How do marketers cut through all of the chatter on social media?

Sit at the same table.iStock_000017609494Large

My first business endeavor almost ended over a desk. Setting up the small office space my partner and I spent two days searching for the perfect desks. We bickered from folding chairs hunched over our laptops while searching for the best desk layout. She argued for the clean open feeling of a l-shaped model offering that each desk would neatly fit into a corner of the office, giving us each privacy. I countered with the ample storage and workspace provided byu-shaped desks.

At an impasse, we decided to get both, as well as a big kitchen farm table as well. Now we were literally were always seated at the same table. This created more opportunity for meaningful discussion, the occasional eye roll, and most importantly nearly constant engagement. It’s hard to ignore someone sitting just across from you.

Similarly, businesses wishing to create identities and capitalize on social media need to sit at the same table as their customers–figuratively speaking. Feel free to utilize Facebook for giveaways to attract attention, customers love freebies. But, do not just rely on the power of the free to attract likes and loyalty. Instead encourage comments or creativity. Make contests and giveaways about them and their stories. Users will click back to the comment thread to check out other submissions and feel the warmth of their own spotlight.

Openly ask for stories about your product. Ask for feedback, even if its negative. Be willing to grow from what your customers tell you. Encourage users to engage visually by utilizing social photo apps like Instagram, or even social video apps like Vine to respond. Words are nice, but a picture is worth a thousand words–especially on the Internet.

Devote time to thanking customers for visiting your page. Feel free to thank them for their like and their comments. Ask them open-ended follow-up questions that can’t be answered with a yes, no, or simple shrug of the shoulders. Allow their role in the story to blossom. Engagement is key. Allow customers to steer the conversation and be willing to take inspiration from it. Build ideas for products or marketing from what they tell you. Listening is more important than talking in a conversation, take stock of what your customers tell you so you may give them what they want.

Seated at the same table with the focus sharply on them, your customers will help sustain any campaign launched. A starring role ensures that they have investment in the success of your business. After all in addition to being a customer, they are also the pitchman.

You Have to Be Social to Get Chosen

The social media rewards those users who are in a conversation. While previous generations passively consumed marketing, social media users get a starring role in each campaign. Today’s are hungry for engagement and relationship. Your customers use social media users and demand the ability to digest, repost, comment, remix, and tag everything.

Social media engagement requires constant conversation. Telling customers what to buy through advertising registers as a flat monologue. Savvy marketers ride the coattails of conversation through all its viral tunnels and redirects into the view of new customers. And if you play your social media strategy right, you’ll ride the wave to profits.