blog header image

Shaping the Social Media Conversation

Aaron Stoker-Ring

May 21, 2015
Aaron Stoker-Ring

 

According to statista.com, there are more than 1.6 billion social media users worldwide. Social media is dialogue. If you want to take advantage of social media, you need to be ready to cede more control of your brand.  While controlling the conversation is impossible, here are five things you can do to shape it to your advantage.

1) Have a clear message. 

Content is meant to be shared. A clear message is easier to share.  Also, as sharing often invites commenting, it is easy for a message to evolve in unforeseen ways. The clearer message, the more chance it will keep its integrity.

2) Understand that all content is PR

The goal of content is conversation—shares, comments, advocacy—all of it earned media. That’s PR, folks. You are not presenting, you are engaging. And this can be incredibly powerful. According to Nielsen’s “Global Trust in Advertising” Survey, “92% of consumers around the world trust earned media—such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family—above all other forms of advertising.”

3) Put yourself in the passenger seat. 

Without empathy, all the data in the world can’t connect you to your audience.

Imagine that you are the consumer of your own product.  Be as excited about your product as your audience is. You might not be able to control the dialogue, but with the proper tone you can certainly influence the direction.

4) Be authentic.

When people talk with their friends, they might tailor their language a little bit, but they usually don’t mimic them.  They don’t change their personalities at every turn. When you speak as yourself, people take what you say more seriously. When you co-opt the latest slang, you can easily sound desperate, patronizing or worse.  And because social media is social, it’s easier to turn people off with awkward content than it is in traditional marketing.

5) Engage with critics as much if not more than you engage with advocates.

Social media gives marketers the perfect opportunity to gauge and respond to consumer experience in almost real time. Be grateful to your detractors (true critics, not trolls).  Take their criticism to heart. Fix the problems. In this way, you can detractors into advocates.