Social media tip: conversion follows conversation

by Steve Seager on November 10, 2009 . Views: 150

Social media is easy. Get followers, build business. Right?

For many people new to social media, your number of connections equals your level of success. The more followers the better, right?

Many businesses I have spoken with seem to love this approach. As do many marketers. The rationale being: let’s get the numbers up first. Then I can show my boss/director/manager how great social media is.

The only problem with this strategy is that once you make a connection in social media, people are expecting you to actually have a conversation with them. They want to know what value you can offer. They expect to be treated like a real person.

Just like in real life, if you gather a crowd, get them all excited, and then just tell them you are great, it’s rude. At best, they consider it a little odd. At worst, you lose your followers as quickly as you got them.

Followers do not convert into sales, traffic, conversions, downloads, and so on, without conversation. That’s a two way exchange of ideas, information, thoughts, that is of benefit to both parties. A real dialogue.

Conversion follows conversation

You need to invest time up front into figuring out how you can best add value to the people you are targeting. Start small. Focus on one channel. One small target group. And get into the habit of having real conversations with them.

This is already a big step for most businesses used to traditional channels that are primarily all about broadcasting.

So, the next time you post a comment in say, your LinkedIn channel, track the responses. Answer any comments. Work the conversation. Find out what people value, what they like, and don’t like. Get to know them. Just like in real life.

Once you have a handle on this conversation thing, once you figure out what it is that people value about your business the most, then it’s time to start thinking about how you can convert this into hard sales.

Any businessman worth his salt will question the value of social media. That’s good. So if you are a communications manager or marketing manager trying to convince your MD or CEO of the value of social media, don’t base it on how many followers you think you can get.

Instead, focus on trying to get just a few people engaged in conversation. And use the conversion rate. It’s a much better business argument.

My business partner Michiel, gives some great tips on the value of conversation here and here. Check them out!

  • Really like the image you used above!
    Personally, I prefer a few really engaged customers/fans than several who aren’t nearly as engaged. You know, the whole “Quality vs. Quantity” thing…

  • Thanks Ricardo.
    I absolutely agree. And I think that most businesses would prefer that too. if they could see it working.
    The trick is to help them build their business case. As you put it on your site, if you can help them stop mass marketing for a second – even in one small segment – and start engaging, then you have a proof point to build on.

  • Pingback: Profit: the bottom line of social media engagement()

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