Connecting with Conversations

Connecting with Conversations

Connecting with Conversations
We all know that social media, and Twitter particularly, thrives on conversations. Nothing gets more attention than a Twitter thread with varying points of view. Somehow, seeing a discussion or debate triggers us to get involved, too. But when it comes to brand handles, not every brand participates in conversations the same way as individuals do. Are brands missing out by not engaging in conversations? We spoke to the CEO of B Squared Media to find out. Here’s a summary of our chat.
Guest: Brooke Sellas
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.
Q1: Should brands get involved in Twitter conversations?
If your audience is active on Twitter and they want you to engage with you on the platform, then yes, you absolutely should get involved.
A1: If your audience is on Twitter tagging or mentioning you, YES. You should meet customers where they are. #TwitterSmarter
— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) September 8, 2022
Nowadays, customers will automatically gravitate towards social platforms they want to be in. Just follow their lead.
A1A: Today’s consumers are on a self-led journey. That means brands need to understand which channels they want to be serviced on and make every effort to meet them there. #TwitterSmarter
— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) September 8, 2022
Q2: How can a brand share opinions and feelings on social media?
The best way to go about sharing opinions and feelings is to make it relatable and realistic. For example, people will relate to a social media marketing agency talking about how they feel about the new filters on Instagram. However, they may not relate to the same social media marketing agency talking about the US Open. It’s best to stick to your industry or a topic that closely aligns with what you do.
A2: The easiest way to share opinions and feelings as a brand is to share them as they related to the brand or if they're adjacent to your industry. Are you a social agency who hates the new Instagram updates? Share that, AND, ask for opinions and feelings back! #TwitterSmarter
— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) September 8, 2022
While sharing opinions, ensure that you’re opening up a conversation. Instead of sharing a closed-ended statement, make it an open-ended question—ask people what they feel and engage with the responses you get.
A2A: As you share your own opinions and feelings, entice your audience(s) to share their own. This type of conversation leads to voice of customer data, which can help you make better marketing decisions around content, messaging, product development, etc. #TwitterSmarter
— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) September 8, 2022
As Avast pointed out, and our guest agreed, polls are a great way to start a conversation with your audience. They’re easy to interact with and also a good way to drive the conversation towards a specific angle.
I love polls! They’re less daunting than open-ended questions. Great for conditioning new followers to converse with your brand! #TwitterSmarter
— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) September 8, 2022
Q3: How can you separate the social media manager’s voice from the brand’s voice?
Social media managers (SMMs) tend to have a unique and undeniable voice on their personal handles. That’s why it’s important to separate their voice from the brand. The best way to do this is to set up clear and extensive brand guidelines that cover language, tone, diction, emoji usage, GIF usage, and the overall voice of the brand. Ensure that your SMMs get periodic training and updates about the brand’s voice.
A3: Having very specific brand guidelines are important to ensuring the tone and voice of your managers' match the tone and voice of the brand. B/C this can be so subjective, it’s best to run exercises with your SMM’s to ensure everyone is on the same page. #TwitterSmarter
— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) September 8, 2022
One of my favorite ways to distinguish a brand from the SMM is Jim’s recommendation, too. Ask your SMMs to sign off each tweet so that the audience knows who’s behind the handle at any given time. This can be particularly useful when you participate in Twitter chats or Spaces. Social Media Pulse and our friends at NOW Marketing Group do a great job of this.
A3. Have the brand manager put their name on the tweet at the end. @SMP_Community and @NOWMG does a good job at this. #TwitterSmarter
— Jim Fuhs #DealcastersLive #AgencySummit (@FuhsionMktg) September 8, 2022
Q4: How can a brand share controversial opinions without causing backlash?
You can’t so don’t bother trying. It’s impossible to please everyone. Acknowledge that and stand by your brand’s values. Those who support your brand will continue to do so.
A4: This is a hard one! You can’t please everyone all the time (or be everything to everyone). The safest way to do this is to KNOW this and STAND BY your brand’s core values. #TwitterSmarter
— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) September 8, 2022
As Madalyn added, when you’re interacting online, always be kind and respectful. You can still have an amicable conversation with someone who disagrees with you.
A4: Not everyone will agree with your opinions, so you can’t always avoid backlash. I think the best thing you can do is stand firm in your beliefs and understand that it’s okay if others don’t support what you do. Always be kind and respectful. #TwitterSmarter
— Madalyn Sklar  Digital Marketing since 1996 (@MadalynSklar) September 8, 2022
Q5: Why is social listening important?
Unlike social media monitoring, social listening is proactive. You’re actively searching for customer views, perspectives, and feedback. This means that you can gain valuable data on what your customers prefer, and how they feel about your competitors so that you can make strategic decisions.
