2 Steps to Creating Great Social Interactions

Posted by | Posted in Opinions | Posted on 12-04-2012|

I have written two blogposts earlier about Paul Adams’ theory on the future of advertising (you can read part 1 here and part 2 here). Part 1 talks about Paul Adams’ theory itself – social behavior of what, why, how and who of communication (the anatomy of communication), how do social networks such as Facebook work and help in spreading the content in relevant circles, and how people’s thinking is affected by biases, etc.

Part 2 talks about the 5 reasons why social interactions are important in the digital world: (i) They complement and in some cases replace ‘impressions’ that banner ads provide, (ii) interactions increase reach in relevant circles (social and interest graphs), (iii) Interactions stay online and influence potential future prospects’s decisions, (iv) Interactions will complement CRM and Touch Point Experience Optimisation, and finally, (v) interactions bring new ideas to life relatively quickly.

The theory doesn’t reveal any groundbreaking concepts, but it neatly summarizes various thoughts out there and puts things in perspective. As a business owner, you need to understand just two things for putting this into practice:

 

I. Finding Interaction Opportunities

 

“As a business owner manning a social media property, you should always look for opportunities to create interactions.”

 

Most social media practitioners struggle here. 82% of page owners of facebook post less than 5 updates per month (econsultancy). One reason why this number seems less is the page owners fail to identify opportunities to create an interaction. A Page owner’s first and foremost task on social media is to figure out and if need be, create opportunities for interactions.

Interactions can be two types – proactive and reactive. Most of the businesses do not have anyone talking about them on the internet, while a few  businesses have a lot of people talking about them. A mom-n-pop store isn’t a popular topic on social media like say, DELL computers

While DELL can create an interaction by reacting to every person that has mentioned its brand name by simply acknowledging or solving the problem if there was one, the mom–n-pop store needs to proactively create interactions and come up with content that can get its customers or prospects to respond.

Interaction opportunities also arise if someone carries out an activity that relates to your brand. Say, a fan likes your page, likes a post or photo, accepts a discount, complains about something, thanks you, or posts something to indicate likely interest in (news, tips, fun, value etc).

While choosing content for a proactive interaction, business owners need to take 5 Things into account:

  1. Why would your customers/prospects like this content?
  2. Is it customized to age, gender, location, interests, lifestyle of your customers?
    1.  It is a good idea to check the best pages in your category on how they are doing this and learn from their strategies.
  3. Can it make their life easy? (quoting Paul Adams)
    1. Solutions to the customers’ problems is also content J
  4. Does it have something latest & relevant information (and need not be directly relevant to your business)
    1. Take a look at pages using Sports events, Hollywood to spark interactions.
    2. All corporate social responsibility content
  5. Increase their bonding with their social/interest circle
    1. Surf Excel does this brilliantly by giving recipes as updates

It is very important to note the following when you are choosing content :

 Creation vs curation : the user is happy as long as as the content is relevant, useful, or has some value in it. It need not always be original content created by you. If you find some content which is useful/has some value to your fans, share it!

A successful interaction cycle could look like this:

 

 

 

II. Daily Plan of Interactions

While the daily practice of Light Weight Interactions is relatively simple for smaller businesses, for larger businesses, they need to have a custom solution to make it work for them.

 

  1. Share content
    1. Most of the content could be gathered from the web (Using Google alerts, Flipboard, and readers are just fine, find more here)
    2. Everyday atleast one update has to be made (though its not a rule, it’s a good habit)
    3. Post something better than your previous post or your competitors
    4. Check for location and language targeting options (for Facebook pages)
    5. Apply Content selection criterion listed above.
  2. Connect one to one with people
    1. A list of people who you should be connecting with today
    2. Include top fans and people who were once active
    3. Include those who have made a negative mention about your business
    4. Don’t forget the context of last interaction you had with them
  3. Participate in discussions
    1. Respond to people talking to you, positive or negative
    2. Identify threads on your own Page and elsewhere, you can add some value to
    3. Include platforms that have reach (facebook, twitter, G+, Linked in)
  4. Review whats working
    1. See how exactly your content has performed
    2. See how your competitors are doing
    3. Go through the great examples by others

 

A growing number of Facebook pages are effectively using this like JimmyJohns, Surf Excel etc and I think this is only going to grow else Brian Solis’s Digital Darwinism will wash out the less prepared!

(@venkatvp this is part 3 of the 3 blog entries that make up my thoughts on Paul Adams FMC talk , his blog and book ‘Grouped’)

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