With more and more companies investing time and resources into learning how to successfully utilize tools such as facebook and twitter, it’s no doubt that people are really starting to get a hang of the whole social media craze. Now that companies are tapping into social media to reach consumers these social platforms are becoming a key component in the identify the consumer’s perception of a brand. Gathering consumer insights and behaviors from social media communities is quickly becoming a viable alternative to focus groups. As social media analytics evolve, brands are able to tap directly into consumers behaviors, thoughts, likes and dislikes. Knowing how to speak the consumer language is more important then ever! Brands who have a social media presence need to actively build a rapport with their consumers in a way that gives consumers the feeling they are being valued and listened to.
Having an active social media presence goes beyond just using social media to promote your brand. From my own observation it seems like a lot of companies are using social media as an ego boost…like a popularity contest. In some cases, it seems to be about who has the most Twitter followers or who has the coolest interactive landing pages, but it goes way beyond that. A brand’s Twitter or Facebook page is just the first step to achieving social media success. What’s the next step? Communication and building a relationship with your consumers.
You know that old saying, “Communication is key”…well whoever said that was absolutely right! The continuous emergence of various social media channels, from Facebook to Twitter to even Youtube, serves as an outlet for consumers to express their opinions, concerns, and feedback about a brand or product. This serves as an opportunity for the brand to then continue the dialogue with their consumers and create a period of interaction…COMMUNICATION. When a brand takes the time to interact directly with consumers and addressing their comments, it not only creates a personal level on communication (as the brand is addressing each specific consumer individually), but it shows the consumer that the company is actually dedicated to their consumers and isn’t just about the popularity contest I brought up earlier in the post.
Now the question of how to address consumers might arise. How a brand can make their consumers feel valued can manifest itself in several strategic ways…digital, branding, and conversation engagement. The brand could respond to a consumer comment as simply and quickly as a Twitter or Facebook reply, or get as fancy as a as digital video response, direct emails, or targeted mobile ads. A study by 360i found that 43% of tweets are conversational “@ replies” and 24% are conversational status updates and comments on Facebook.
COMPANIES THAT DO IT RIGHT
Let’s take a look at some companies and brands who know how to converse with their consumer. Companies, such as Meijer, Kodak, and Best Buy, utilize direct communication to address consumer concerns and comments via Twitter or Faceook. These 3 brands are wonderful at communicating with as many consumers as they can. If you look on their pages you can see that if a consumer asks a question or addresses a concern, there is a response from the company. Some responses offer advice, other product info or coupons.
Sometimes brands are caught in a sticky situation and have to find a way to address negative consumer comments. That’s where good PR and analyzing the situation and the best way to handle it come into play. A good example of this is how Groupon will address all the negative feedback from their Super Bowl commercial. This PR pro has some insight on that. This is the simplest way to communicate with consumers and let them know you really care.
WRAPPING IT UP
It’s a simple fact that when brands and companies communicate it’s a win-win for everyone.
- Consumers feel valued and are more likely to establish a brand loyalty
- Brands, products or services have a change to engage in conversation to promote and brand themselves, get a message across, address consumers concerns/opinions/satisfactions, and learn from their consumers.
Social media conversation is a way for brands avoid bombarding consumers with irrelevant messages because they are starting a discussion about specific things at a specific time. KEEP IT RELEVANT! The ability to sustain a meaningful dialogue with a consumer is a way to study consumer behavior and a significant way for marketers to capitalize and learn from the 2 way conversation!