Conversations create change. They can lead people to try something new, or change how they think, or feel or even act.
But how can such conversations happen when people seem to connect online more than they do in person? Put another way, what’s the best way to start a conversation in a digital world?
Find your people, or create a place for them to come to
Too often we assume that because people are connected to their phones, they are not engaged in conversations. It’s hard to reach people, and harder to encourage them to linger for long enough to engage. But people are still social in nature – they engage with what interests them and use social media to find like-minded people to talk about issues they are passionate about.
We know that people now have conversations in different places and not necessarily in person. We need to find the people we want to reach or create a place for them to come to, if one doesn’t already exist.
Create compelling content
Easy to say and difficult to do.
What makes content great? It needs to be targeted and tailored. It needs to have a purpose and tie back to your objectives. If your end goal is conversation, your content should spark something in your audience that makes them want to respond to you or to bring others into the mix.
Video and imagery are key, but we need to think about what we can give our audience that’s different to what they’ve already seen.
Have a plan but be flexible. And lastly, constantly review your strategy – the world moves fast and you need to keep pace.
Measure the nature of the conversation, and learn from it
Too often, companies measure success online by looking at reach and click-through rates, likes and shares. By only looking at these measures, we end up missing part of the picture.
Our measure of success needs to focus on the types of conversations we’ve created and whether these conversations align with our goals.
We should be asking ourselves what people talked about and whether there were common themes or words. We need to consider what encouraged people to engage and consider how we can learn from all of this. This approach makes for much more difficult reporting, but it also leads to a greater understanding of what works and what doesn’t.
Conversation is part of our everyday life and the digital world hasn’t changed that. What’s different is the tools we use to start these conversations and how we measure success.