I read an article that talked about how two people can go from being strangers to best friends in just 45 minutes.
Basically, the article shed some light upon how a relationship between two people could be expedited through reciprocal and escalating self-disclosure, based on research by Aron Arthur. So it left me thinking whether the relationship a consumer has with a company is similar to that of a relationship that two people share. If so, the same principles may apply to brands as well! Furthermore, as a brand, would you not want to establish a close relationship with your customers more quickly? The findings from Aron’s study may therefore actually be applicable to companies.
So here are some ways companies can apply this study into their social media marketing efforts to better engage consumers:
1) Engage your consumers with meaningful dialogue that promotes reciprocal disclosure. This means companies should be more transparent when they are communicating with their customers.
Companies constantly collect information about their consumers in order to better understand them. This will allow companies to better target messages and products at them in order to garner as much customer value as possible. Therefore, a company may know a lot about their customer. On the other hand, companies tend to not share as much information. Therefore there is not a lot of reciprocal disclosure and customers may feel vulnerable in the “unfair” asymmetrical relationship. The customers’ trust in the company may start to dwindle.To garner more trust from customers, companies should not only be more transparent but also engage customers in interesting conversations.
Zappos is a good example of a successful transparent company. Zappos has an employee-written blogosphere that allows employees to share fun posts and videos of their day and of themselves to the world.
Companies should not solely post about upcoming promotions and sales. Instead, try sharing something personal from the company’s history and culture that could pique your followers’ interest. Encourage employees to share about the random happenings in the workplace or about community service they are providing.
For Example: “Did you know, the Buddha statue at the entrance of our building was a housewarming gift from the mayor?”
2) Companies can also practice escalated storytelling to better engage their consumers by revealing more about themselves in an interesting manner. Such as from sharing how it is celebrating its anniversary to sharing about the challenges the company initially faced when it started up.
Post 1: “ We are glad to announce that we are celebrating our first company anniversary next month and would love to provide everyone 20% off all purchases for the month of April !”
Post 2: “Today we just set up the piñata for the anniversary celebration! The party is going to be a blast!”
Post 3: “Looking back from where we first began, it really was one heck of a roller coaster ride. The team can still vividly remember the time when we had to stay in the office to work sleepless nights just before the big launch.”
By partaking in reciprocal disclosure, escalated storytelling and appearing more transparent to your consumers, you will be able to establish a closer relationship with them. Your consumers will understand more about your company and feel closer to your brand. This will help establish trust. This may eventually help your consumers love your brand at a faster rate. Over time, loyalty, trust and commitment will build on top of this relationship. These need time to develop ? you’ll soon have customers advocating for your brand.
Imagine the impact you’ll create when your brand can successfully execute the above at scale. In fact, there are platforms available to help your brand tell its story in an escalated and engaging way at scale by automating many of these processes.