Being Conversational, Not Contentsational

July 10, 2015

Using Twitter as a Relationship Building Tool17

Several months back I came across a tweet that read, “Another morning of marketing jargon,” this stuck with me.  At Seven Degrees we work with clients to construct feasible, effective social media plans that produce organic followers and leads.  When communicating with our clients, we emphasize the concept of “being conversational, not contentsational.” What does this mean?  This means that Twitter is a door to opportunities.  By using Twitter as a communication tool, companies and people have access to media, influencers and publications that are often a challenge to reach via email.  However, as a community manager for a number of brands, I have found that achieving a response from the media and influencers is not easy. Don’t let anyone tell you that it is. Through trial and error we have learned several techniques for using Twitter as a relationship building tool and less of a content distribution machine.

Engage with the Media.

While media pitches and emails flood journalist’s inboxes, emails get lost and an immediate response may not get back to you. Twitter provides a different type of access to influencers and journalists – even if it is used to follow up on an email. I often use Twitter to approach journalists after reading an article that aligns well with a client’s mission. This approach has led to journalists direct messaging their contact information and telling us that they would like to have a phone conversation. In speaking with a number of journalists, many have shared that they  prefer not being pitched through Twitter. With that in mind, we recommend using Twitter as a relationship building tool.

Hook your audience.

One of my biggest peeves is seeing a brand post the title of an article with the link, it adds to the noise. Instead, bring value by saying why this post is relevant.  Pull a statistic, quote or formulate a question that will encourage followers to click the link. There is a difference between “link-baiting” vs. capturing attention – we prefer the latter and we can assure you your followers will too.

Identify Key Hashtags.

Whether you are tweeting on behalf of a CPA, Law Firm, Marketing Firm, or an Event Industry Supplier, there is an active hashtag associated with your target market.  When sharing content, use a hashtag for more exposure.

Respond to Hashtag Conversations.

I often recommend using a social media management tool like Hootsuite to keep track of hashtag streams.  A part of social media is responding as well as listening.  Become familiar with the content others push out and respond when necessary.  For instance, if you’re an event supplier, follow the #eventprofs hashtag and respond to questions and comment on articles. If you are representing a company that sells HR Systems, follow the #SHRM stream.  By responding and sharing knowledge, you are relationship building as well as building trust.
Twitter makes conversations possible and conversations make relationships happen.  What are your best practices for striking a social media conversation?  What are some of the challenges you have faced? If you find that you are in need to pick our brain or revamp your social messaging, we are happy to help.