Monday, March 7, 2011

How To Have Value Added Conversations In Social Media

We all hear about having conversations on Social Media platform. We hear about have 'engaging' conversations. Involving humans to converse, share, comment, post and so on. Thereby creating better value added networking environment.

Lets just step back and understand what is the meaning of conversation. The essence of conversation is broken down by the 'sending' and 'receiving' criteria. It is 'encoding' and 'decoding', when this takes place it is 'interaction', a two way process. On the minimum side it can be two persons and ofcourse you can have more than two persons involved as well.

It would be easier to define conversation by saying what it probably is not: It is not a monologue. Though a monologue can be a catalyst to initiate a conversation.

Conversations could be face to face  and / or over a medium. The medium could be phone like telecon, SMS and so on, it could be over net like GTalk, Yahoo chats, emails, Social Networking Sites and so on.

Conversations can be of various types. They could be serious, they could be humorous, a mix, and so on.

What are the kind of conversations that you should have on Social Media Sites while working for your brand and business is a question that we need to answer. Before we start to answer this lets take a quick understanding of the people that you would want to have conversation with. Lets dwell a little deeper into the business side of conversations on Social Media Sites.

People join Online Social Sites because they would like to see what is taking place there, this could be to know about their friends and relatives and so on. The reasons are plenty. It could be to socialize, to keep in touch, to stalk, to check out details and so on. Perhaps to pass time and therefore engage into games like Mafia Wars and so on. When you wish to have a conversation with your customer set it is imperative that you know and understand on why they have connected with your Page. Based on this knowledge will you be able to leverage your conversations that are relevant and meaningful to the audience. Conversation need to be relevant or else the person is sure to leave your Page sooner or later.

You need to know what does your target customer set think of the Social Media Site. Do they use it frequently. Do they use it to learn and consume news and information. Do they use it to share, post and so on. When you can define this you will know and understand how deep will your conversations become eventually.

Do they trust online discussions? Do they share information that enables their network to say for instance buy something at a discounted rate and so on. When you will be able to pin point on the type of talks that they do it is then that you will be able to cater to their requirement and involve them.

Emotions play a very important role. If you can trigger the emotional connect then your audience will be connected with you in a deeper manner. There are a couple of important parts to your conversations:
  • How does your target audience feel and behave while on Social Media Sites: This is imperative. As shared above you need to understand the usage and attitude towards the particular Social Media Site that you are considering.
  • Why do they join your Page: As marketeers you may indulge in giving out certain offers if people join your Page. However keep in mind the bigger picture. People do not only want to see a complete Page full of discounts and so on. The excitement will go out. Have a Page philosophy.
  • Page philosophy: While you have your Brand Philosophy in tact you also need to decide on what is your Page Differentiation and Philosophy. It is essential that you pre-decide on the reason as to 'why should people join your Page'. Is it that they will receive exclusive offers, or a launch preview etc.
  • What you mention: It is critical you have a list of things that you would like to mention. This ofcourse needs to be in tandem with what your brand stands for and what your customer set is looking for.
  • How you say it: This is all about tone of voice. What you say needs to be accompanied by the manner and tone of voice. This forms the essence of the brand behavior.
Along with this ofcourse you need to have your brand personality drawn out and well developed so you know how to behave on the Sites. Social Media Networking is part of the overall marketing scenario. It is not a separate silo that one works within. Our Social Media efforts are an extension of the brand's overall marketing efforts. Just like any other aspect of marketing like advertising [print, tv, radio, outdoors etc], Social Media is also one of these. Ofcourse the modus operandi would be different. However our target audience would be part of the overall target audience itself.

More to read:
Parameters To Plan Your Social Media Strategy

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