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Keeping the Conversation Going on Your Status Updates

Social media marketing is consuming a lot of time for a significant number of businesses with almost two thirds of marketers spending up to ten hours per week on social networks1. This has come about because of the potential for engagement that sites like Facebook and Twitter offer to marketers, but amongst all of the enticing statistics is one that indicates that the majority of marketers are missing the point of social media. According to All Facebook, as many as 95% of Facebook wall posts are not answered by brands.

Social media sites are driven by conversations. One third of Facebook users interact with brands on the site with the number rising to over half for those under the age of 353. That represents a huge potential audience of over 200 million people that are currently investigating brands on Facebook and yet marketers are virtually ignoring their comments. Obviously, if someone takes the time to post a comment on your brand page they are looking for engagement and the most savvy marketers will want to keep the conversation going once a potential customer starts it. To do this may be as simple as answering the comments that are left on your brand page.

Only 22% of Facebook users follow more than ten brands3 so in reality your fans are more precious to your business than you might have first imagined. Taking the time to be engaged with them when they invite it is a more productive use of the time spent on social media marketing than continually reposting the same links to the same information, and 45% of Facebook users think that they mostly get the same content too much while over two thirds want more interaction from the brands that they follow3. Adopting the strategy of prioritizing comments that have been on your brand page is only the first step in creating and building relationships with your Facebook fans that can then be leveraged for sales. Once your fans have begun the conversation it is up to you to be engaging enough in your response to keep it going and even to move it to your own website.

Knowing in advance that you will be interacting with your fans in this way should shape the status updates that you make. The call to action should ask for a comment so that your fans are left in no doubt that you want their opinion. When they see that you actually answer their comments (unlike 95% of brands) they will be encouraged to comment again. A dialogue with a fan appears in their news feed and has a good Edge Rank rating so their friends may see it and join in or even become a fan of your brand page – an opportunity that doesn’t exist if the comments posted on your wall go unanswered.

Smaller businesses especially benefit from this opportunity because they can genuinely offer a conversation with the person that owns and runs the business rather than just some junior in the marketing department of a huge corporation. If you are already spending time promoting yourself on social networks then it is worth taking a look at your wall and seeing if you have let any chances for genuine engagement go past unanswered. Asking your fans for their thoughts and encouraging them to have their say on your brand page to start the conversation may be the way to reach the customers that your competitors are missing.

1. 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, Michael A Stelzner, Social Media Examiner
3. 2011 Chadwick Martin Bailey Consumer Pulse

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