It quickly becomes obvious if a business is just swooping into social media to post their own marketing messages and then ignoring their social communities the rest of the time.
While a great deal of business and marketing can happen via social media, primarily it’s a channel for conversation between individuals. One huge bonus of that is that the more conversations you have with individual customers and prospective customers, the better you will understand what they want and need. That will help you deliver more relevant content, products and services.
Yet with so many other moving pieces to manage in a business, it can be difficult to keep up with the conversation and be attentive to those crucial relationships.
In a three-part series, I’ve been interviewing Brooke Ballard of B Squared Media for her insights into how businesses can automate and outsource their social media – without being robotic or fake.
In Part One, we looked at the first C of social media – content. In Part Two, we’ll get Brooke’s thoughts about managing the flow of conversation on your business’ social media pages and profiles:
Our tag line at B Squared Media is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign.” We take conversation very seriously, whether it’s saying thank you to someone who shares our content, providing customer service, or fielding a question about products and services.
How to automate your social media conversation
In a word, “Don’t!”
Brooke explains: We don’t ever automate any form of online conversation.
Okay, Brooke, I’m totally with you on that one! Email autoresponders are one thing, but automating conversation on social media can really damage your credibility – especially with people who are very active on social media and passionate about the culture of their preferred platform.
Yet in Part One of this series, we heard Brooke’s recommendation that we check our social media accounts for messages, likes, shares, comments, etc. three or four times a day (morning, afternoon, evening and before bed). Help!
How to outsource your social media conversation
How some businesses make that happen is to outsource the job to a company like B Squared Media. Outsourcing conversation can work, as long as certain key ingredients are in place. Brooke explains:
If you do decide to outsource the conversation of your company or brand, you need to be sure your consultant has the following:
- Deep understanding of the company’s mission, products and services
- Access to support for customer services inquiries, sales leads, and other brand-related issues that may arise
- A living, breathing brand persona worksheet or plan
- An audience analysis for each of your brand’s online marketing channels
- Excellent communication skills
- Stellar spelling and grammar capabilities
- Ability to report on analytics and data (not just vanity metrics – you need to know what conversations lead to conversions!)
- A personality and the ability to be genuine, friendly and witty – often all at once!
Conversation is a crucial component of the social networking process, and while automating it may not a good idea, Brooke has shown us that it can certainly be outsourced if done thoughtfully.
Stay tuned for Part Three of this series, where Brooke will discuss the third C of social media – curation. We’ll explore what curation is, and how businesses can make better use of it as part of their ongoing social media activity.