Mar312015

Five Ways to Change the Conversation on Social Media

Posted by Kassy Perry

By Kassy Perry, President and CEO of Perry Communications Group

In today’s media landscape you have seconds to grab the attention of your audience, whether that audience is reporters, customers, partners or members. In those few seconds, you have an opportunity to make your voice heard above the fray or remain quiet in the face of “hard” questions from reporters or anxious consumers.

Social media is the platform where organizations become accessible to their audience and have the opportunity to change the conversation and the reputation of an entire industry.

Here are five ways to change the conversation on social media:

1. Have a conversation, don’t give a speech
Technology has dramatically changed the way consumers get information. Breaking news is distributed first on Twitter, often conversationally by eyewitnesses. It is important to use this same conversational style with your followers so that your organization is accessible, transparent and easy to engage with. The more conversations your organization can have on Twitter, the more reach and engagement you will receive and the more visible you become.

2. Share other’s information
Stories are shared, tweeted, liked and reposted thousands, sometimes millions of times a day. More than 60 percent of Americans receive their news online and social media has emerged as a powerful news tool. To be relevant in this environment, it is important to look beyond your organization. What are your followers interested in? What would they find fascinating? What news are your partners sharing? If you can engage in bigger conversations, you can reach a bigger audience.

3. Build new relationships
Instead of shying away from the hard questions, this new media environment should empower organizations to build a new kind of relationship with reporters, partners, members and customers on social media. Today’s consumers often go to Twitter first to file a complaint, ask a question or ensure that an organization is credible or reliable. Many reporters use Twitter as a way to monitor and engage with communities, track the conversation and reaction to certain topics, locate sources and even find new story leads. By finding and conversing with these reporters, consumers and partners you can build a network of ambassadors that will speak positively about your organization and help shape your reputation.

4. Craft a personality
It’s important to find your voice and personality on social media. That personality can incorporate humor, expert opinions, accessibility, a quick response time, etc. Overall it should be conversational and true to your organization’s overall mission and identity. How would your CEO talk to a reporter or a consumer? Find that voice and use it consistently across all social media platforms.

5. Stick to your message
Social media plays a major role in message consistency, accessibility and shaping the overall reputation of an industry. Because of this, a strong, consistent and active presence on social media could benefit many organizations’ public image.

No matter the size or nature of your business, social media messaging and engagement is an essential part of any communications program.