To engage consumers in social and eCRM, it’s often wise to start with the consumer’s agenda – what’s currently turning them on? Indeed, Headstream’s methodology in arriving at a “top 100 Social Brands” places significant weight on indulging the community’s interests over the brand’s agenda. As I have mentioned before, brands aren’t always as interesting as they’d like to think. So we need to make stuff up – content that will entice consumers to spend time with the brand.
However, ‘product talk’ is important and should remain integral to CRM plans* for three key reasons:
- Your product should be the reason that sparked the relationship in the first place – why the consumer opted in, followed or liked. If the initial connection had nothing to do with your product, it’s doubtful whether you’re even engaging someone who buys it. So talking product should be expected, even demanded, by your audience.
- Talking product, every so often, is critical – if only to remind consumers precisely what you’re selling. CRM is not just about keeping the brand top-of-mind, but also the products.
- Whether we like it or not, consumers increasingly use email and social channels to pose customer-service-type queries. Failure to answer these queries (talking product in an honest and straightforward fashion) risks a disproportionate amount of negative noise on a page, and misses an opportunity to reverse negative experiences
So how do you talk product most effectively?
The trick lies in adding value. So that the message is more than just news. There are lots of ways to do this, including:
- Announce to your CRM audience first, before the mainstream
- Allow your audience to exclusively purchase (or win) it, perhaps before the product becomes widely available
- Allow your audience to exclusively purchase (or win) a version of the product, perhaps a limited edition
- Offer money-off coupons
- Promote within a game: could be a simple poll, an arcade-type game, or a stunning AR experience
- Promote via a competition to win product
- Surprise and delight: deliver free product to your biggest advocates, or to consumers who have reported a negative experience
So on balance… it’s about balance. A page that talks single-mindedly about the product might get a bit dull. On the flipside, following your consumers’ agenda at the expense of product talk won’t sell much product*. So it’s more than ok to talk product, just make it more than ‘news’.
*Excludes brands where, for regulatory reasons, the product cannot be mentioned, e.g. in the baby milk formula category.