Nowadays, it’s not impossible to know your customers’ wants and needs by capturing and examining actionable data on their interests, habits, background, and more. Despite this, some brands find they have little to say to their customers. They believe they can’t keep their customers interested and engaged, so they retreat from the strategy and go back to blasting out a generic message, treating first party data like an email list.
In this battle for loyalty, retreat is surrender. Never before have customers positively clamored for so much direct connection with brands. Creating high-quality conversations with customers requires a commitment to tools and skills that encourage natural momentum and trust. In addition to earning a reputation as a well respected brand, giving your customers a voice comes with quite tangible payoffs such as improved long-tail SEO, qualified referral traffic, and ultimately, more conversions.
Here are some tips to help you create higher quality customer conversations.
It Can’t Be All About You
Like any good relationship, a true conversation requires both listening and expression. If your challenge with social media is a sense that you are wearing out your welcome on stage, or that you’re stepping up to the microphone without enough to say, then that mindset itself is the problem. Socially engaged customers don’t want to replace a one-on-one call center or in-store interaction with a social post. They want a safe, stable haven for conversations to unfold and evolve, with the freedom and flexibility to jump in at any time.
Give customers an easy way to establish themselves as part of your community via their social identities so they can authentically interact with your community and share worthy content. As your customers contribute to dialog around your brand, they produce fresh user generated content, which boosts SEO and drives more engagement.
Millennials Insist on Conversations
A multinational survey by Edelman Berland found that 67% of American millennials feel responsible for offering their thoughts and perspectives to brands. Their global peers are even more driven to share—the global average is 70 percent.
Millennials in particular want the brand to be part of the conversation, but they want to be the ones who steer the conversation. According to a survey, Millennials admitted that they trust peer reviews 50% more than other media sources.
Implement software (e.g. ratings and reviews, comments or voting) that allows users to voice their opinions on your site. By doing this, you open avenues for these consumers to share their feedback in a direct, authentic way.
Relevance Encourages Openness and Quality
Encouraging your customers to be open and authentic means asking them to show their real online identity – something social login can do quickly and painlessly. Think customers would prefer anonymity? A recent Accenture survey found that 64% of consumers choose permission-based personalized interactions over anonymous engagement. Nearly three in four surveyed in the same study say they prefer giving their business to brands which deliver a more relevant, personalized environment. This generation of online consumer doesn’t mind being identified, so long as their identity is used to help improve the quality of the experience.
What’s more, authentication keeps content quality higher by offering an extra layer of accountability when leaving comments and reviews. In other words, users are more likely to be more cognizant of what they say when their name is tied to it. Social authentication also weeds out spambots and other junk posters who would otherwise pollute the quality of the conversation.
Require your community to contribute by first authenticating with a validated social identity. Doing so is proven to increase the quality of conversations across your site. As an added bonus, you’ll get stronger user engagement while reducing spammy comments and reviews.
To learn more about facilitating deeper brand engagement and greater conversions, download the free guide, 4 Consumers Signals You Can’t Afford to Ignore.
By Kevin White