Authentic communication is the cornerstone of growing healthy relationships – whether personal or professional.
It involves being your best, true self, and understanding what motivates others to build an atmosphere of trust, says Success.com.
Achieving this level of trust and rapport is key to building a steady consumer base for your business. However while many bands are good at understanding what they want or need out of a relationship – they fall short in understanding how to communicate in a way that nurtures what their audience wants or needs from them in return.
Here are 5 tips to help your brand communicate more authentically for lasting partnerships:
1. Speak human
Have you ever read an academic journal, technical manual or legal contract and thought – huh? What the heck did I just read?
When it comes to business, consumers want to understand you quickly and clearly without a trip to dictionary.com. They aren’t looking for you to dazzle them with how smart you are or how professional you can sound. You’ll impress them instead by using simple, familiar words that get right to the point.
So drop the corporate speak and have a real conversation. You know, like your cool-in-jeans-after-work self does. Your humanness is your strength.
2. Don’t force it
While embracing your human side can open the door to more casual, relatable conversation – it’s important that you don’t try to force it.
I sat through a bad date once where the guy had clearly thought of cheesy lines to use ahead of time, complete with forced jokes and presumptuous pauses for laughter.
Like me, your consumers are quick to spot an obvious ploy – and will be quick to ask for the check and bail if you use one.
Let opportunities for connection develop naturally. Be yourself and stay true to the tone of who your brand is – whether that’s more casual, formal or somewhere in between.
3. Do the push and pull
The best opportunities for natural engagement come when you and your consumer find common ground.
Halton Small Business Center calls this “the push and pull.”
You should be listening to and pulling information from your consumers that’s relevant and useful to you, as much as you are trying to push your own information their way. Do you monitor their social media posts, beyond their comments on yours? What struggles are they facing, what issues do they care about – and what can your brand contribute to their situation?
If you can show that you share a similar value, understand a common problem or maintain a mutual interest, you have the opportunity to build an authentic bond.
These bonds will create a community with a vested interest in your business, says Nicole Dash on HuffingtonPost.com. By focusing on building trust and lasting rapport rather than selling, you’ll have the opportunity to foster natural business opportunities – without it feeling forced.
4. Don’t waste people’s time
If you’re anything like me, few things are more irritating than having someone call or email you on a busy day – and it be such an obvious, avoidable waste of your time.
For example, I received an email today addressed “Dear Sir” inquiring if I was interested in purchasing steel pipes in bulk. Now, ‘Jessica’ has hardly caught on as a trendy gender-neutral name, and as a marketer, what could I possibly need with steel pipes?
A little bit of initial research – and a well-thought-out, targeted content strategy – could have saved wasted time on both sides.
Respect your audience’s time and attention. Otherwise, you’ll dilute your message and risk losing subscribers.
5. Go live
Complement your day-to-day content efforts with occasional opportunities to have true, back-and-forth conversations with consumers.
Host live webinars, Google hangouts and Twitter chats to showcase new products or services, facilitate a Q&A or promote an in-depth topic discussion. You’ll have as much of a chance to learn as your audience, and can pick up more followers and shares along the way.
While finding opportunities to engage more authentically with your audience may take some effort, the reward will be far greater for both you and your consumer.
What ways have you found to effectively engage with your audience? Share in the comments below or shoot me an email!