Post all the pretty pictures you want. Show your customers an amazingly entertaining video. But unless your content is starting a conversation, people really aren’t engaging. Here are 10 tips for starting a social media conversation. Starting a conversation with your customers, fans, followers, etc. can have a huge impact on the success of your business or site.
1. Ask open-ended questions – People aren’t likely to talk unless you ask them a question. Don’t ask a closed-ended question that people can answer with a simple, “Yes,” or “No.” Ask something that requires their responses to be more than just one word.
2. Require people to think – Don’t make it easy on people. Make them think. Ask a thought-provoking question about your industry and let the conversation begin!
3. Get them reminiscing – People love to think about great times from the past. Ask your customers to share experiences that are relevant to your industry. People are usually excited to share personal experiences, which can lead to some great conversations.
4. Ask for advice – We tend to be better advice givers than takers, but there really is some great advice out there. Have your customers share some of their best advice that’s relevant to your business or website.
5. Know what people are talking about – Trying to start a conversation about Thanksgiving on the Fourth of July probably won’t get a good conversation going. See what people are already talking about, and start your own conversation based on what’s most popular.
6. Ask for an opinion – Who doesn’t love sharing their opinion? Everyone’s got one, and it seems everyone is dying to share it. By asking, “What’s your opinion on….?” you’re opening up hundreds or thousands of doors for conversations. It will also give you some ideas for future posts and how to start conversations there.
7. Don’t be afraid of negative comments – If you’ve started a social media conversation that has input from a disgruntled customer, don’t get upset. Keep your cool and use it to turn the situation around. That’s what conversations are for, to “talk” things out. Use it as an opportunity to correct the wrong and get back on the right foot with the upset person.
8. Participate – It takes more than one person to have a conversation. Don’t ask a question and then not respond to the responses. Interact with the conversation that you started. Never start a conversation and just let it fly. You might not have the opportunity to respond to each and every message in the conversation, but make sure your presence is there and obvious.
9. Send a thank you – Be sure and thank people who contribute good information to a conversation you started. It will encourage them to participate in future conversations.
10. Plan ahead of time – Don’t simply log-in to Facebook and try to come up with a conversation starter. Each time you think of one, write it down. Each time you read something thought-provoking, take note. Then when it comes time to start a conversation, you’ll have information to go off of. Forcing a conversation can lead to dead-ends.
Starting a conversation on social media shouldn’t be difficult or intimidating. Follow the above tips and you will surely get the conversation started!