5 ways to engage your audience through authentic communication

Communications from branded properties, celebrities, or anyone with a “following” can often come of as false, contrived, and sometimes insensitive, even if they have the best intentions. This article was inspired by a recent email campaign I received, where the “reply” email address was “no-reply@redacted.com.” This gave me pause. I don’t know why this particular email campaign set me off, but I was genuinely irritated that they would really prevent me from interacting with their brand. Who wants to be told they actively can’t reach out to someone who is proactively talking to them. That’s basically a brand saying “you don’t matter and we don’t want to talk to you.”

Communications which don’t fall into this convention, however, are immediately noticeable, from a personal and a professional standpoint. Of course, warm-fuzzies because a brand responded to my tweet on Twitter are great, but more to the point, email clients decide whether you are spam or not by the semantics in your email, such as Email Subjects With Random Capitalized Letters, and words like FREE OFFER, among other things. No one actually writes like that in real life! As content creators and passers, we’ve gotten into a habit and style of communication that is not genuine.

Here are 5 ways to engage your audience through authentic communication

1. Social media: This one’s a no-brainer. Of course you want meaningful person-to-person interactions via social (and if you didn’t know that.. yes, you want meaningful person-to-person interactions on social) but consider having a sign-off on your social posts if multiple team members are answering inquiries on accounts, or use a new tech (like Vine) to provide a real-life personal experience. This touches go a long way to developing trust within your audience. No one likes faceless corporations.

2. Email marketing: Don’t capitalize every word in your subject. Just don’t. Communicate in the same way you would to your best friend, within reason. Grammar and spelling are still important — just be more real about how you position yourself. Don’t be afraid to have a little personality.

3. Blog posts: Be yourself. Be true to an authentic brand voice, and use author’s names instead of the company’s name. Don’t be afraid to raise a little cane, or to get in trouble with some people. These charged interactions are invaluable — they encourage engagement with your brand, with fellow brand members, and they offer the priceless opportunity to correctly serve and understand your customer or community member.

4. Support: Don’t automate. Keep it personal. Everyone hates those stupid automated phone call systems. No one wants to talk to a robot (unless her name is Siri, but even then it’s questionable). If you don’t have the bandwidth to handle a multi-channel support scheme, then don’t have it! People would much rather have limited support options, but awesome customer service, than a bunch of options with little, unhelpful, or no response.

5. Product/Service copy: Jargon sucks. Remember that you and your peers, personally, are so deep in your industry and product, that sometimes jargon-ey words roll off your tongue before real life words do. Even though every person on Earth may truly need your “SaaS Marketing Synergies Automation Accelerator,” try to translate your jargon into something a bit more.. down to earth. Make your message digestible by a wide audience — not just industry professionals.

  • http://www.magicmarketingsystems.com/ Gary J P Hewett

    I’ll agree with most of this but I won’t give you point 5 on a technicality.

    Every “tribe”, “group” or whatever division you wish to label has their own jargon. In fact the only reason jargon exists is because of the group division in the first place. We, “the group in question”, have worked hard at improving communication within the group by defining and refining words to very precise meanings for the benefit of the group as a whole.

    Jargon speeds up conversation and improves the the efficiency of the transfer of knowledge only within the group.

    That same jargon has the exact opposite effect outside of the group.

    So what needs to happen in reality is not to give up jargon, far from it, in fact the approach that is needed is to adopt the jargon of the particular group that will be reading you communications and writings.

    Once you adopt the mantra that every group has it’s jargon, it’s vernacular, then it is merely a case of adapting to any particular groups jargon as opposed to “avoiding” something. (Which as we all know the pink elephant is always impossible to avoid — admit it you thought of the pink elephant now didn’t you? )

    So if your target market understands exactly what a “SaaS Marketing Synergies Automation Accelerator” is and it has a precise meaning to them then that’s the perfect phase to use in that context.

    Know thy audience!

  • Don Karp

    Be a good idea for you to walk your talk (see #2,: “…grammar and spelling are important…”).The first line of this blog spells “off” as “of”. I’d suggest a proofreader.