Not to belabor the obvious, but if your brand is being discussed anywhere at all online, you should be actively managing that conversation. It's as simple as that. This article is about the whys and why-nots of managing online conversations. In case you are living in a cave.
As far as you can tell, you are doing everything to ensure your brand has a good digital presence. A great website. Active on social media. Presence on related third-party portals. Keeping a hawk's eye for visitors on your owned, paid, and social media platforms.
Why, then, do you get the feeling there are conversations "behind your back" that don’t think your brand is quite as golden? Conversations where you don’t control the content or tone?
Conversations like online ratings, reviews, tweets-retweets, posts-reposts, comments, and discussions. In places where your customers (and competitors) say pretty much what they want about your brand. And do.
These conversations directly impact your brand’s reputation. Especially when you’re an enterprise brand and customer opinion is a biggie.
Clearly, it's time to start participating in these conversations. And managing them so your brand's reputation stays shining. This article has insights into the importance of managing your brand’s online conversations and the perils of failing to do so.
What is Conversation Management?
Online conversations influence audience perceptions of your brand. Conversation Management involves putting together a structure of people and processes so that these conversations are optimized. It's being where the conversations are, being responsive, appreciative, and helpful. Removing misconceptions. And steering online conversations and discussions in ways that are best for your brand.
Like any good social conversationalist, Conversation Management is about being responsive and controlling the narrative.
You don’t leave an online review or comment unresponded. People think you don’t care. You don’t want that.
Conversation Management ensures your response is appropriate, timely, and adds value to the exchange. If it’s a query, provide a solution; if it’s a review, acknowledge and appreciate it; if it's garbage about your brand, defend your brand.
Controlling the narrative
Online conversations about brands need to align with larger brand strategies. Conversation Management covertly influences or drives the narrative in online conversations, so discussions improve brand perception.
Like getting your brand champions to initiate discussions about a particular product or service feature. This will get the rest of the community talking about it and spread the word. Or, if a discussion about your brand is going nowhere, you steer the conversation so your brand is back in the spotlight.
Risks of not managing online conversations.
How do you know your brand needs Conversation Management?
Simple. If you are not doing it, and your brand’s online perception matters to you, you need it.
To make it more explicit, here are the risks:
- You will be ignorant of what your customers are saying about your brand. Be it praising or cursing.
- What you think your brand stands for can be misinterpreted. Thanks to discussions that mislead or misguide. Innocently or maliciously.
- You create an impression of being a brand that is unresponsive or negligent. Or you don’t care. That will look good on your brand’s epitaph.
- If no one is talking about it, people will forget your brand exists. If your brand is not top of mind, then it's at the bottom of the pile.
The top 9 benefits of Conversation Management. Out of roughly 20236.
1.Supports the purchase process
Don’t you wish people would just see your paid ad and immediately rush to buy? Unfortunately, they don't. Mostly.
They go through the ubiquitous AIDA stages. Manage your brand’s online conversations, and you can influence your customers at every stage on their path to purchase.
Attention: The initial stage is when your brand attracts customers’ attention. Through an ad or an online discussion. Psst... the online discussion is free. Unless you ignore it. Then it's very expensive.
Interest: This is when the customer’s interest is piqued.
Desire: The customer starts desiring your brand at this stage. Builds a preference for your brand over all other competing ones.
Action: This is the final stage. The customer makes a purchase. Yay!
Conversation management plays a major role in the ‘Interest’ and ‘Desire’ phases.
90% of consumers admit that online reviews influence their purchasing decisions. So says a survey conducted by research firm Dimensional Research.
Positive brand discussions or reviews steer the customer’s preferences towards your brand. By managing brand conversations, you can inform and influence customer preferences, facilitating a researched decision for them.
2.It attracts potential customers
An interesting discussion about your brand introduces your brand to potential customers. Maybe other members of the group. Or subscribers of the review blog.
If your brand’s online conversations are relevant, helpful, and responsive, they help develop good brand impressions on potential customers. More customers are always good, right?
3.It impacts your search engine ranking
Whether you like it or not, you have to bow at the SEO altar. The more online conversations your brand is part of, the better your search engine ranking. This happens in two fungible ways.
