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How to make your brand more conversational on social media

Piali Dasgupta, Senior Vice-President – Marketing, Columbia Pacific Communities, writes about how brands can create a long-lasting, non-transactional relationships with customers that would ultimately result in salience and top-of-mind

Piali Dasgupta

One of the great boons of social media is that it allows brands to have real-time, two-way conversation with its consumers, something that is almost never possible in traditional mediums.  

Yes, social media is a double-edged sword. While brands have the advantage of interacting with their customers real time, listening to their conversations and gleaning crucial consumer insights at no extra cost, in this age of internet rage, they also have to ensure that the overall consumer sentiment around their brands remains positive.  

Social media is a great platform to showcase a brand’s personality and create a long-lasting, non-transactional relationships with your customer that would ultimately result in salience and top-of-mind, two of the most crucial brand KPIs to ace in order to be a category leader. 

Here is a six-point guide on how to make your brand more conversational on social media. 

  1. Understand your audience

The first step towards making your content more conversational is to have a thorough understanding of your follower demographic on social media. Look at your dashboard often, understand the key interests, location, age and gender of your audience. Once you have your finger firmly placed on the pulse of your audience, you will be able to tailor make content for them and serve them what they will engage the most with.

  1. Be authentic 

The millennial and the Gen-Z audience love brands that are authentic. A brand must own its story, find a purpose and steadfastly stand behind it. And that will result in heightened interest in the brand, resulting in higher engagement and conversations. There is something very attractive about brands that are authentic and have a unique voice. When you build a brand voice that is less filtered and more real, you send out a message that says, “We are approachable, and an ally. Let’s chat!”

  1.  Prod them to participate

There are two types of people on social media. Those that scroll but do not engage, and those that scroll and also engage. Brands should aim to convert the “scrollers only” to people that engage and have a conversation with them. It requires a fair bit of nudging, and compelling pieces of thumbstopper content. Of late, Zomato has been doing it very effectively. On New Year’s Eve 2021, they put out a post urging their followers to comment if they had no NYE plan, promising them that the comment with no replies will get free dinner from them. And before long everyone started responding to each other’s comments, resulting in over 10x organic comments on the post. The brand that usually sees anywhere between 200 to 600 comments on their posts, received over 25,000 comments on this post. They did a series of similar posts following its success. 

Content that nudges people to take an action always results in conversations, particularly when you also throw in an incentive, like Zomato did.

  1. Poll it!

Polls are a great way of amplifying engagement on social media. From Twitter to Facebook, and Instagram stories to LinkedIn, most social media platforms have introduced polls to optimise user engagement. And while on Instagram stories, the polls are ephemeral and last for only 24 hours, on platforms such as LinkedIn, which was the latest one to introduce polls, they last much longer, and also give you more than two options as answers.

Brands such as Ikea and Myntra use polls on Instagram Stories to showcase product range and also understand audience reaction to trends. Polls on LinkedIn could be used as an effective research tool and also to collect consumer opinion. For example, Dell used a poll to understand the kind of work setup people would prefer for the future – remote, at office or hybrid. On LinkedIn in particular, polls garner huge conversations provided a relevant topic is chosen and given the fact that the user gets to see the poll results only after she has participated in it, most people are inclined to participate and bite the curiosity bait. 

  1. Work hard on your copy 

The great ad man Howard Gossage said, “Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.” 

And that is something to remember while creating content on social media. People turn to social media during their leisure hours. Sometimes, they use it as an escape, during mini breaks at work. What they are looking for, therefore, is entertainment. And sometimes, information. Great copy has immense power, something a lot of new age marketers don’t understand, unfortunately. One can win big with copy. Ignite minds. Start a conversation. Get the consumer thinking. Good copy is key to making your content conversational. So, pay attention to it. Don’t undermine its importance. Never, ever go live with the first draft. Revise, re-read, ensure it follows the KISS (Keep it short and simple) rule, and most importantly, write in a language that your consumer understands and connects with. 

  1. Listen and be resourceful

It always pays to be a good listener, whether you are a brand, or a human being. When you listen to your consumers, you can have a more meaningful conversation with them. But it’s not enough to just listen today. Brands also have to add value to people’s lives and help them. For instance, at Columbia Pacific Communities, we listened to our consumers during the second wave of COVID last year, and realised how hopeless, fear-stricken and overwhelmed they were feeling by the situation around them. So, we quickly acted on it, launched a campaign called #ReachOut in association with Fortis Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences and encouraged senior citizens (our core TG) to reach out for mental health first aid completely free of cost through a helpline. It resulted in amplified conversations and also generated brand trust. All because we listened and helped. 

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)

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