Creating conversation with customers can increase their engagement with the brand, generating a closer more trustworthy relationship for both parties. For effective communication channels to be established brands need to know where their consumers are and what content they engage with. Depending on the social media platform you are operating on depends on the types of activities that are available. Below are some ways to spark up conversations with your audience.
One way to encourage conversation is to ask questions, which allows for customers to give their opinion, making them feel empowered. The innovation of stories on Instagram provides access to interactive stickers, such as polls and questions to encourage customers to give their opinion. Creating stories also puts a face to the brand as employees can answer questions increasing interaction. This makes the customers feel valued by the brand and can also be used as a quick method of research for the business.
‘The dress’ is a prime example of when a simple question led to global debate. The dress sparked huge discussion as to whether people saw it as black and blue or gold and white. The photograph of the dress was originally posted on Tumblr to gain clarity on the colour. However the discussion went viral, and the dress found its way onto other social platforms. This grabbed people’s attention and encouraged healthy debate among global audiences.
Encouraging customers to tag your brand in their social media posts allows for another channel of interactivity to be generated. Twitter permits businesses to reply, like and retweet tweets that they have been tagged in. This makes customers feel cared about as they receive a personal tailored interaction with the company. When businesses have been tagged in posts it also allows for them to listen to what the customers are talking about in connection with their brand, providing a deeper understanding of consumers wants.
In addition to reacting to customers posts, businesses can also react to industry news and related articles. This allows businesses to tap into other organizations audiences and maximize reach. However, when selecting posts to engage with companies should be selective to avoid controversy.
Competitions encourage customers to interact and be part of the conversation. This is as many social media competitions encourage customers to like, share and comment to be entered. Research from Outgrow found that Instagram competitions get 3.5x more likes and 64x more comments than regular posts. This shows implementing competitions can encourage conversation as they provide a motivation for customers to interact with the company.
Hashtags are another way to generate conversation. Businesses can join trending hashtags gaining access to a popular conversation or create their own. Hashtags can also be tracked allowing for the engagement with that topic to be monitored and new customers to be accessed. However, when deciding on the hashtag to use for a campaign businesses should choose carefully due to the them being misused. McDonalds introduced the hashtag #McDStories to encourage customers to share their experience but this led to some unflattering stories being publicised.
To conclude by creating conversation it provides your audience with a voice and allows them to give their opinion on parts of the company’s activities. Healthy online debate also can increase reach and cause disruption to the internet if the post goes viral, assisting brand recognition. Therefore, creating conversation is essential to businesses as it generates brand advocates as the relationship between businesses and consumers is stronger.