There are so many brands using social media that our newsfeeds are constantly swarming with their broadcasts. That’s right. Broadcasts. In spite of mountains of case studies and stats proving that the best way to use social media in your marketing is to become social, businesses stubbornly push forward with their stale, one-way, distribution-focused communication style.

The brands that have taken this lesson on board are few and far between but are seeing better reach and improved engagement. We’re looking at a few examples of how companies are driving two-way social media conversations and what you can learn from them.


Bring people together

Often, the fastest way to get someone talking is by putting another person in front of them. So instead of conveying a message as a brand all dressed up as a person, you can share the same message through the voice of your CEO, employees, customers and, even better, fans.

Connecting with their audience by building their message around what they knows artists are always searching for – inspiration, Sharpie is then amplifying their “grab a Sharpie and start creating” through the voice of one of their artists, and ties it all up with a pretty bow through Adam’s tongue-in-cheek artwork.

When adopting the technique, we need to first identify our audience’s pain point, build a resolution to said pain point through our products, pick a credible spokesperson and develop the story and supporting visual within the brand’s identity.

Take pride in your people

Conversations aren’t really sparked by the awkward questions brands post for lack of a better approach. Sometimes, they’re not even started through words but a different way of showcasing results.

Tesla hoods signed by the paint shop team to mark production milestones. Thank you to all of our teams for your work and commitment to our mission.

A post shared by Tesla (@teslamotors) on

Tesla isn’t an obviously conversational brand but they do have really good examples of using the power of achievement to drive two-ways conversations. Pardon the pun, I couldn’t help myself.  Making a very powerful statement through a series of bonnets signed by their paint shop team, the initiative recognises not just their milestones but their people and diversity, while creating a very unique work of art.

When adopting the technique, it’s essential the brand play second fiddle to the employees, partners or customers that have supported it in achieving whatever milestone we’re focusing on. They key, however, is in the medium used. While you can easily jot down a milestone in a fancy visual, the true power of the concept lies in creatively using your products or services as a canvas to express it.

Remember to laugh

Whether we want to admit it or not, there are few things we love to do more than laugh. Our brains are so well tuned into the humour frequency, we tend to smile back at people who smile at us for no particular reason. Don’t believe me? Try smiling when you walk down the street and see how many people grin back. Social media isn’t very different from a crowded street with people mucking about as you try to put on a show and fun will almost always draw attention.

From the word go, the guys at Poo~Pourri understood the massive potential humor had to differentiate their brand, especially considering what their product actually is. Clement Clarke Moore’s classic ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas has so many spin offs, most of which cringe-worthy, that it’s quite surprising to find one that works.

When adopting the technique, the devil really is in the details, as businesses try to adapt every single detail to their company’s reality. This turns the concept into a lame joke not even people inside the company get, let alone enjoy. Instead, focus on the elements everyone will get and make ever-so-slight tweaks to adapt them to your brand.

Give Before You Ask

Sometimes a dialogue needs a nudge from a clever conversation starter to get going, and others it needs much more of a setup than that.

Tiffany’s concept, while both on brand and interesting from a visual standpoint, isn’t too complicated or stunning. It is, however, not a conversation starter. The post continues one that’s been a long time in the making and leverages the existing brand loyalty to boost engagement by discussing a particular topic.

When adopting the technique, the one thing we can’t do without is patience and a track track record of delivering a good product/ service. Asking people what they got for Christmas, their birthday or just a random Friday, won’t prompt too much of a response without an existing rapport. If, on the other hand, we’ve crystalised the image of said product as a must-have gift or a status symbol, people will gladly open up and share.


The Bottom Line

Clever brands talk with people not to people. They learn to develop a strong, recognisable voice that pushes through the deafening social media noise.

Clever brands focus more on the value their content has for the user, not for themselves because they understand that what’s valuable for the former is also going to be valuable for the latter.

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