The title of this post pretty much sums it up. So often we get caught up in frameworks and checklists and strategies and everyone is running around looking busy. Meanwhile, back at the ranch where the real work happens, consumers are still being marketed online. How could this be?
It is helpful sometimes to take a step back and take a look at what you are doing from the outside looking in. Consider how your consumers view you online and where they view you. You might begin to understand why your social programs are performing the way they are. So many strategies stop at the tools so you end up with a blog or a Facebook page and the strategist goes home. Inevitably the same marketer or communications person does what they know and starts blasting messages. As a result, the consumers that you were trying to get closer to actually end up further away. To translate this back into social media jargon, you end up with an audience of lurkers (assuming they stay that long) when you are attempting to get those consumers engaged.
Jake Mckee’s infamous 90-9-1 pyramid comes to mind. If you do not make it easy, fast and safe for consumers to engage you will end up with more than 90 percent lurkers trolling your content. On the other hand, if you take the time to create baby steps of engagement like a simple “thumbs up/down”, share this, or even a one question “quick poll” your audience will begin to engage more. This helps to establish trust as well. With trust comes responsibility though. If you allow members to digitally attack each other via comment threads, etc then you will end up with the same 4 people running your site like street dogs marking their territory on trees. Curating community content to keep it safe will go a long ways for members to want to contribute and connect with greater frequency.
Once they are connecting with higher frequency, what’s your plan then? What messages do you want those consumers sharing? Your consumers have 2 experiences with every interaction they have with you. Those 2 experiences are perception and reality. If you ask for suggestions, get them and never respond or even acknowledge them, the consumer’s perception is that you really don’t care. All of these experiences get crafted into a story that is told and re-told online, at dinner parties, at the gym and anywhere else someone brings up your store, brand or product.
If consumers are your storytellers, then shouldn’t you have a plan to help shape that story every chance you get? Two main themes are emerging: 1) enable consumers to connect with you more frequently and 2) have a plan in place to help mold their story about you once you do connect. Sound straightforward? If it does then you have never had to a) manage a community first hand, b) never been responsible for results or c) all of the above.
By design, our moderator has a lot of experience doing both. Kyle Lacy is the head of Brandswag and a highly sought after social media practioner for businesses. Kyle will lead a discussion around how to better connect with consumers by converting more passive consumers into active consumers of your brand and what to do once they become active. This discussion will follow our weekly Tuesday event schedule taking place 5/4 at noon Eastern. The topic and questions will be:
Topic: Connecting With Consumers Through Social Media
Q1) What are ways to move customers up the interactive chain from lurker to influencer?
Q2) What’s the value of storytelling vs. messaging?
Q3) How can you get customers to take action on your behalf and tell the story for you?
The event will begin with Q1 at noon eastern followed every 20 minutes with the next questions. To follow along and add your POV simply track #sm58 via any Twitter client or follow along via our LIVE page.