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Gini Dietrich

Create An Online Conversation

By: Gini Dietrich | October 18, 2011 | 
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We’ve talked about listening to the online conversation. And we’ve talked about assessing where your customers and prospects are already participating online.

These should have done two things for you:

1) Helped you see a pattern of where people are talking about you, the company, or the industry (i.e. blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.); and

2) Helped you understand where the people you already do business with are spending their time.

Armed with that information, you’re ready to build a platform where it makes most sense. Once the platform is built (it’ll take you less than an hour), you’re ready for the next step in creating a digital presence.

1. Listen
2. Assess
3. Engage
4. Measure
5. Refine/Improve

Create Your Conversation

OK, I’ll be realistic. You might very well be saying, “But Gini. NO ONE is talking about us or the company online.” This is going to be especially true if you’re a small business or a business-to-business company.

That’s actually better news because you have the opportunity to create the conversation vs. joining one that already exists. And the best way to do that is to harvest stories from your customers.

You’ve likely done customer testimonials in the past. In fact, if you have a LinkedIn profile, your recommendations can serve as stories to be harvested.

This is the easiest part in the process.

Buy yourself a Flip camera (before they’re forever gone) and, when you’re with customers, ask them if they don’t mind giving you a 30 second soundbite on what it’s like working with you.

If you speak at conferences or participate on panels, ask two or three attendees to stick around and get a quick interview with them afterward.

Make sure anyone you have on video signs a release form so you have their permission to use it in marketing your own business.

Then, plug your camera into your computer and upload the video to YouTube. You’ll need to create a YouTube channel (15 minutes, max), it’ll ask you for your username and password, and the work is complete!

Depending on where you’ve decided to build your digital platform(s) is how you’ll use the videos. You can easily embed them into your website or blog. Or you can use the social networks to drive, and engage, viewers.

Of course, the stories can also be written or in podcast form, but those are more difficult to get because they take more time.

The things about stories is they create a reason for people to care about you. When people care about you, they want to do business with you. And the more people who do business with you, the more stories you have to tell.

Suddenly, without a lot of time, you have content that is engaging, loaded with search engine optimization, and driving qualified leads.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

37 comments
missmims1
missmims1

This is one of the reasons why I think Twitter has become so popular. Because it is the perfect way to engage in online conversation with a mass group of people. Through the ability to mention, hashtag, and retweet it makes it easy for people in different places, at different times to come together through cyber space to have a conversation.

Shonali
Shonali

Yesterday I used my iPhone to film a video with @richardbagnall for the first time... we'll see how it turns out. Any tips on editing iPhone videos?

laurenm
laurenm

In the process of converting from a still photographer to a multimedia producer (as with many still photographers). I just shot a series of interviews for a nonprofit client and built into our contract that our client would mention us in a number of twitter & facebook posts. I love the idea of getting a video testimonial while we are still fresh in their minds and throwing this on our blog & website. Thanks!

C_Pappas
C_Pappas

Love this and totally endorse it! We tried doing some customer videos but the customer's were self-conscience and didnt like how they looked in the video. It was tough for us to relax them and let them just be themselves and tell their story. I think they were thinking too hard. Any tips onn handling this?

I know that writing out a case study takes longer but I think sometimes you need both. Some people like to watch, some like to listen and some like to read it (even some that print it first).

keithbloemendaal
keithbloemendaal

So, I just picked up a Kodak Zi8 (a little better than a flip in my opinion, but very similar) today, and am planning this exact tactic!

Ok, I really got the camera to do some onsite videos for a client, but now I will do this as well! Thanks!

Tinu
Tinu

Brilliant.

Faryna
Faryna

Gini is such a pro, she makes it sound easy. Pros do that. They do or say things so well, it looks easy.

Whether it's PR, marketing, writing, design, etc., anyone awesome at what they do, makes it look like what they do is a no-brainer. That would be the furthest thing from the truth.

If you can afford it, I recommend you go to Gini and get all the juicy details.

Recently on my blog: Beautiful Things For The Asking http://wp.me/pbg0R-sv

Justicewordlaw
Justicewordlaw

Posting videos is one of the best resources that a company could do. If you place your company name first and then that name of the person or event you did the interview at it would be great when people search for those things.

Youtube is going to be one of the best ways to engage and really build that engaging platform for yourself and your business. The conversations are going to come if you consistently do this technique at conferences and networking events.

JayDolan
JayDolan

The social media nerd in me wants to say "Don't just post videos willy nilly to YouTube! Search engine optimize your YouTube content!" But that's because I'm a nerd.

Also - I hate to be mean (who am I kidding, I love it), but your title for this post is painfully generic. We should start a challenge to re-title this post. My suggestion, "How to Create Engaging and Insightful Conversations." Wait, that's almost just as bland....

TheJackB
TheJackB

I love my Flip, was so disappointed when they killed them. I agree that there is a lot to be said for starting the conversation as opposed to joining in- good to be able to set direction and tone.

John_Trader1
John_Trader1

These are all excellent points. Never ever underestimate the power of video to tell a story, spark a conversation and drive traffic to your business. The thing about creating a video is that it should have some sort of emotional appeal to it, maybe it isn't the actual content of the video itself but rather tie into a theme or touch on something that strikes a chord with your audience. I have seen some many companies making these bland, boring videos that are well produced but leave me yawning afterwards and wondering what I was supposed to learn or how I was supposed to react. If you are going to create a video, be passionate about it, give it an edge to make it stand out. These are the ones that are remembered, shared and talked about.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Tinu You know what's not brilliant? Meeting some of our friends last night and not getting videos with them.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Justicewordlaw Hiiii! You're exactly right. Hang out at conferences and do interviews with people there, even if you don't speak. Using those as content for your blog/website will be awesome because you're using your own network + the person you interview. Plus we all love to be interviewed, do we not?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@JayDolan LOL! Great point about the title...I had to get it out in about 15 seconds this morning. I'll go back and rewrite it tonight.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@TheJackB The opportunity is HUGE if the conversation hasn't already been created. This is something I tell business leaders all the time. Wouldn't you rather create the conversation than have to join one that already exists and try to change the direction?

P.S. Were your ears burning last night?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@John_Trader1 Oh...me too! We have a former client that is producing videos that make us all shake our heads when we see them. There is part of me that wishes they'd rehire us to help. And another part that is happy not to be associated with the work.

Shonali
Shonali

@ginidietrich I LOVE iMovie. When I was looking it up I saw that you can use iMovie on the iPhone as well, but it's not easy (at least for me). So what I ended up doing was transferring the video via PhotoSync and now I'll edit it on my laptop in iMovie. I'm not even halfway through, LOL.

Justicewordlaw
Justicewordlaw

@ginidietrich Yeah, everyone loves to talk so if you can stick around and do some interviews it would be great then throw them ont he sidebar of your blog then you're going to do pretty well if your site gets some traffic.

JayDolan
JayDolan

@ginidietrich I was about to ask if you were aiming to rank for some really generic search terms, because that's going to take some hard work.

John_Trader1
John_Trader1

@ginidietrich Passion and emotion sells. Whether it be a fiery edge or a clever dose of tasteful humor, people want to be educated and entertained at the same time walking away with a tangible feeling in their hearts, minds or both. Be creative.

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