You don’t meet up with friends just to tell them about you, your lot, your plans, your news and not ask how they are, how the family is doing, what they’re up to or how they feel about something, do you? Someone I know, (and someone that will remain nameless) regularly posts updates on Facebook telling the world what she’s up to, how fantastic her recent holiday was, what she has planned for the weekend, how she’s feeling about the weather or how her recent trip to the doctors went. She never posts a question asking us what we think of the latest news, never sends out good wishes or offers of help and support, never asks how we are, whether we enjoyed our holiday; poor show don’t you think? Worse still, she’ll use Facebook to ask if “any of her lovely friends out there” could do her a “really big favour”. Who needs friends like that huh?
Imagine how customers would regard Ms Nameless if she communicated with them this way. Never posting anything of real value to them, never offering help or advice, never showing how important their business is to her, but then asking them to “do me a huge favour and complete this quick survey for me” Who needs a supplier like that huh?
What businesses and brands post online says a lot about how they regard friends, connections and customers.
Many brands will see social media as a vehicle for promoting a new service, publicising their latest successes or broadcasting their future plans – they may have a website that runs a “Latest News” page with regular bulletins, some will blog from time to time with a review of a recently completed project and may even tweet what’s on their mind” now and again. Don’t get me wrong, news is always good to throw into an overall marketing mix, but those brands that get the best from communicating online are those that really engage with their audience – showing friends, connections and customers that they care, and knowing what people want from them.
Failing to ask customers for their opinions on, say, a new product or service, or to gather feedback on industry news or to offer free help or advice, is a mistake many brands and business make. Those that ask questions, invite comments, give something away (not just an as incentive to fill out a survey), get involved with customers and consumers, will make more friends, get more from business relationships and, ultimately, make more money.
How does your business engage with the world online? Do you get annoyed by receiving emails that just tell tell tell? Do you struggle to get the balance right when posting for your business or brand?
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