As a digital marketing agency, we are constantly talking about the importance of two-way conversations between brands and their intended audience. We're often asked whether this is fact or just our opinion. We have stated the facts about how it is important, and that those who communicate with audiences tend to generate more leads and sales, etc.
However, hard facts about consumer behaviours and social media interaction are often not reported on other websites. Why? There are several reasons for this. Firstly, most sites that report on the connection between social media use and consumer behaviour are looking at getting brands to use social media.
Going too much in depth of what is required might be shooting themselves in the foot in terms of achieving this goal. Secondly, these sites tend to look at hosting events and sell other products to earn money. Therefore, they must keep back certain information to make those products and events valuable to their audience.
Thirdly, sometimes the information that needs to be covered is too strategic, editorial, or otherwise unsuitable for their brand. Therefore, these websites don’t cover them.
There is nothing wrong with this. It is just their target content.
My Job Is Too Teach
But as a digital marketing agency, my job is to get clients to effectively think about their strategic and tactical use of social media, so we regularly research best practices and strategies.
This is one of the reasons why we attempt to include a research-based article every week.
One thing that has always interested me is how consumers react to content published on social media channels. There are so many brands online and consumers often only glimpse a small amount of content before deciding on whether to interact or follow a brand or not. What changes the consumer’s perception of a brand and makes them become important enough to start a relationship with?
Then I read an article recently about brand behaviours on social media and how that can influence consumer perception. The article, written by Bruno Schivinski and Dariusz Dabrowski looked at how two-way conversations can make a significant difference in that perception.
Popular Brands Engage In Two-Way Conversations
It is important to note that all the big brands who have a loyal consumer following have significant two-way communications. This is on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels. Just look at Starbucks and MacDonald’s as examples. They have a lot of interaction with their users.
Also, look at the way online articles discuss the best social media profiles. They are usually those that are in constant touch with their audiences. The reverse can be said for those that generally have the worst perceived social media campaigns.
The report highlights that one of the reasons for this trend is that major brands are looking to enhance the consumer experience. The better service the customer has, the more loyal they will become.
One of the more interesting aspects of the report is that their research shows that brand-created content does not affect consumer perceptions of brand value.
How Consumers React
Instead, it is how others react to the social media content that is more important. If a user sees that a piece of content has been shared dozens of times, they are more likely to place a high value on that content. A higher number of shares increases the content’s credibility.
This could explain why fake news sites regularly do well. They use this consumer behaviour to encourage more shares and increase acceptance of their content as truth.
In addition, the research stated that instead of focusing on consumer’s perceptions of a brand, the social media content needs to focus on changing their attitude towards the brand. This is more about creating content that is engaging and not salesy.
Those running your social media campaigns should also look at building associations between other brands. These are common goal alliances between brands where content is shared to increase audience by cross promotion. For instance, an accountant could help to promote a business coach, or a health and safety company could help to promote an HR consultancy.
This is something that at TwoFeetMarketing we have been doing for the past few years. We look at our clients and see who could help each other. It helps us curate third party content, change consumer interactions and improve interaction rates for all clients.
Finally, while many believe that the consumer’s perception of brand value is most important, the research finds that it is the consumer’s attitude towards the brand that is more valuable.
Are You Developing Two-Way Conversations with Your Audience?
With the research, we can clearly see that two-way communication, third party sharing, and strong social media links are important to selling online. Using your social media profiles to just sell will gain you little attention. But by making it a conversation hub – you can generate more interest in your brand and sell to your consumers.
Do you communicate with your audience? What is your top tip for communication?
Let us know in the comments below.