Want to connect with your target audience? Then talk to them, not at them.
There are few things as annoying as that guy that just talks at you. You know the type. He’s the one that tells you everything going on in his life and his opinions on things without ever asking anything about you or showing even the vaguest interest in what you think.
There always seems to be one of these types in any large gathering. It doesn’t take long before you start to vague-out and begin looking for an escape route from this horribly one-sided conversation. In future, you’ll no doubt go out of your way to avoid him. You’d rather be having a conversation that involves a bit of back and forth with both parties contributing, right?
It’s exactly the same with a business. If all you do as a business is talk at your customers, they’ll soon start avoiding you. You’ll become that guy.
This is doubly true if your business has a social media presence. Facebook and Twitter are made for interaction, so if all you’re doing is throwing information at your audience – talking at them – then guess what? You’re not going to get much of a response. People will start to tune out, drift away and suddenly you’ll realise you’re talking to an empty room.
This is typically the kind of thing that businesses that don’t really understand social media do – they know they should have a Facebook page, so they throw one up without putting in the time or thought necessary to make it an interactive space. Having said that, there are plenty of big businesses that fail spectacularly as well, showing they have little understanding of how to connect with their target market through social media. Social media is made for interaction – it’s what people love about it.
So, how do you ensure you’re not that guy?
Thankfully, it really isn’t all that difficult – just ask some questions. Asking a few questions when talking to someone in person is a great way to get the conversation flowing; asking questions through your business pages – particularly somewhere like Facebook – will get the communication ball rolling.
You can still put up information, of course, but have a think of questions to pose to your audience after presenting your info that will get them posting their own thoughts. Also think of other ways that people can interact with your business: polls, questions and asking for opinions all work well. If there is a way that your audience can initiate and spread a conversation, then even better. The aim here is to start a dialogue and not have a completely one-sided conversation.
Don’t be that guy – ask a few questions, get the conversation rolling and you might be surprised at the results.
Have you had success initiating conversations with your audience in social media? How did you get that started?
Anthony Reynolds – Content Strategist[cf]tracking[/cf]