A5: Social listening (SL) takes you beyond the basics of social monitoring (reactive). SL is proactive because it helps you see voice of customer data outside of when you’re being tagged. That proactiveness includes data on industry and competitor conversations. #TwitterSmarter
— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) September 8, 2022
If you find that your brand has a relatively low rate of tags and mentions, then it’s a sign that you need to invest more time in community building. That said, though, you can still listen to what your audience is saying about your industry and your competitors to gain useful market insights.
A5A: Many clients tell us “No one talks about our brand!” – which needs fixing! Until that can be rectified, you can still gather data around your industry and competitors, including sentiment. This can help with content and messaging + tactical differentiation. #TwitterSmarter
— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) September 8, 2022
Q6: Facts VS emotions: which helps you connect more strongly with people?
Relationship psychology indicates that we build connections by sharing stories about ourselves with others. These are incredible moments we share in a conversation that makes us instantly feel like we know the other person a little better.
(allow me to get nerdy) A6: If you look at the psychology behind how we form relationships as humans, the social penetration theory (SPT) says we do so by giving self-disclosures about ourselves. There are four levels of disclosures. #TwitterSmarter
— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) September 8, 2022
Our guest outlined four types of disclosures. These are cliches, facts, opinions, and feelings. These are the things that connect us with each other.
A6A: 1) Cliches (everyday, “water cooler” talk); 2) Facts (must be otherwise unknown to be a fact); 3) Opinions (start to reveal someone; “it’s raining” is a fact, “rain is depressing” is an opinion); 4) Feelings (reveal a person's core/is where we build trust). #TwitterSmarter
— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) September 8, 2022
Emotions always trump hard facts. Even though most people appreciate the decisiveness of a fact, they also want to connect with others they can resonate with. That’s how trust is built—and to do that, you have to show the human side of your brand.
A6B: All of that to say, Emotions > Facts! People want to connect with people like them. And you can’t build trust and loyalty without revealing “who” your brand is (and aligning those values to theirs). #TwitterSmarter
— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) September 8, 2022
Q7: What should brands avoid doing when trying to build relationships on social media?
As Dorothée said, don’t be robotic. Though automation can be helpful, don’t rely on it so much that your engagement sounds fake and engineered. Another important one: don’t be a salesy broadcaster. Social media is for two-way discussions—be involved.
Louder for the peeps in back, Dorothée! #TwitterSmarter
— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) September 8, 2022
Your Social Penetration Theory or SPT, as our guest defined it, should focus on providing breadth and depth. Some in your audience will want to see how broad your knowledge is, while some others will want reassurance that you have deep expertise in one area. Cater to both.
A7: Focus on breadth AND depth with the SPT (also known as the onion theory). If you’re continuing to grow your audiences, you’ll have to have breadth, but for those who are learning to trust you, you’ll need depth. #TwitterSmarter
— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) September 8, 2022
Another good thing to remember, as Lance pointed out, is to own your mistakes. We all slip up sometimes, but what really makes a brand relatable and likable is the way they acknowledge their mistakes and handle that situation.
#TwitterSmarter A7: When re-establishing or rebuilding an online relationship, brands should not patronize or deflect. If you made a mistake, own it. 100%. Don’t give away the farm but commit to what needs to be done to re-form trust. You won’t always succeed. But try.
— Lance A Schart ???????? (@LanceASchart) September 8, 2022
Q8: Share some of your favorite social listening tools.
Our guest’s favorites include Sprout Social, Agorapulse, Talkwalker, and Mention. Most of these offer free versions or comprehensive free trials so you can explore and play around with them before making a commitment.
A8: We use and love @SproutSocial . But I’ve also heard great things about @Agorapulse and @Talkwalker . @Mention also offers one free listener, so you can dip your toes in with that one! #TwitterSmarter
— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) September 8, 2022
When evaluating tools for your social listening, ask the vendor how the product can help you solve your problems. That’s a good way of filtering out the tools that may not work as effectively for you.
A8A: When demo’ing tools, ask them to SHOW YOU how their tool can solve your problem or meet your goal. If they can’t SHOW YOU, move to the next demo. #TwitterSmarter
— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) September 8, 2022
Other tools our community members recommended include Brand24, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Buffer, Google Alerts, Brandmoran (a listening tool exclusively for Kenya), and eclincher.
Well folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading through and for more great insights from our chat with Brooke have a look at this Twitter Moment that Joana put together for us. If you like this summary, you’ll love the real-time chat. Join us next Thursday at 1 pm ET for #TwitterSmarter. We also have an after-chat on Twitter Spaces at 5 pm ET. See you there!
About me, Narmadhaa:
I write all the things—marketing stuff to pay the bills; haiku and short stories so I feel wholesome. A social media enthusiast, I hang out with the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and am always happy to take on writing gigs.
Say hello: The Opinionated Copywriter | LinkedIn | Twitter
Hey, it's madalyn!
I help busy entrepreneurs transform their social media marketing so they can reap the rewards of a strong community and higher engagement.
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