Engaging with your audience

I had quite a relaxed day today and had thoughts over a coffee about how companies or individuals engage with their target audience / customers and offer that two way conversation.

In short, I have identified the following basics that can be considered relating to Social Networking Sites and Review/Forum sites.

Social Networking Sites: What kind of companies / individuals use sites like facebook, YouTube and myspace?  The answer for me is those that are looking to communicate directly with thier audience, draw them in and develop a relationship through regular communication.  Record labels, events, lifestyle brands, big FMCG brands and recording artists are examples of this.  Brands that are looking to develop a relationship with a younger audience are a good example of this – brands could include Nike, Honda, Pepsi, Coca-Cola.   In addition to social networking sites, email and blogs have become important methods for this this too.

Also, there is a great opportunity for artists, singers etc. to develop a relationship with fans, and talk directly to them as well as answering questions personally.  This is the best method of marketing to fans – it is a true and real relationship and helps to build loyalty and spread word of mouth.

Review Sites / Forums: On the other hand there are review sites and forums.  These provide the opportunity for customers and consumers to rule and have their say as well as engage with people that have similar interests.  TripAdvisor.com is a very popular hotel review sites where users can post reviews of their experiences at certain hotels and score on certain criterias, as well as post photos.  These kind of sites offer an excellent medium for unbiased reviews to be given to provide of customers with the insight they need to help them make a purchasing decision.   This is a great shop window for brands to show how great they are in comparison to their competition – a great incentive to ensure that their offering is the best!

It is important that brands get involved on these sites and ensure that they are aware of what is being said about their product, service or brand.  Any negative comments should be responded to limit the damage, and feedback should be considered for quality development.

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