Our digital age has introduced so many wonderful platforms for ordinary people to congregate and communicate. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s no overstatement to say that social media and online publishing have fundamentally marketing communications.
One of the most striking consequences is that marketers have had to re-evaluate their understanding of two-way conversation between brand and consumer.
The big lesson is that the way we communicate, the way we write, all has to adapt to two-way conversations. No longer is brand messaging directed at consumers as a one-way conversation.
Social media has forced us to be far more careful and purpose-driven in our messaging in order to steer conversations in the direction we intend.
Because having a conversation, or at least the ability to contribute to the debate, is now expected to be part of any engagement. Smart marketers are using this to their advantage by crafting campaigns to maximise the opportunity for consumers to engage around a particular topic.
Over the past few years, I’ve been gathering data from my various weekly online columns on the triggers that cause people to stop reading and start responding.
You can see the same happens in day-to-day conversations: when speaking to someone, you will see the precise moment a phrase or word you use activates a trigger. You will see quite clearly through fairly obvious body language that the other person stops listening and starts composing a response.
Being able to pick up those reactions and what they mean are as crucial for good inter-personal skills as they are for marketing success. Brands need to learn to listen and respond in a way that engages customers.