In the last two posts we talked about researching your audience and tailoring your messaging to fit the platforms that audience uses everyday. Now, I’d like you to consider the following: think of the dynamic between brand and audience like a real relationship.
Stay with me… in the beginning of a new relationship, developing trust is key. Underneath the spark of passion that brought the two together is a common desire to learn about each other. After that spark dies down, the relationship becomes about being supportive and dependable. Listening to each other and addressing problems head on as they come up.
Most of all, this relationship requires you to be a people person. Consumers connect with stories and the strongest stories are about people. Your brand connects with people, and it’s essential that you understand the place you have in their lives. At the end of the day if people ask you, “what is your brand really about?” the answer is going to be “it’s about the people who love our [insert product/service here].”
You may be thinking, okay but how do I get that engagement rate up? If you take away one thing from this post let it be this: it is not easy to engage an audience, especially on social media. It requires creative thinking, researching, planning, and adjusting.
A PTAT study that was conducted on 200 brands showed only one had 2% of their fans engage with them on Facebook during a seven day period. It’s not enough to be on the platform. Brands have to start, facilitate, listen to and engage in conversations with their audiences.
In The Passion Conversation by the Brains on Fire team, the authors break down the three motivations that spark conversations about brands and organizations.
1. “People engage in Functional conversations about brands to get information needed to make decisions and to better interpret the world around them,” (46).
2. “People engage in Social conversations about brands to impress others, to express uniqueness and to increase their reputations,” (49).
3. “Brands that invoke strong Emotional feelings are more likely to be talked about,” (52).
If you can pinpoint which type of dynamic your brand has with your audience — functional, social, emotional, or a combination — you can better optimize your message to be received by your audience.
Why go through all of this analysis? Because the goal is to be a brand that consumers want to talk about, that they want to point to and identify with.
I can attest — I have a few brands that when brought up by one of my friends, I can talk about for a solid amount of time. I’m passionate about them and the functional, social, and emotional roles they play in my daily life. I am an example of the goal for those brands because I advocate for them.
The same authors give their definition of advocacy.
“Advocacy occurs when people are inspired and empowered to share their love for an idea, cause, product of brand, so much that they become a living messenger for that idea, cause, product of brand,” (43).
In all the ways that brands present themselves to consumers and through all the avenues, advocacy should be the intention behind it.
So, the more you learn about your audience through research, social listening and analytics, the easier it will be to find the best channels of communication, media, and messaging to connect with that audience and other people looking to make a similar connection. Once that connection happens, you can analyze it and find new ways of making it last.