Hopefully, by now we all can agree that social media has given consumers the most powerful voice they have ever had.
And it’s universally accepted that word of mouth has always been considered the very best form of advertising.
Since Facebook’s “Like” button was introduced in the spring of 2010, users can now show their approval of others’ photos, articles, ideas, discoveries, videos, products and services with just one simple click.
In fact, it is estimated that Facebook’s “Like” button now gets more than one billion clicks per day!
We all have an opportunity to reach more people in a significant way through recommendations
It all starts with improving our communication.
And as business owners, we can all start by being a more proactive listener and talking less.
The more we listen, the more people talk and the faster your relationship grows. So you need to start asking yourself the four ‘What’ questions:
- What do your Customers Like?
- What do they value as relevant or important?
- What content will get them to click your “like button?”
- What are some ways you can increase your two-way conversations with friends, followers and fans?
What do your customers like?
Here are a few things your customers wish you knew about them, about how they see you, and about your relationship:
- My life is really stressful. If you can reduce that stress, you become immensely valuable to me.
- I want to tell you what would make this relationship better for me. Why don’t you ever ask me?
- I don’t understand a lot of the messages you send me. Can you make them clearer?
- I want to trust you, but it’s hard for me to trust anyone.
- I spend an awful lot of time being scared to death.
- The wealthier I get, the more I like free stuff.
- I like to get little goodies no one else is getting.
- I don’t understand how to use your Web site, but I can’t admit that because it would make me feel dumb.
- I hate salespeople, but I really like to buy things.
- There’s something in my life I’m afraid of losing. If you can make me feel like you’ve protected it for me, my gratitude will be intense and eternal.
- I have the attention span of a goldfish. Go too long without contacting me and I’ll simply forget you exist.
- I believe I deserve much more than I’m getting.
- I want to tell you everything you need to know in order to sell to me, but I’m lazy. Make it easy enough and I will. (Especially if you flatter me a little.)
- I don’t know what I want most of the time. You need to figure it out for me.
- It really is all about me.
Some items on this list might seem cynical, but they’re not. The fact is it doesn’t matter what kind of customers you have. I don’t care if your customers are kidney donors or Zen masters or million-dollar contributors to your nonprofit organization.
Each one of us has some less-than-loveable characteristics that tend to come to the forefront when we’re in the role of customer.
If you knew, really knew, these 15 things about your customers, and acted accordingly, you’d gain their trust and even their love. After all, who doesn’t want to be loved despite all our flaws and embarrassing insecurities? The better you understand both the noble and not-so-noble secrets in your customers’ consciousness, the better you can serve them.
What do they value as relevant or important?
Let’s not get caught up with buzzwords. This is simple.
If your clients are important to you then social media is important to you.
Because those are your clients speaking to you, direct.
You have access to the hearts and mind of the people who use your services – in real time – seven days a week.
To create real value from this interaction you need to go beyond the hype of engagement to the simple reality of what social media is about. It’s about understanding what your customers find relevant or important.
And to understand what your customers want you need to listen long before you engage.
Engagement is only valuable when it is the culmination of listening.
Consumers who utilize social media are, by and large, savvy and can spot shallow marketing techniques. Consequently, businesses more than ever, need to be thoughtful in their approach.
For me, engagement is not the interaction that happens within superficial discussions on Twitter. It’s not about counting fans on Facebook. It’s the handling of the information. It’s turning that information into insight.
That’s engagement. The connections you make.
Social media is not a fad.
So don’t get caught up in all the hype.
If you’re new to social media my advice to you is simple: forget all about the marketing hype of engagement. Start with observing and listening. Analyze what you hear and use it to gain insight into what your customers really find relevant or important.
Yes, engagement is important—but listening is critical.
What content will get them to click your “like” button?
The Story…a never to be underestimated starting point. A captivating tale to get a message across…and one that gets people talking.
It’s always about ‘the story’. Telling a tale that flows, that connects, that resonates… and that sparks conversation once ‘the story’ itself, has reached its end. This is evident today more than ever, with the rise of social media – where it’s not just about “The Story” anymore…but almost more importantly, the “conversation” surrounding the story.
It’s easy to gauge what gets people talking, “sharing,” “liking” while adding their own thoughts to the original tale. These types of conversations can offer a lot of value to those participating, and especially to the original storyteller.
Feedback from our communities = invaluable.
This is happening more now than ever on these evolving platforms we all spend so much time on.
What ‘story’ are you telling + does it get people talking?
What are some ways you can increase your two-way conversations with friends followers and fans?
- Read your target audience’s online content
- Join discussions to learn what’s important to them.
- Always acknowledge every person who reaches out to you.
- Don’t publish your content and then disappear. Be available to your audience.
It’s better to have 1,000 online connections who read, share and talk about your content with their own audiences than 10,000 connections who disappear after connecting with you the first time.