Conversation Marketing: The Conversation is the Thing

Christine Fife

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Sharing: What It Means to Participate

5th of 6 Posts

To date, this blog series on what it means to participate in the market conversation has covered Listening, Speaking and Caring. We’ve now gotten to the 4th of the 5 most important objectives in a conversation marketing strategy: Sharing.

This one is simple: share your experiences—positive and negative—and your insights as you grow your company and evolve your product lines. I’m sure you don’t need me to go into depth about why it is nice to share. So I’ll launch right into a how-to.

Don’t be stingy, share!

What Does it Mean to Care? How Do I Show that?

  1. Through your company’s established communications/conversation channels, let your audiences know what’s new. Depending on what news you have to share and the information outlets you establish as applicable for your company, you’ll want to consider: press releases, new content on your website, Tweets (twitter or microblog postings), blog posts, individual communications to influencers, forum or other online community posts, newsletters, email blast, traditional on and offline advertisements, social media network page mentions, and many others. This is about letting the world know what’s new! Be proud, let people know. But don’t forget, not everyone cares and different people like to receive information in different ways, so share, but be considerate–don’t spam or smam people/networks.
  2. Share positive customer experiences. You’ll still want to consider the same outlets listed above to point people to the stories, but here you’ll also want to seriously consider the format. Be fun and inventive, but true to your brand personality: videos, podcasts, testimonial quotes, case studies, slide decks, etc.
  3. Share negative company experiences. What! you say? Yep, sometimes it can be a boost to your audiences to see a company take ownership of mistakes. Here’s an example: An online retailer experiences a glitch in their systems and looses all of a day’s orders (probably wouldn’t happen, but got with it for this exampe.) What are their options? They could ignore it and wait for all those customers to complain that they didn’t receive their purchase. Hmmm, that would probably be a lot of pissed off people who are likely to start telling other people what a shitty company you are. Probably not the best option. What else could they do? They don’t know who made a purchase that day, because they all got lost, so they can’t just contact the people to let them know. But they do have the emails of all the people that have purchased from them in the past. They also use Twitter to tell people about special deals and many of their customers follow them on Twitter. Well, those are a great place to start. They could own up to the computer failure and email their customers and Tweet to their followers that they had this problem. They’re very sorry it happened and have taken additional steps to ensure it will never happen again. They appreciate their customers and want to offer a 10% discount for everyone for the next week so that individuals who need to redo their purchase have an incentive to use come back. Getting the word out may be showing a weakness, but it’s also showing that the company is human AND responsible. They’ll loose some of those customers, but at least it will help head off a bunch of online complaints about how terrible the company is and may bring in new customers because of the offered discount.

There are many other things a company can share, as well. For example, you could share links to third party endorsements or industry reports or a blog post that advocates the method your company takes for fulfilling a customer’s want/need. You can share things that don’t have your company or product mentioned, too. The most important thing is to keep in mind what the best method of delivery is, what format is going to have the biggest impact and what is helpful to share (both for your company as well as your customers.)

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More Stories By Christine Fife

As I drove off to college I never would have guessed I would end up here! But it’s been a fantastic journey. My career has been richly diverse giving me an advantage over marketers who are siloed into niche positions. I strive to be a true Renaissance person—I love to learn about everything and trying new things comes naturally. My career has been no different; I’ve successfully launched enterprise software and medical device development startups, improved communications processes for the regulatory department of a major financial exchange, increased client business and product development for several international exchange program companies and founded an international educational non-profit organization. My master’s degree in Integrated Marketing from Golden Gate University gave me a broad understanding of traditional marketing best-practices, but my BA in theater gave me the skills to understand how people communicate with one another and the importance of promoting a brand in a voice that is right for the audience.