Business tips from the Finally Fast team
If you’ve been on the Internet at any time during the last ten years, you know that consumers want more than content; they want to make a human connection. It’s no longer enough to push information out to your audience. Today’s geo-located, email checking, text messaging, status updating, smartphone wielding social consumers are hungry to engage with their favorite businesses.
So what’s the best way to engage with them? It goes beyond providing a positive shopping experience, excellent customer service and content that informs, entertains and makes their lives better. Customers really want to know you care about them as well as their business. They want to make a connection with you. The challenge to grow a business goes way beyond finding new prospects. It’s about how to engage them. As marketers and business people, everything you do comes down to making these meaningful connections with our customers.
While consumers generally are showing a desire to engage with businesses online, in a world where everyone is bombarded by marketing messages wherever they go, consumers become more discerning about which businesses deserve their time, attention and patronage. So how can you engage the busy social consumer and make that important human connection? Here are a few ways to start you off:
Post a survey, poll or open-ended question on Facebook asking customers to identify their biggest challenge or most pressing concern related to your business or cause in 2011. Report back to your audience on the results. If anything unexpected, insightful, trend-spotting or controversial bubbles up, use those ideas to spur other conversations.
Ignite a Conversation
Send out a thought-provoking question related to your industry on Twitter. Make it something people care about — an interesting trend, results of study, a surprising report or something in the news. Link back to more info on your website, blog or Facebook page. Use a Twitter hashtag to mark keywords or topics in tweets and keep track of the conversation.
Utilize the Results
Weave the results of your social conversations with customers into your content, across media channels. Good conversations seed good content, and vice versa. Write about things that people will want to talk about and share on their social networks.
Moderate the Discussion
Social consumers want to engage and interact with businesses in two-way conversation. Be sure that once you start a discussion, you’re present to monitor and participate in it. When a topic catches fire and gets people gabbing, jump in and fan the flames to keep the chatter going.
Of course, some efforts to engage consumers will be more successful than others. It’s about finding what resonates with and engages your audience, and that’s not always going to be predictable. So, do some experimenting to determine what sticks. What you share and how you share it is up to you.