The Art of Conversation.

Remember cartoons? Sitting in front of the tv on Saturday morning absorbed in this world of pure fantasy. Remember the advertising? Each toy or sugary breakfast cereal bigger and better than the last. These mornings shaped my entire attitude towards shopping. The promise of something better with each new ad, a product far superior to its predecessor. Ads promised bigger and brighter and I was intrigued, if not a little addicted, to what they would come up with next. A pint sized voyeur in the world of consumerism, I watched marketers stories play out in front of me.

As I grew up the afterglow from traditional advertising methods faded. I began to rely on friends recommendations more than the promises advertisers made. I seems I was old enough to have been let down by products that didn’t deliver on their promises. So how do marketers reach people like me, who seem to have closed themselves off to their message?

The answer is Social Media. And more specifically, businesses who are moving away from the one to many communication model. The internet offers an opportunity to speak with customers, find out what they like (and what they don’t). It is the ultimate low-cost focus group on an international scale. So let’s look at a company who is using social media, specifically Facebook, to converse with their customers and build relationships and brand loyalty.

Target, no longer a dreary low cost department store, through a combination of great collaborations with designers and an innovative marketing campaign, these guys have got it right. On their page this month, as they celebrate their 50 year anniversary, they ask their fans about their first Target memory. 2401 likes and 1120 comments in less than 6 days. Customers, employees, old and young post comments. But with Social Media, you can’t control what people are saying, you just have to be happy they are saying something.

In February 2011, Target gained brownie points and huge interest by running a Facebook Campaign giving their fans the choice of which charity would benefit from a $1,000,000 donation. It created a ‘boom on the store’s Facebook page’ wrote Jeff Bullas on his blogpost ‘The 10 Best Facebook Campaigns’. Think of the buzz this would create as fans watched the votes roll in. Consider the conversation, fans asking their friends to vote. Each time the link forwarded, or ‘like’, all the friends of that fan could see what was going on.  A great example of a company allowing their fans to create interest and generating brand awareness, by giving them something interesting to talk about and be part of.

Campaigns like this explain the 9,946,692 likes on Facebook and the 289,377 talking about the brand (when I logged in). Target continues to build a community around their brand, encouraging their customers to join the conversation by asking them to review, comment, link, and post.

So, seems easy enough if you have millions of dollars to give away. But how can the small guys, the new start ups get involved? Would be great to see some examples of small companies using Facebook to build a community without the cash injection.

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3 thoughts on “The Art of Conversation.

  1. Reblogged this on thesolutionissocialmedia and commented:
    Here is another post on Social Media, the example of Target is a Powerful and positive reminder of just what Social Media can do to interact with customers, employees and stakeholders.

  2. David says:

    Hi. Great Blog!

    I am wondering, I run a small Cafe and am trying to drive likes to our Facebook page. We have allocated 100 free coffee’s to give away to do this. Can you give me any practical idea’s, or any blogs for Hospitality businesses that have done this well ?

    Thanks for your help.

    David

    • Hi David,
      Try Facebook ads, and be specific. Ensure you specify demographic and location (eg Newmarket, not Auckland). Perhaps ask people to like the cafe. I would try 2-3 ads to try and capture your different markets. I assume you have a morning trade, probably for people on their way to work. Maybe then mothers who might stop by after their morning walk or to meet and socialize. You could run ads to suit both to ensure you are gain a variety of customers and building business throughout the day.

      Don’t forget to show this in the cafe, write it on a blackboard or at the cash register. When people see it, they might comment on it and encourage their friends to stop by.

      Hope this helps!

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