What kind of definition can we place on the term “social empathy?” I’ve written about empathy before here at Yahoo! and how there seems to be a growing dearth of it around the world. Much of that seems to be coming from a desensitization to violence in our culture and not understanding the realities of suffering. Conversely, certain ad campaigns (like anti-tobacco ads) show the severe repercussions of smoking that resonate well with every demographic.
If empathy might be waning in other avenues, has it also gone downhill in the business world? There may be a notion that empathy isn’t prevalent on social media either where a business can market itself. What kind of opportunity does that bring to a business?
The Noise of Businesses Doing the Same Thing
Online businesses seem to have hit a tipping point when it comes to marketing on social media. With so much opportunity and every business under the sun marketing in social media circles, has it all turned into noise of doing the same thing? B2B Marketing Insider points this out and notes how the worst side is in businesses merely pitching their wares rather than starting meaningful conversations with prospective customers.
It’s the conversations where the empathy side of business could easily be nurtured. And because it’s still an untapped part of online marketing, it could prove to be very valuable. Much of that empathy comes in creating dialogue about solving a particular problem.
Relating to Your Customer
Some problems are worse than others, though every successful business product is going to solve a problem of some sort. In some cases, it could be a very serious health problem someone has had to live with for many years. Those cases sometimes involve dealing with physical pain. Having your business connect with those people online to empathize with the pain they’ve gone through can bring a true emotional connection that’s beneficial to business today.
Customers are starting to enjoy having more personal relationships with businesses, especially if the business has a product that changes their life for the better. How does such a conversation begin, though? With businesses geared to go into sell mode, the online conversation has to work differently.
Approaching Empathy Online
The best way to start a conversation that empathizes with customers is by stating a common problem that you know your product will solve. Giving facts and figures about that particular problem online can attract many people to your postings, whether on Twitter or Facebook. Once connected with those people, engaging in a conversation that considers the customer first is an essential element to letting this new marketing tactic work. Placing your product above the customer during the conversation is going to immediately turn off those who’ve gained your trust.
At the end of a conversation, merely giving your prospective customers a link to your website for information can gradually lead them to your product. Yes, this might seem like a roundabout way when you’re under pressure to sell something. Regardless, building a truly empathetic relationship with your customer first will reward you plentifully later.
By using these techniques, you’re helping shape a better paradigm for sales that can be further shaped by the emergence of big data in helping find more personal information. By being empathetic and placing yourself in the shoes of another person, you can find true meaning for your product existing beyond just turning you a profit.