Content is one of the best tools brands have for connecting with their audience and building meaningful relationships.
And yet so much of the content we see as consumers wastes this opportunity. Rather than striking up a human conversation with us, and encouraging dialogue, many brands make content that speaks AT us rather than WITH them.
The real value of content lies in its ability to give a voice and personality to your brand, forming human connections with your followers that you can grow and nurture over time.
How can brands do this more effectively? How to turn your content from impersonal, one-way information into a valuable dialogue that makes customers feel like a part of things and a member of the conversation?
In this post, we’ll cover a few ways you can do that and some best practices to follow. Let’s get started.
Try to move away from overly dry and technical tones and topics, and build content that connects with your readers on a human level.
This is harder for some industries than others, but even the most technical niches can benefit from using a more personal and conversational tone in at least some of their content. Here are some of the ways you can do that:
Content works best when it’s a two-way street. That means every piece of content you put out there should give readers the option to join the conversation. This helps you connect with your audience, build relationships, and start a dialogue.
Here are some ways to do that:
When you create content, it should always be relevant to your audience’s concerns.
Make sure you’re actually answering their questions — even the ones they haven’t explicitly asked. You can find out what your customers are talking about through surveys, spending time on the same sites and forums they do, and by taking part in social listening (observing what your followers talk about on social media).
By getting to know your customers, their problems, and their needs, you can create content they’ll actually want to read. You’re starting a dialogue by responding to them, even if they haven’t directly approached you yet.
Email is an incredibly popular way to communicate, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. There are 3.9 billion daily email users in the world, and this is predicted to grow to 4.3 billion by 2023.
Whoever your target audience is, they’re almost certainly checking their email inbox regularly. This, combined with the personal, dialogue-focused format of email, makes it the perfect channel to start a conversation.
Use your emails to address common questions your readers might have, encourage replies, and do what you can to drive interaction and dialogue.
Games and contests like sweepstakes and quizzes can be a fun way to get some interaction going between your brand and your customers.
A competition can be as simple as asking users to like and share a social media post to be in with a chance to win a prize. You can ask them to share some personal stories, ideas, or suggestions to ramp up the conversation even more.
Social media is designed for conversation and interaction. It’s the perfect format for brands to talk to their followers and build a more personal and human relationship.
Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram all offer brands a direct line to their customers. You can ask questions, conduct polls, reply to comments, encourage the sharing of your posts, and create valuable content that solves your audience’s problems in a quick and digestible way.
To wrap up, let’s take a look at a few brands that are getting the dialogue with their audience just right.
OREO is great at replying to its followers on social media. They keep it light, friendly, and personal, even when dealing with complaints. Customer service doesn’t have to be dry and stuffy, and it shouldn’t be.
Check out this fun banter between OREO and some of its competitors:
When it comes to funny and light-hearted posts, Denny’s leading the charge on Twitter and Facebook. Its content shows customers that it’s possible to run a brand on social media without being overly formal. Humour is a key part of having a good conversation (ever been stuck in a room with a painfully unfunny person?) and the same rules apply to your brand conversations.
From Wendy’s, we can learn how to use the power of competition to engage with followers and gain some publicity.
When a fan tweeted the restaurant’s account asking, “how many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets”, Wendy’s rose to the challenge, responding with, “18 million”.
The response resulted in a high-profile and hilarious competition. It was a perfect example of how a fun conversation with a follower can lead to massive exposure.
Are you interested in starting better conversations with your audience through quality content that speaks to their pain points and answers their questions? Get in touch to find out how we can help you do exactly that.