Understanding dialogue in social networks

Engaging in conversation with others is one of the main reasons for participating in social networks.  For individuals this is natural but for organisations it can be a different matter either because they are too guarded or simply not sure how to approach the conversation.

A recent blog post on the NCVO website titled: How social networks are enabling us to create a true dialogue with our customers and supporters by Claire Rollinson offers some good tips on how to manage this dialogue.

Here is some useful advise from Claire’s post:

Marketing in social networks should be seen as customer service dialogue that is many-to-many rather then the traditional one-to-one as everyone can see and participate in this conversation.  You will be more transparent to your customers/ supporters which can be a good or bad thing depending on how you manage that conversation.

Your customers are connected to each other

You should be looking to empower your customers/supporters to spread your brand/message.  Everyone is a communicator and distributor of information so there is little organisational control.  The idea is to listen, monitor and respond i.e participate.

Your customers have access to other information

Your customers/supporters are aware of other organisations/competitors and will be able to learn about them as easily as they have learned about you.  So to avoid losing those people you need to offer some form of value or connection.

Your customers ‘pull’ information

One word: “Google”.  People just search for information now which raises two issues:

  1. you are competing with other organisations information
    when information on you is found it needs to be positive

Claire sums this up well:

Be different – stand out. Be personable; be responsive and engage in a true dialogue with your supporters … It is the return on engagement we should be striving for, getting closer to our customers and supporters. This is what will separate you out from the rest ensuring your messages cut through the clutter.


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