One common mistake that marketing and communications professionals make is “megaphoning.”
This vice is partially what it sounds like: being really loud with your efforts. But the problem actually goes a little deeper. Being loud, on its own, can be a positive trait: bold, unignorable, memorable. But when your campaigns or outreach efforts are megaphoning, it means that they’re also one-way. If someone is literally standing on a podium with a megaphone, then they aren’t there to hold a conversation. They’re there to make a proclamation to a crowd.
It’s very clear: We talk, you listen.
You want to learn about our brand, our products, our sales. We don’t need to hear from you.
Your interest in us is far greater than our need to engage with you as an individual consumer.
You’ve surely seen campaigns just like that: They’re sent from no-reply email addresses. Maybe it’s a newspaper ad that invites you to a sale but doesn’t offer contact information if you have questions. Maybe it’s a social media account with the comments disabled.
However, it’s very important for companies to show an interest in hearing from their clients and customers. You want to build and nurture those relationships over time. You definitely want to convey the fact that the time and money they put into your company will be valued and returned to them. Otherwise, you might end up erasing your voice altogether!
How do you reverse the effects of megaphoning?
Want to avoid the megaphone effect? Sometimes, that’s as simple as making yourself available. Give your readers a Contact Us link. Offer timely replies to comments on social media.
But “megaphoning” also implies that you are only talking about yourself. For example, instead of talking about how customers can benefit from a certain product, companies might boast about how great their product is and how great they are for selling so many units for such a great price. This fails to keep in mind that real people are on the other end of those transactions, contributing to the company’s success with their loyalty and hard-earned money.
To avoid this, it’s important to give credit where credit is due. You can’t succeed without your partners, vendors, investors, customers, and clients.
Highlight other voices within your sphere, like staff members and industry leaders. This can show that you know it’s not just about your company all the time. It also makes the brand seem more personable and gives you more of a real “voice”—not a robotic monotone of megaphoning ad-speak on all channels.
Featuring testimonials can also help; or, you can welcome dialogue in a forum setting. You can host events where people can show up and discuss their experiences.
There are many ways to eliminate the perception of megaphoning. Most importantly, correcting this habit will deliver far better outcomes. For a quick scan of your online presence, or a deep dive into your outreach efforts, Contact Us.