Customers are talking about your brand – they expect you to listen; and they want you to join the conversation.
Reading Mike Blaneys‘ post reminded me of how many brands still don’t get it when it comes to customer communication. Your customers want to hear from you are you talking with them or still yelling at anyone who will listen?
Marketing is integral to the way brands and businesses “talk” to their market. Talking to the audience, in turn, is essential to making them loyal customers. In a way, this can be considered as a brand’s personal touch, as if a certain product is reaching out to the consumer personally, and the consumer is responding to its effort. All of them are vying for their action (purchasing a brand) and their loyalty (choosing the brand over others for a long period of time). And this is done through marketing. But in order to become more competitive today, you cannot simply rely on traditional forms of marketing; you need to join market conversations online, in blogs, discussion forums, and on social networking sites.
To grasp this concept fully it is imperative to understand how traditional marketing works. Marketing, simply put, is defined as the promotion of products. Traditionally, marketing is done through advertising and public relations. Advertising is a type of communication that aims to persuade people. This persuasion is not limited to convincing individuals to buy a product, although advertising is typically used for this purpose. Advertising can be used to persuade people to believe in a certain movement or information, to persuade people to change their perceptions about a certain issue, product, or person (as in election campaigns). Public relations, on the other hand, is a practice done to manage the flow of information, normally between an organization (or a person, a company,) and its intended public. Public relation professionals say it is about “doing good, and letting the public know about it.” And true to their word, this is how PR works. Public relation officers provide press releases to reporters hoping they will be interested to turn the information they provide into a legitimate news article. Of course, news articles or news broadcasts are more reliable and trusted compared to advertisements. If you want to start a YouTube channel, then you must know that Subscribers are everything on YouTube. The concentration of the people is on purchasing the subscribers on the social media platform. The advertisement should be considered while posting the videos for the perfect length.
Of course! These methods do not always guarantee that the brand or product communicates or “talks to” its audience. At most, marketing helps the audience becomes aware of a product. This is mainly what advertising does, which is why communication experts say advertising “shouts” rather than “talks.” Advertising is more concerned with quantity rather than quality. It is concerned with getting the message or information across the most number of people possible at the most number of times without even bothering if it has changed the perception, the action, and the loyalty of the market. There are five factors that are between the advertisement and the buyer: awareness, consideration, preference, action, and loyalty. At its most effective, an advertisement can change the preference of an individual. But it takes more than that to turn this preference into action, which is what you need to do in order to make it benefit your brand or your business.
Today, people learn from each other rather than from advertisements or press releases. For one, people today are more perceptive. Once their perception is changed by a particular advertisement, they need more supplementary materials to validate their perception. They want answers to their questions regarding your brand—Is this really as good as it claims to be? Is it worth my money? Would I be satisfied?—and they turn to other people, presumably those who have already used the product, for information. Looking closely, this is how word of mouth works. Word of mouth is considered as genuine information, so it is more effective since the communication process is more dynamic. And thanks to social technologies, word of mouth is transformed, revved up by new, more dynamic mediums.
Conversation in these mediums is more dynamic because this is where people in the middle of marketing funnel (preference) talk about the product. Hence, this is a crucial arena, where preference can be transformed into action. Simply put, when a person’s preference has changed, he seeks information about the product. He goes online and reads blogs and discussions regarding the brand. And what he sees here can change preference to action (of course, it also works the other way around).
So how can joining conversations in Social Media be more effective than traditional marketing? Simple: because in Social Media, the communication is two-way. For example, there is a discussion about your brand, and customers post their questions on Social Media. Using the tools provided by Social Media, you can answer and address their concerns and questions directly. This type of action will seem like hard sell in advertising, but it is accepted in Social Media. In fact, people actually expect you to respond, or at least they would you to. If you do this, there will be an actual conversation. Unlike in advertising, answering queries, addressing issues, and clarifying information is not considered shouting. Instead, this can considered as talking, since both you and the consumers get to have their say on any existing matter or concern, which can shape preference into action and loyalty.