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Use Social Network Marketing to Connect with Buyers

5 conversational ways to get your customers talking to and about you

Long ago, it was considered the “gift of gab”—the ability to meet, greet and gain trust with customers who ventured into your store. These days, with so much communication happening at every moment of every day, is it possible that some of us are saying more, yet connecting less?

The true art of conversation is in demand now more than ever before, and gaining customers—and keeping them—once again relies on your ability to open lines of meaningful and memorable communication. Here are five ways you can hone your “gab” through social network marketing to get more customers’ attention, and show that you and your business truly have something useful to say.

Whether you favor Facebook, twinkle at Twitter, or lord over your own online forum, discover where your likely customers are and meet them there

Start conversations where customers gather

When it comes to opening conversations with your customers, most would agree that social media sites, and social network marketing, can help you break the ice. Whether you favor Facebook, twinkle at Twitter, or lord over your own online forum, discover where your likely customers are likely to spend their time and meet—and greet—them there.

  • Facebook is a great site to develop a business presence and gain word-of-mouth recommendations via the like function. At its essence, Facebook is a referral hub, where folks can freely and spontaneously endorse the things they’ve found to be of personal value (or not). Share what’s going on in your business and what’s new in the products you’re offering to create some buzz. Use Facebook to determine potential popularity of what you offer, or add to your current offerings, then study the responses and volume of referrals you can generate. In the open forum, folks have shown themselves well inclined to weigh in with opinions, reactions and support.
  • When you’re in the midst of launching a new business or developing a new product, social media marketing through Twitter works well to provide customers the desirable “fly on the wall” insight. Share progress of your work and see how the Twitterverse reacts, responds and, hopefully, re-tweets to others.
  • If you operate your own interactive forum, begin the discussion with topic headers about your products, your services, latest trends and so on. Invite your customers to weigh in on the discussion, but remind them to keep the discourse relevant and respectful, and see how they’ll run with the conversation, both with you as well as with other customers.
Wherever you start your conversations, keep your overtures brief, fun and even a bit playful. Remember that social media is done best in a relaxed style

Wherever you start your conversations, keep your overtures brief, fun and even a bit playful. Remember that social media is done best in a relaxed style. Avoid rigid or trite marketing pitches or dry product details. Talk to your prospective customers as you might strike up an informal conversation with people you meet in the world each day—simple, relaxed and friendly.

Don’t tell, ask

Well-crafted product or business pitches still have a place in today’s culture yet it’s the informed consumer who will often reject heavy handed come-ons. Rather than push your products in your social network marketing, allow your customers to pull them their way by allowing them to tell you what they like or don’t like.

When you use the “ask” approach, you recognize your customers’ intelligence and insight, allowing them to form their own opinions and share those with others. Position your product in a public setting then ask for feedback. You might be surprised at the candor that comes your way, which will help you better understand and cater to your target audience’s wants and needs.

Make the conversation about the customer

As you’ve already noticed, these conversational connections are intended to focus on your customers and their reactions to whatever it is you’re offering. To this end, be sure to discuss how what you offer will make a difference to your customers in their lives, be it to solve their problems or provide them genuine entertainment.

Refrain from focusing on what you think are the best attributes of your products. Instead, connect those to your customers’ desires, elaborating on how your customers’ lives can be enriched by what you’re offering. Make the conversation about the customer, and they’ll likely respond by sharing how well your product makes for a fulfilling experience.

Encourage and reward feedback

When you engage customers with overtures that ask their opinions and solicit their candid feedback, you’re on the right path to gather responses and recommendations. Sometimes, however, you might want to sweeten the proposition by offering rewards to those who respond to your social network marketing.

Be sure to recognize your customers when they’re providing supportive feedback to you, your business and your products

Rewards needn’t always be of some tangible or monetary value; often just being responsive to customer comments can show customers you’re paying attention and are actively seeking a conversation. Other times, though, you could offer some form of product discounts or special offerings for those who respond quickly and thoughtfully (think of taking a sort of “contest” approach to reward the best comments).

While, these days, folks are rather open to sharing their opinions with others, sometimes it can help to break the ice with a bit of reward, especially if you’re just now venturing into this sort of customer conversation strategy.

Spotlight your customer conversations

Finally, be sure to recognize your customers when they’re providing supportive feedback to you, your business and your products. With their permission, use their comments as testimony that you can feature where your sell your products, or even on the products themselves. All businesses are looking for positive reviews of what they offer; you should, too. And, your customers will usually be proud to see their words (and possibly their names) plainly visible for others to see.

Create channels to start and maintain conversations with your customers. With today’s social tools and mindset, it’s easier than ever to get a discussion started. Take advantage of the opportunity to engage customers, get them talking, and, hopefully, get their positive recommendations for the products and services you want to offer to them.


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About the author

Dennis L. Prince
Dennis L. Prince has been analyzing and advocating the e-commerce sector since 1996. He has published more than 12 books on the subject, including How to Sell Anything on eBay...and Make a Fortune, second edition (McGraw-Hill, 2006) and How to Make Money with MySpace (McGraw-Hill, 2008). His insight is actively sought within online, magazine, television and radio venues. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.



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