I’ve been having a lot of conversations recently with brands and agencies (PR, Social and Ad) about conversational marketing. Conversational marketing is about being part of the content and conversation that consumers are engaging with, not just being an ad they see in the sidebar. If you are only on the sidebar, your whole mission is to draw the user’s attention AWAY from the reason they visited a site. In essence, you are fighting AGAINST the intentions of your target audience. Instead of fighting intention, a more influential approach is to support the visitor’s mission and be PART OF the content they came to engage with.
The best way to explain the difference is to show you an example. Below are two social marketing approaches by brands.
Brand A – Banner advertising on a social network site
This ad showed up on the sidebar of Facebook. It is meant to pull my attention away from my engagement with my friends and lure me with the promise of being Paris Hilton. I wonder how that approach is working for them. Side note: My birthday is on my Facebook profile so I find it funny that I am over 40 and still got this ad.
Brand B – Conversational marketing that partners the brand with social influencers
This brand worked with BlogFrog to partner with influential bloggers whose readers represented its core target audience. Click on the image above to see this hilarious video post by Mama’s Losin’ It, one of 40 bloggers involved in the campaign. Not only was the brand part of the regular content her readers have come to love, they were part of the conversation users engaged in afterwards. A brilliant illustration of value for the brand, the blogger, and the readers. Side note: With the exception of the question asked to readers at the end of the post, this blogger had free reign over the content (including the video, which was her idea). Professional bloggers who know their readers bring unique creativity and engagement that enhances the brand’s value to its audience well beyond just a product mention.
Which brand would you rather be?