Creating Interactive Conversations Across Channels

  |  September 1, 2011   |  Comments

Align your channels with your consumer segments and think about specific messages for your consumers to create engagement.

Social media offers businesses a way to attract consumers, an effective way to engage, and an easier way to listen to consumers. The key to success is to integrate social into the overall brand mix.

Sadly, many companies tend to isolate "social" or just banish the responsibility to their digital group. As a result, social gets done in a vacuum; away or outside from the rest of the organization. So while the digital group tends to make great strides with social media, the potential positive impact of social media is greatly minimized.

Social media can positively impact many aspects of your business. It can also help you reduce some of the effort involved. Think about ways your consumer touches your brand. They may reach out to inquire about a product or service, seek an endorsement, look at commercials, review literature, and even provide you with valuable feedback. Think about how you can apply social media to help you with each of these activities.

A good way to start is by aligning your business goals to what you are trying to do with social media. Think about the three types of consumers you have; those you seek (prospects), those you already have (existing customers), and those who have stopped coming to your brand (disconnected or disengaged customers). Now think about specific messages you can say on each of your channels to engage, and reengage with these consumers.

A typical multi-channel organization has communication silos where each channel attempts consumer engagement through non-personalized conversations. Think about your interaction at an ATM. The first thing you are asked is to select your language, then your transaction. Wouldn't your experience be more personalized if the ATM remembered your language and favorite transaction?

HDFC Bank is a financial institution in India that leverages the time to recognize, remember, and anticipate the next step. It is driving 70 percent response rates and converting 21 percent on three touch transactions. For HDFC, leveraging the web with social media is just one of many consumer engagement tactics.

Rather than just printing a link to a survey on a paper receipt, think about offering your consumer some kind of incentive that would drive them back to your website. Once the consumer answers the question(s), you can refer them to your social sites to see responses from other consumers.

Businesses need to think beyond the standard set of welcome messages. You need to think about what you would say next to your consumers, meaning your channels need to recognize the consumer, and remember their preferences. If done correctly, your consumer can and will respond positively by providing their feedback on your social channels.

Most online retailers ship merchandise to their customers with a box that includes yet another print catalog. What if they were to add a little trivia, or incentive to the box that was being shipped?

A multi-channel cataloger that sells birdseeds started including trivia questions such as, "Do birds that eat bees ever get stung?" "What bird makes a figure eight with its wings?" "Why do cardinals kiss?" etc. They intrigued consumers to go to their blog to learn the answers. They make sure their blog includes updated articles, pictures, videos, and links to their other social sites. Almost 90 percent of consumers that visited their blog signed up for one of their social channels!

Think simple stuff first! Align your channels with your consumer segments and think about specific messages for your consumers to create engagement. When an engaged consumer speaks, other consumers listen, which can translate into more for your brand.

Moving From Random Acts of Messaging…

randommessaging

…To Creating Interactive Conversations

interactivemessaging

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sundeep Kapur

Sundeep Kapur has been assisting organizations with their converged channel marketing strategies since 1990. From direct marketing to digital to converged, he is a passionate teacher who works with businesses across multiple industries, helping them to enable technology and services to brand, and personalize and speak to consumers more effectively.

He is an industry-recognized expert who has delivered keynotes, run panels, and delivered "relevant, inspirational, and outstanding" education for organizations around the world.

Sundeep is also an avid user of social media, having leveraged words, pictures, and video into a conversational digital book. His daily dose of best practices can be found at www.EmailYogi.com, where he has more than 1,200 articles on best practices.

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