Although digital marketing and social media strategies are typically tied to tangible business results such as ROI, sales and customer conversions, even the fanciest of promotions and landing pages means little if your brand or business is incapable of having a conversation, whether it’s with customers (satisfied or not), other brands and, frankly, anyone in the social space.
Valeria Maltoni not only understands conversation—she’s a master at it, which is why she’s built her personal brand as the Conversation Agent. Valeria recently gave a presentation in Kansas City as part of Social:IRL’s event “Rethinking Business in the Age of the Social Consumer.”
Of course, a brand or business can’t dive into the social space without first defining the brand, a formula that Valeria defined as promises made, promises kept and the unbounded expectations of the market.
It sounds deceptively simple, but defining your brand—and sticking to that definition—will create the foundation on which you’ll build your digital marketing strategy. And if that foundation is shaky, it will likely be no surprise that your resulting strategy has weaknesses, too. And in today’s consumer-driven market, your brand will be punished for inconsistencies, as Valeria pointed out with two examples: the Netflix/Qwikster debacle, and Bank of America’s poorly executed plan to charge additional debit card fees.
Once you have that critical definition in place, then you can begin creating a social strategy and diving into the various social channels. And this is where conversation becomes vital. Sure, you want to educate your audience and share compelling content. But being able to hold a conversation—and, more importantly, actively listening—are mandatory when it comes to your brand’s success.
“The more you can close that gap between promises and sincerity, the more expectations you can meet,” Valeria says. And the more expectations you meet, the more you can continue to elevate your services and enable your brand’s growth.
As you create and delve into a digital marketing strategy, it can become increasingly easy to be enticed by blog posts that claim to teach you the science of retweets, or which words you can use to have your content shared more often. Ignore them! Instead, as Valeria suggests, worry more about what you put out into your social channels. After all, conversation is an art, and listening is an act. By being social and engaging in the present moment, your brand will have far more success online than others who sink unnecessary time into purportedly deciphering the science of Twitter or Facebook.
The bottom line? Conversation is an opportunity to uncover what your business is about. You’ll get insight from your audience, whether you’re conversing with those who use your product or simply enjoy your brand. You’ll learn what you can do better from those who have an unsatisfactory experience with your business. Plus, you’ll likely discover opportunities that result from paying attention, whether it’s converting a dissatisfied customer, further connecting with a brand ambassador or enticing a first-time user to check you out.
After all, the key word in social media is “social.” And if your brand or business isn’t prepared to meaningfully connect with an audience on a social level, the tools will do little to bring your digital marketing strategy into fruition.
Valeria’s presentation was terrific and if you get the chance to hear her speak, do.