What started out as the new frontier for marketing, the Internet has quickly outgrown its boomtown youth and has become a mature space with countless voices. Countless, however, is not a comforting thought when trying to be more than a face in the crowd. While technology may not always play by the old rules, traditional local ideals are ironically proving to be potent strategies in a globalized industry.
This “new local” isn’t measured in miles to the nearest brick and mortar location, but the ability to appeal to a customer in a sincere way through relevant advertising and reliable interaction. With fewer people trusting traditional advertising, content distribution has to be redesigned from the ground floor.
Since blanket appeal falls on deaf ears, content should be designed with a specific person in mind, sometimes literally. Third Party companies that are contracted to manage social media content for other businesses consistently use this strategy. By actively seeking out general posts, tweets, and status updates that mention a problem that matches a product solution, these surrogate companies post light and entertaining responses on how certain products could help. While this certainly doesn’t guarantee a sale, this form of content delivery is personal, engaging, and best of all, completely open for other users to see.
Just as a single example of public courtesy could indirectly influence others to take action, a single connection between content and consumer creates a public impression of how a company behaves on a daily basis. Yet relevance is just as much about context as it is content. All products are used in a practical way in a customer’s life, a fact that companies can use effectively when discovering what role their product plays in the average person. Developing a 360-degree view of a consumer leads to unexpected partnerships in content delivery that advertise in complementary areas while possibly discovering a niche field absent of competitors who never venture past the obvious.
Connecting with consumers becomes the first part an important dialogue when keeping people engaged with the content. As content continues to expand online, much of it can be used as an advantage to help create a culture around products. More consumers are basing their choices off of reviews and blogs rather than product information. This provides an opportunity for companies to be proactive and invite others to discuss products openly. Startups are playing to these strengths of appearing small and personable by conducting all customer service conversations on social media sites like Twitter. Customer Support for them has become a mutually beneficial service, allowing other would-be customers to see first hand their culture of responsiveness while simultaneously helping a customer with a problem.
With the right motivations through contests and consistent updates, customers will feel personally engaged with the company and in building a culture by adding an important voice for future customers and improvements.
Developing the new local will ultimately live or die by personality. Although professional objectivity has served companies well in the past, customers online respond better when they believe they are talking to a person, not a logo. Maintaining a conversational and entertaining voice goes the furthest when creating an inviting space for customers to feel compelled not just to consume content, but to help create it. After all, the content shock is just a matter of perspective. While some may see it as overcrowding, most should revel in the prospect of finding a sea of vocal consumers to develop nothing short of a following.