From Brian Clark:
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d say most people do not want to converse with companies, and if a bunch of people desire to tell a corporation something, it likely has a public relations disaster brewing.
But the people who do want to interact with your company are important despite their relative tiny numbers. You can glean potential buying objections from their questions, and consider changing practices based on complaints (but be careful thereÃ¢â‚¬â€the vocal minority often fails to reflect the views of the rest of the audience).
Brilliant insight, but what are we to make of it?
Brian Clark’s insights into social media marketing are important for a number of reasons:
- He’s Brian Clark – If you don’t know who he is then you do read many blogs. Copyblogger is one of the most popular blogs online, meaning he is a social media maven.
- Social Media Marketing is still new – There are no rules yet, which means they are still in development; that means there can hardly be said to be right and wrong ways of doing it (effective and ineffective, yes)
- The future is bright – The best social media marketers have yet to arrive
- The conversation is just getting started – Conversational marketing is really nothing new, but not all conversations have been going for any length of time
Seth Godin is the most prominent person to have discussed conversational marketing at any length. Back when the Web was in its commercial infancy it seemed that conversational marketing was on its way in and traditional marketing was outbound. But as Brian Clark says, you can’t change human nature.
Not everyone will engage with you about your products and services. They don’t want to talk, the just want to use. If you have a product worth buying, they’ll buy it. And they’ll happily (and quietly) use it. Some people will never let you know what they think until something goes wrong. Id’ imagine that Coca Cola didn’t hear much from many of its customers until it changed its formula – then all you-know-what broke loose!
The take away from this: Listen to those few voices who are telling you what they think about it all, but don’t take their opinions as gospel. They don’t talk for all of your customers. And sometimes you have to go out into the marketplace and mingle.