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How to get customers talking about your business online

In a world where your competitors are only one click away, increasing your franchise business’ online visibility is key to gaining more customers and growing your market share.

An excellent strategy to achieve this is to get more people to share your content online, therefore acting as brand advocates and sources of recommendations for their own friends, relatives and connections.

However, getting customers to talk favourably about your franchise and share your content online can be difficult, especially if they are not already engaged with the business.

Here are five tips to help you encourage customers to share your content online.

Know your target audience

The first step to help you create engaging content is to know what your target audience wants to talk about in relation to your brand, products or services.

This involves conducting research – your own or from the industry – and monitoring interactions with your online content to better understand what types of posts are shared and which ones aren’t.

Use multiple platforms

Some of your customers will enjoy receiving communication straight to their inbox, while others will prefer interacting on your Facebook page. It’s important to use a range of platforms to make it easy for your customers to find you and share your content.

These platforms can include your website, a blog, a forum, an enewsletter or email marketing, online directories and social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and Google+). Choose the platforms that align with your brand message and deliver on your customers’ needs successfully.

Have great content

In order for customers to want to share your content, it must be relevant to them as well as interesting or entertaining. There are various types of content you can use in your strategy:

  1. Ask questions: they are a great way to start conversations online and allow many users to express their opinions.
  2. Share articles: post links to articles of interest to your customers.
  3. Create competitions: develop competitions that will create engagement, interaction and sharing among your online community. (Check the rules on each online site to determine if they allow competitions).
  4. Be thought-provoking: post content that makes your audience reflect and engage.
  5. Be visual: whether it be with images, photos, videos or infographics, it is good to break up your text-heavy content with interesting and relevant visuals.
  6. Be personal: show a bit of personality behind your brand by choosing words and a tone of voice that reflect the culture of your organisation.

Make it easy to share

Images and videos receive higher rates of clicks, ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ than text. It’s then a good idea to include lots of visual content in your strategy to increase customer engagement.

Making your content easy to share also means including sharing icons on your website and blog as well as a ‘forward to a friend’ option on your enewsletter or email signature.

Ask people to share your content

A good way to have your content shared is to ask your customers to share it with their own networks. It can be as simple as writing ‘Please RT’ at the end of your tweet or ‘Share this image if you like it’ on Facebook.

Make sure you use this technique sparingly to avoid being labelled as a spammer or aggressive sales person. Another way to get people to share content is to add your organisation to review sites and invite your customers to write their reviews and feedback on the site.

Knowing your target audience and providing interesting, easy to share content on various platforms is essential to help you boost your online word-of-mouth marketing, attract new customers, build brand awareness and increase your sales.

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Raffael Fernandes

Raffael Fernandes

Raffael Fernandes is Sales Manager at Franchise Business.com.au, the official online business directory of the Franchise Council of Australia, listing franchises and service providers. Owned and operated by Catch, an online division of Reed Business Information Australia, FranchiseBusiness.com.au provides a comprehensive central online source of franchise opportunities and industry updates and news.

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