4 Ways Brands Can Join Relevant Conversations on Social Media
Your brand will quickly become irrelevant if you're unable to join the conversations of your audience in meaningful ways.
As the social media manager, you have to constantly evaluate emerging trends within your target audience and identify areas where you can add value and thoughtful commentary.
And it isn’t really enough to simply participate - you have to spark engagement. Those that create real impact take a lead by facilitating the conversation or contributing value that informs or entertains. If you’re not doing either of those, you’re just making noise in an already-deafening space, putting you at risk of being ignored or unfollowed. Viewing social as a two-way communicative channel definitely helps guide this thought process.
If you succeed, depending on your business, fans will start to look at you as a thought leader or valued member of their community.
Notre Dame can still get a win by stopping by Whataburger on the way out of Texas— Whataburger® (@Whataburger) September 5, 2016
Accomplishing that is not easy. It requires swift action in a highly scrutinized environment that is quick to point fingers and rarely forgiving. It takes an in-depth understanding of your fans' perceptions and interests.
And you have to be a creative listener; someone who is able to connect the dots between your brand, audience and trends, finding intersections that can be leveraged to engage with the conversation.
Your content approval process may not be geared to accommodate fast paced environments and your organization may believe the risks outweigh the rewards.
These barriers, however, should not deter you. Here’s a few tips to help your brand become part of the conversation:
Facilitate the conversation. Learn from the best; what are the experts saying? Start the conversation by outlining a few key points around a trending topic and bring it up for discussion with your audience. Twitter polls can be an excellent tool to spark such discussions in the context of your brand.
Participate in industry events. Develop a decision-making process that aligns with the nature of the event. At Ketchum, my supervisor and I communicate via text when live tweeting, ensuring that content is quickly reviewed and shared. When you’ve streamlined your approval process, engaging with fans in real time becomes a lot easier.
Monitor trends within your audience. Create Twitter lists of the most knowledgeable sources, outspoken fans in your community and relevant influencers. Once you discover a relevant topic, quickly asses how you can add value to the conversation, either by informing followers of the trend, or providing an insightful read on the latest developments. By monitoring your audience you’ll also be able to pick out their interests and create content based on those findings.
Start the conversation. Host a chat with industry experts. Pick an environment that makes audience engagement straightforward, like Twitter or Facebook Live. You’ll get bonus points if you’re able to simultaneously share some of your brand’s expertise.
How do you ensure your brand is part of the conversation? Feel free to tweet me your perspective!