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Talk like a human online

Calling to a bank or cellphone company is the most frustrating thing. Have you ever had a snack or a shot of tequila to release your anger after listening to a long answering machine and forgetting which number you should press to get the service? Are you sick of dialing 1-800 numbers? Not only does such bad brand experience happen through customer service, it is also conveyed by social media and online ads. People receive thousands of messages online everyday and once you post something harmful to the brand, people have a bigger chance to see it than phone service. Opposite to providing more customized brand experience, these brands missed the way to communicate with customers, like a human.

It is not easy for marketers. On one hand you need to talk like a neighbor sharing amazing experience last night. On the other hand, you need to inform people about the brand, the product, and the service. How can you clearly convey messages precisely, especially in a small text box? If marketers fail to find a balance between them, there would either be a waste of promotion funding or a damage to the brand image.  In the article “5 ways to make your brand sound human online” by David Lee King, the author stands in brand managers’ point of view and introduces five ways to share brand images with customers like a friend chatting about a new car, not a sales machine repeating information again and again.

1. Type like you talk.
When talking about business–even if it is a fun event or an attractive discount–people tend to use big words to make things sounds serious. Sometimes marketers do this unconsciously. The author suggests reading what you write out loud, and if it feels real, it would be more  conversational.

2. Be visual.
In the article, the author points out that customers prefer seeing products to reading. Marketers should combine words with images, photos and videos to make the conversation more interesting. However, in my view, simply copy and pasting from the press release doesn’t work. Neither do fake pictures. Customers are smart. Using a photo from a photo stock online is easy to be recognized, thus pushing customers want to leave the conversation.

3. Use video to connect.
For this advice, the author wants brands to build an emotional relationship with the target market through making customers talk instead of those C-suite people. This is important because people like to engage with people from similar groups, sharing same interests and concerns.

4. Ask questions.
“Ask, and people answer. Ask customers about the use of your products or services. Ask what they like and what improvements they would like to see.” Says King. Question is the first step to start a conversation. Marketers don’t know what customers really want until they ask. Online communication provides a great platform for marketers to ask questions, a chance to answer and make improvements, as well as a database to analyze the target market.

5. Celebrate customer loyalty.
Being thankful always can keep loyal customers because trust is a vital connection between loyal customers and brands. Always post a thank you message, or leave an appreciative comment below their sharings.

Read the article:
By David Lee King | Posted: October 17, 2012

Categories: Uncategorized
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