5 Tactics For Extending Conversations With Customers
Communication is the key to building a long lasting relationship with your customers. After all, it’s fairly rare for a relationship to form between a brand and a consumer after a single moment of contact. Your job, as a content marketer, is to find ways to maintain contact by identifying opportunities to keep the conversation going. Not only that, you have to do it in ways that are welcomed and appreciated. It’s a challenging task for sure, but not an insurmountable one. You prepare yourself for this challenge by checking out these 5 digital tactics that you can use to extend the conversation that you have with your customers and potential customers.
Leverage User Generated Content to Get Customers to Bond With Your Brand
More and more companies are adding user generated content to their social media and web pages. There are many reasons for doing this. It gives companies more content to share with their followers, which is always a good thing. It also helps customers to form strong bonds with the brands that feature their content.
Some companies take a very simple approach to this. They simply ask followers to submit their thoughts and opinions, or to share pictures and videos. Other brands might use contests or hashtag campaigns (more on this below) to get folks to share content that they have created and to encourage social media engagement using that content. One example of encouraging users to share original content and using that to create engagement was Starbucks White Cup campaign. Users were encouraged to decorate a plain white Starbucks cup and them submit a picture of their creation. Follower’s art work was featured on the company’s website and social media sites. The contest was hugely popular and the company benefited from new engagement, an increased following, and it is widely considered to be one of the most successful efforts of its kind.
Create And Share Content That Starts Conversations
If the goal is to extend conversations, doesn’t it make sense to create and share content that earns social shares and gets people talking. Many content marketers make the mistake of only curating and creating content that is safe and agreeable. The problem with this is that people reading along might nod in agreement, they might even click the like button if their beliefs align with what you say, but they aren’t likely to reply or share to that kind of content.
Content that starts conversations and earns shares is often bold. It is often controversial, containing strongly held opinions, beliefs, and predictions. It evokes strong emotion and incites people to respond. Don’t be afraid to make bold claims about your products and services, and express strong opinions about the state of your industry. Have something meaningful to tell your audience, and they will have something meaningful to say back!
Start a Hashtag Campaign
A hashtag campaign is a great way to generate conversations and enthusiasm among your audience. Launching a hashtag campaign is also a great way to bring more people into the conversation and to get the conversation going for longer periods of time. Think about it. A hashtag marketing campaign combines all of the elements required to get people excited and engaged. You start with a concept, you create a hashtag, then you launch a campaign that encourages enthusiasm, creates engagement, and rewards your audience for participating.
Successful examples of hashtag campaigns include:
- The Red Bull Put a Can on it Campaign
- Share a Coke With (And now, Share a song)
- The Pepsi Emoji campaign
- Oreo Horror Stories
- National Fried Chicken Day
Each of these campaigns involved knowing what audiences expected, predicting how they would react, and then launching the campaign based on those factors. It takes research and effort to pull this off, but if you can it is well worth the effort
Hold a Giveaway
Giving stuff away is a great way of attracting and engaging new potential customers. Not only does this work to extend the conversation with them, you can use this tactic to take the relationship to the next level. For example, you might tie the giveaway to filling out a survey or taking a poll. You can also offer the giveaway as a reward for becoming a follower, for sharing your content, or for mentioning you on their social media accounts. Those are just a few options, you can also:
- Offer a free download in return for a customer referral
- Give away an eBook in return for becoming a subscriber
- Give access to premium content in exchange for agreeing to speak with a sales rep
You will find that most people are much more willing to give information or take action if they see that there is something useful in it for them.
Use Email Newsletters to Distribute Premium Content to Subscribers
Many marketers blanch at the idea of using email newsletters, out of fear of them being taken as spam. In truth, as long as they contain relevant content, and aren’t sent out more than once a week or so, many customers actually welcome newsletters. The key is to focus on providing content that is very high quality (think much higher standards than your other content) and that is extremely relevant. While it is okay to link to social content that you offer to your general audience, it is very important to ensure that every newsletter contains content that is only offered to subscribers. This will keep them interested and make subscribing seem worthwhile.
If marketing is like taking somebody out on a date, extending the conversation is similar to turning a lunch date into an afternoon at the mark followed by dinner and a movie. The longer things last, and the better things go, the greater likelihood that a single event will blossom into a relationship. By applying these 5 techniques, you increase your chances of building long term customer relationships, and perhaps even earning a brand ambassador or two.
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