Conversation is key

We have discussed the importance of companies creating conversations with their customers online. Rather than talking to your clients, talk with them. This not only develops an interactive community that is engaged with your brand, but it will also make your company appear more transparent, which is just as essential.

The recent post “Creating dialogue with your customers,” points out how Jetsetters’ CEO, Drew Patterson engages with his customers with Twitter. The dialogue between Patterson and his clients involve him asking questions, making special announcements and updating viewers with the latest news. This creates a more personal relationship with Jetsetters clients and the CEO himself.

The importance of having a conversation goes beyond just being the CEO. How the company markets themselves online and communicates with their constituents through conversation is vital to create brand loyalty. CBS News wrote an article discussing travel companies that utilize social media. Some companies that have been conversing with their clients the right way include Southwest, Virgin America, Alaska Airlines and Carnival cruise lines.  The article also lists some guidelines on how to engage with the public online.

  1. Use social media every day. The worst thing a company can do is forget about their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other social media accounts. Don’t forget to keep up with your posts.
  2. Be social. Try to engage with the community as much as possible by responding to any of their comments and personally connecting with individual customers who take their time to engage with your brand.
  3. Make time for social media. Even if you are busy, try to schedule a couple hours of your day to get online and communicate for your company.
  4. Chose the right social media outlet that works best for you. There is a wide variety of types of social media that will appeal to different people. Find what you like best and stick with it.
  5. Add value. Make sure that when you communicate, you are talking about things that are relevant to your company and the public. Find ways to make customers coming back for more and wanting to be a part of the conversation and community.

Two of the most common forms of social media are Facebook and Twitter. Many companies today have jumped on the bandwagon and have been engaging through these outlets. If a company decides to take advantage of these web sites, they need to be consistent with their posts and maintain relations with their viewers. Virgin America does a good job of following these rules by tweeting upcoming contests, news, offers and announcements. Disney Cruise Line also markets themselves well with their Facebook page by posting pictures of customers, updating statues and posting and answering comments from users.

One last thing to keep in mind is acknowledged in the article, “Marketing to a community” consumers are constantly connecting with the “social web” where people are going to comment on your products or services regardless. Reviews can be both positive and negative and it is never good to avoid any feedback from the public. The Dell scandal is a great example of how ignoring customers’ feedback can be detrimental to the brand, so it is important to listen and engage with all consumers to be an effective company.

By: Stephanie Strickland

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