The social web was lauded not long ago for given anyone the power to become almost equal to a media company by creating a blog, a YouTube channel or even tweeting regularly. The social web gave people the power to give their messages the reach and speed that some media companies would envy. Today, the web is evolving yet today. People have become media, and now they appear to becoming…well…people once again.
Social networks can't move fast enough when it comes to rolling out one-to-one communication features. We've seen Instagram, previously used to broadcast images and videos to many people, unroll Instagram Direct as a way to communicate privately. Vine has done the same. Then we have messaging apps like WeChat and Facebook Messenger being used specifically for person-to-person interaction. It's not about collecting 'likes' and comments. The social web is shifting back to being about real interactions between people.
The Final Blow to the Broadcast Mindset
The social web has always been about delivering valuable information and building valuable relationships with consumers, but that hasn't stopped marketers from using social media as another broadcast channel aiming to reach as many people as possible with promotions and advertising messages.
With people adopting more private messaging platforms and platforms rolling out private messaging features, now is the last time to ditch the broadcast mindset and adopt personal communication with consumers with an approach that includes:
- Understanding Consumer Needs - Are you looking at what customers are saying by tracking keywords, understanding where they're getting information and who they're seeking it from? Communication needs to fit individual needs and almost feel personal to them. You can't get personal if you don't know what people are saying, why and where they turn for information.
- Delivering Different Messages to Different People - From custom audiences on Facebook, to targeted posts and even to robust email databases, there's no shortage of options to deliver personal messages to customers. People can be targeted by who they are and what they've shown a propensity to value and look for in the past.
- Offering Point Solutions for People - The social web allows us to build relationships with customers. In-person relationships evolve when we remember certain things about individuals we've interacted with in the past. This is just as true online. We understand what they like, what they don't like and what they're looking for. Provide real recommendations based on what customers need at the personal level.
- Being there to Help - The biggest opportunity area for personal, custom communication is when they reach out to your brand with a problem or a question. Forget the canned response that redirects them elsewhere. Provide a real answer that addresses their specific questions.
- Rewarding Your Advocates - When people are loving your brand and telling others, show them you've taken notice and recognize them with a thank you at the very least, but don't rule out offers, exclusive information and other rewards. This is a group that should be encouraged and never stifled.
This is just a start to what marketers can do to connect with people on a one-to-one level. Success takes time and requires marketers to use their data more effectively and, more importantly, pay attention to how people are behaving and what they are needing as individuals. That one-to-one interaction pays off. Personal attention and communication turns into word of mouth advocacy from between customers.
Broadcast still has a place, but it takes a backseat to personal communication by becoming just a means to open up the lines for personal communication. Get personal.