By Katrina Olson
This article originally appeared 5/26/2015 as an Exclusive Feature on tedmag.com.
In the April 14 Marketing Momentum, we discussed 10 ways to create content that gets attention. This column will address number seven on that list, “Communicate often,” and number eight, “Give Them What They Want.”
Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are great places to build your brand, communicate with customers, build relationships and directly engage with customers. They’re also useful for sharing information.
But too often, a big gap exists between what we want to tell our customers and prospects, and what they want to know. For example, do your Facebook and Twitter followers really care how many years you’ve been in business or how many items you stock? Probably not.
If you’re not sure what they want to know, read the comments on the social media platforms they are using and answer these questions:
- What are people most excited about?
- What topics keep coming up?
- What problems are they discussing?
- What problems are they having trouble solving (and how can you help)?
- What frustrates them?
- What are they saying about your products or services — and about your competition’s?
Rather than sharing content that serves your own purposes when it is only convenient for you—start by addressing the topics already being discussed and answer those questions.
Communicate often… or when they want.
Between the 121 emails each of us sends and receives per day and the 200-300 Facebook friends we’re each tracking, plus texts, Snapchats, Twitter, Facebook and more —your message can easily get overlooked.
This message clutter, compounded by our short attention spans and compulsion to multitask, means we need to communicate and interact with our customers often…or at least on a regular basis. Here are a few tips:
- Invite them to join the conversation by asking for feedback or opinions
- Don’t send the same message over and over (i.e. vary the content and approach)
- Let customers choose how often they receive emails (e.g. once a week or month)
Also, use multiple platforms, leveraging the strengths of each. For example, use Twitter for announcements and links to articles, and LinkedIn for company news. Your followers will know what to expect from each platform and can choose which they want to receive.
Give them what they want.
Number eight on our list of ways to create attention-getting marketing is “Give them what they want.” This means appealing to your followers’ interests, sharing information useful to them, and giving them a reason to communicate with you.
Your followers need and deserve an incentive, reward or benefit for reading your content. Here are some suggestions for developing engaging content:
- teach them something new by sharing your expertise
- educate them about trends in your industry
- tell customer stories (with permission, of course)
- offer discounts, private sales or gifts (occasionally)
- tell them about new products and services that will solve their problem
- invite them to an event (virtual or real)
- share an entertaining video, picture or meme that relates to your industry
- hold a contest just for your followers (with a valuable prize)
- play games; it’s okay to just have fun
As you’re interacting and engaging with customers digitally, you’ll likely get both positive and negative feedback. Try to respond to both promptly. When you see a positive comment about your products, services or company, it’s appropriate to say “thank you.”
If you see a negative comment, respond briefly and politely, then contact the person directly to resolve the situation. If they comment anonymously, invite them to contact you directly so you can address their concerns.
NEXT WEEK: We’ll wrap up this series on creating content that gets attention by discussing how to make it easy for readers to respond.
Olson is a veteran marketing and public relations consultant. She has written for tED magazine’s print edition since 2005, judged tED magazine’s Best of the Best Competition since 2006, and emceed the Best of the Best Awards ceremony for a total of seven years. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.