- Traffic on your website
Vendasta’s survey says 48% of the consumers who read a positive online review visit the brand’s website. So, any review, discussion, or conversation increases the click-through rate (CTR) on your website. A good way to boost your search engine ranking.
- Search engines trust your content and process
When you are responsive and helpful and otherwise manage online engagement, search engines start to trust your digital presence. Your brand will be considered reputable and trustworthy with proper customer interactions.
4.Improves your brand’s credibility & trust
Most customers trust the reviews, opinions, and comments they read online. Especially if they are negative or outright nonsense. Conversation Management is the way to turn this threat into an opportunity for enhancing your brand's reputation.
Folks understand it is futile to please everyone all the time. So, the occasional negative reviews are actually good. It makes your brand seem more authentic. The opportunity is in being present to clear misunderstandings. Support product-related queries. Respond to suggestions. Also, strongly defend your brand against slander.
Now, increasingly larger sections of the online community know that you take your customers seriously and can be relied upon. That your brand is credible and trustworthy.
The internet is the biggest, most vibrant, and lightning-fast word-of-mouth network. More than 90% of customers surveyed by Qualtrics consider online reviews to be personal testimonials.
Another opportunity or threat situation that Conversation Management can take advantage of.
Engage. And see your sales grow.
6.Builds and sustains brand personality
Brand personality is a set of human traits attributable to your brand. Sincere. Supportive. Organized. Savvy. Clever. Aggressive. Trustworthy. You get the picture.
The online space is great for building your brand personality. Conversation Management, clever and well-designed content, and the word-of-mouth to carry it will build your brand personality. It helps customers develop an emotional attachment with your brand, and this influences purchase decisions in so many ways.
7.It increases your conversion rate; decreases your cost-per-acquisition
Marketers have a plethora of marketing strategies to lower customer acquisition costs. Conversation Management is one such powerful, yet often overlooked strategy.
This is how it works. You optimize your brand’s online conversations. You are then likely to influence customers' brand preferences. This increases your conversion rates, which in turn aids in customer acquisition. For the same or lower cost.
8.KYC takes on a qualitative leap
Online conversations give insights into your customers’ minds, needs, and brand preferences. The way no customer response form can ever hope to.
With Conversation Management, you understand your customer better. You get insightful cues for communicating with them. You are better placed to personalize solutions to their needs.
9.It helps you build brand champions and brand communities
Online conversations go in three ways. These are the recommended responses in each case.
- Your brand is being bad-mouthed. You respond to the offending parties. Offer solutions. Apologize if necessary. Try to change their perception of your brand.
- The online conversation is unbiased or neutral. Tepid. Uninvolved. You steer it to more interesting things about your brand. Ignite some life into the room. Engage and try to change the speaker’s perception of your brand into something positive.
- The conversation is gung-ho about your brand. Full of praises. They can't recommend your brand strongly enough. They don't have enough stars to give you.
You engage with the satisfied people. Thank them for their faith. And make them your brand champions. Their involvement is qualitatively way better than, say, a Brand Influencer. Who is doing it for the money. Unlike your organically elevated brand champion, evangelizing your brand for free!
Before you know it, you’ll have a brand community of people you have influenced.
Famous last words
Did you know?
Xerago has been managing online communities for brands for over 15 years. Since the time of Web1.0.
So, if you are a medium-to-large enterprise and online conversation management is not actively and proactively part of your marketing strategy arsenal, tell us when to call you. We’d love to know what your excuse is.
Communication Management gets you:- Higher conversion rates and CTR. New customers at a significantly lower cost of acquisition. Better retention. Customer insights. Brand Champions and Brand Communities...
It's almost a panacea for all ills.
We should know.
Xerago implements cohesive plans to proactively steer online narratives about your brand.
Strategies that evolve with the changing contours of the World Wide Web. Xerago promises to engage with your most elusive customers and prospects. No matter which platform or review site they lurk in.
With Xerago managing your online communications you get to influence purchase decisions through community participation. This is what we do. In a nutshell.
- Identify the audience’s digital distribution
- Track mentions
- Strategize and execute brand-compliant responses
- Seed conversations/narratives
Xerago manages e. v. e. r. y aspect of the client’s brand’s content, communication, and community interactions. Across channels. Across platforms. Across geographies and cultures.
Schedule a consultation with Xerago. We will work the world wide web. For you.