Tell me you haven’t found yourself at one end or the other of an exchange like this. I’m experiencing it with a company I’ve known for years. It’s a case of how a business’ effort to engage in dialog can be worse than not engaging at all.
Talking too much? Or, saying too little?
“People listen when you have something to say. But, they’ll tune out when you talk too much.” Sage advice for living delivered to me by Stu Roberts, program director at WCFR, Springfield, VT where I worked at in my 20’s. Today his advice has become a life-or-death directive for your advertising.
It’s not about being interesting. You have to be more interesting than what’s going on in your customer’s head already. And, nothing sells like self-interest–your customer’s self-interest.
Here’s an example: At least twice a week (often more) I see Facebook posts by a company I know well. I could care less: every freakin’ post exists to promote a sale item at the store. No tips on using the product. No customers experiences stories. No human element. Come see. Come buy. It’s all shill all the time.
The topper: a post on Christmas eve promoting a sale price on an office product that day only till 3pm–a great deal for Ebenezer Scrooge, maybe.
A double-dipped waste of time
Next to forwarded “send this to ten friends or bad things will happen” emails, nothing irritates me like a self-serving Facebook/Linkedin/Twitter post. The business wastes time sending it. I waste time seeing it. They don’t connect. I don’t come buy. A relationship fades.
No post would be better than an all-about-us post. Same goes for blogging: you do it to create a dialog. You write, they read. They respond, you respond. How meaningfully you respond determines growing life or lingering death for the relationship.
Sit on the other side of the table
I own a fancy schmancy Livescribe Pulse Smartpen. It records what I write and transfers it to my computer. Love it. Think everyone should get one. Just like that other company, I get emails and Facebook posts from them too. Difference is, Livescribe provides updates on new feature upgrades and examples of more effective use of the pen–and only an occasional sale message.
They’ve invested in me: helping me get more out of my purchase. I’ve invested in them: probably selling a dozen of these things when clients see how I use it. That’s a solid social media relationship.
Extend the dialog in your advertising
Apple caught social media whispers about iPod Nano users tuning out of their iPod in favor of the radio. While controlling their music experience was important, core iPod customers were seeking out new music by listening to the radio. So, Apple put an FM radio in the latest iPod Nano.
Social media flagged the interest. Apple tested it, produced the product, advertised it. The dialog circle was complete. Nano sales are up.
Intelligence unused is stupid
Advertising’s two-way dialog means your advertising will work better when you provide for customer interaction. Whether it’s emails, blogging, or a survey, give your customers a way to interact with you beyond the basic buying decision. Then, listen. Address concerns. Apply what you learn.
Customers want to help you improve the buying experience–if you’re willing to listen and respond. Information becomes intelligence only when you apply it.