facebook page. Scroll down the page and notice the ratio of DD’s comments vs Fan comments. That marketing campaign appears to be on auto pilot. Good job DD!