Content Marketing Blog

How your social media content can help you control the conversation

Building a strong and active presence on social media can help get your brand involved in what your customers and other stakeholders are talking about.

And according to new research, brands can have a positive and noticeable impact when they step into these debates.

A study by researchers at the University of Washington found that official social media brands get decent cut-through when they join active, online conversations.

When rumours are spreading or a scandal is unfolding, other users pay attention when companies, government agencies and other recognisable brands weigh in.

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“Oftentimes in a crisis, the person operating a social media account is not the person who makes operational decisions or who even decides what should be said,” said Kate Starbird, one of the study’s authors.

“But that person still needs to be empowered to take action in the moment because if you wait 20 minutes, it may be a very different kind of crisis than if you can stamp out misinformation early on.”

Don’t be put off by social media fails

Brands that have put their proverbial foot in it when trying to be quick or clever on social media can have a chilling effect, particularly for lager companies.

The bad publicity you can get from a poorly-though-out tweet or an insensitive Facebook post can be enough to put some brands off the idea of reacting quickly or devolving responsibility to people on the ground.

But for every social media fail there are also plenty of examples of companies trusting their employees to speak for them. To use social media to reach out directly when customers are upset or confused about something.

Check out this post from the social media app, Buffer, which has some excellent examples of brands responding promptly and imaginatively to questions, complaints and requests.

If you take the Morton’s example, where a cheeky tweet at an airport earned a loyal customer a free steak, it might have taken a bit of organising and quick thinking to achieve, but the free advertising through all the retweets and comments that it generated were an excellent pay-off.

What these examples also show, however, is that the bar has been raised a bit since the early days of social media-led customer service. If you want to be noticed, you not only have to be nimble, you also have to be pretty clever with your response.

Had Morton’s tweeted back 4 hours later acknowledging the request and suggested he go to his nearest outlet the story wouldn’t be making any of these lists 5 years after the event.

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