How to Participate in Customer Conversations Without Being Party Crashers

Thanks to plenty of helpful advice everywhere you turn, monitoring and listening to conversations is now the first thing you may think about doing online. This reminds me that in the public space, we’re taking eavesdropping to a whole new level.

How do you go from listening to participating without embarrassing yourself?

  • The first thing to consider is disclosure. You would not want to enter a physical room and pretend to be someone else entirely. So don’t do that in a virtual space.
  • If you’ve been listening, you’d want to offer good content and value to the community. This part is very much like networking. Maybe you help answer some questions and seek to be helpful. Think of it as an appetizer.
  • Then you earn the stripes to begin asking questions of your own. You’re now at the salad. You’re beginning to interact with members of the community.
  • Eventually it comes time to bring out the main course. After listening, contributing, and asking questions, you’re ready to offer content that is more targeted to the needs and wants of the community.
  • You may have noticed that this is about the slow food movement. You will need to commit time and resources to be successful. As well, you will need to understand that it’s about the value you bring to the community, and not about your message.
  • Dessert or the cake may be when you figure out that your product and service can help the community solve a problem, or do something you did not think about when you set off to participate.

Online customer conversations are very much the promise of public relations in the social medium. In the past, people may have invited you to be there in the print and digital magazine, courtesy of an editor. If you show up directly in the medium, make sure you have the right attitude about it, or you’ll just crash the party.

Valeria Maltoni | Conversation Agent
www.conversationagent.com
http://Twitter.com/ConversationAge

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