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Leadership in Marketing

Release Date

10 December 2013

I’m sure you’ve been there.  Bored to tears by someone who only talks about themselves, never pauses for breath or asks a question, and doesn’t pay attention to the clear signals to ‘please stop!’

For many years, this was the world of marketing – taking the lead and controlling the communication to target audiences.  How things have changed! 

Social media has given over much of the lead on communications to the customer, converting the role of marketing into prompting and participating in a conversation.  Holding a two way conversation allows you to interact and engage with consumers in a direct and responsive way, forging stronger relationships and also eliciting valuable insights into your market.
Just like the scenario above, social media conversations are like ‘real life’ conversations – similar rules apply to ensuring your audience isn’t dying to escape.

Here are five tips on holding a conversation with your customers, in the new age of social media:

1. It’s not about you, it’s about them.

You shouldn’t be constantly talking about your company and products. Not only is that boring, you’re not interacting with others if you focus only on yourself.
When you’re posting on social media, think of the 70-20-10 rule:
• 70% of your posts should be adding value through information or entertainment.
• 20% of your posts should be sharing other people’s ideas or Facebook posts. Consider commenting on other’s posts to add additional value or build additional credibility
• 10% of your posts should be promotional - endorsing products or announcing upcoming events.

2. Participate – don’t eavesdrop.

A conversation is not about sitting silently on the outskirts; you need to get involved with comments and starting conversations.
Consider sharing a report you have developed with a relevant community group, or asking an open question about a business problem. Invite customers to join the conversation within your own social media pages, through your emails, events, invoices and other ‘offline’ communications. 

By adding interesting content exclusively to your social media pages, like weekly offers or video, you can quickly generate interest.

3. Openly address the negative.

Not all of the conversations may be positive, and there are inherent opportunities to engaging in conversations which focus on the negative.
By responding promptly to complaints online, you can develop a lasting relationship with your consumers.  Furthermore, you can build kudos with other community members by showing that you are listening and care about your customers.

4. Be human, make it personal.

No one holds a lasting conversation with a robot. Personalisation is critical when it comes to your communications, so it’s essential to be yourself. Social media makes it easy to bring your company culture to life through posts, photos and designs. 
However you should still establish guidelines for your team, to ensure that conversations are maintained within the boundaries of professionalism and reflective of your brand values.

5. Entertain me.

Ever been stuck in a heavy conversation with no light relief?  Interjecting some entertainment into your content will break up the serious content and catch community attention. 
As the forward thinking sociologist Marshal McLuhan said, on the advent of the television, “Anyone who tried to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know a thing about either”. 
In the world of the social media, that comment has never been more relevant.

Need help with social media?  For FREE coaching and training in digital marketing in the greater Sydney area, go to www.depgreatersydney.com.au.

Kathryn Rae
Senior Manager, Consulting & Solutions

About the Author



Kathryn Rae

Combining big picture focus with an eye for the small details, Kathryn is an expert at integrated marketing strategy and drawing together multiple campaign executions.

Kathryn is passionate about delivering real results from marketing, and enjoys working with all sizes of businesses – particularly learning about their industries and their new, innovative products. Her broad marketing and events experience covers sixteen years within a range of industries including medical, scientific, media, IT and administrative services.

Kathryn has worked with a range of government clients, including AusIndustry, AusTrade, Workcover and Department of Industrial Relations.

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