One of the key challenges for many brands is turning social media channels from one-way communication into a dialogue. Why is dialogue important?

Because it allows your target market to connect with your brand, effectively turning one-way messaging into a conversation. Many marketing tools – such as advertising, media relations, or direct marketing – only allow a business to communicate their messages one-way. Social media offers the unique opportunity to engage with customers and create a community. The opportunity to ask questions, listen and respond creates a relationship with key customers, and if done effectively, creates brand loyalty.

A Nielsen Australian Online Consumer Report found that 73% of Australians who are online tap into other consumers’ opinions on social media. By encouraging dialogue, brands can not only inform their target audience’s awareness and understanding of their brand and products, but also shape the opinion of their online friends.

How can a brand effectively turn content into engagement? Rather than using social media channels as an opportunity to provide update on organisational activity, consider the needs and interests of your target audience and how your brand can play a role in meeting them. Share links, images and content that interest your audience – make relationships with like-minded brands and cross—promote content.

Most importantly, ask questions, invite feedback, use online polls and respond to comments. Don’t be afraid to engage with negative feedback and most certainly respond to positive feedback. A brand that demonstrates it is highly connected to its target audience – and most importantly is listening – is one that inspires loyalty, respect, and maybe even a little love.

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