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Building Strong Connections With Your Social Media Content

Published on: December 5 2022 by Social Media Examiner

Building Strong Connections With Your Social Media Content

Building Strong Connections With Your Social Media Content

- We buy based on emotion
and only after we've made the purchase,
do we kind of back it up with logic, right?
Which is why there is such a thing as buyer's remorse.
So if we know
that we make buying decisions emotionally, right?
And ultimately that's what marketers
are probably using social media for,
not always, but a lot of times it is to help with revenue,
Then you need to understand
that you need more emotional content,
and this is what most brands get wrong.
(upbeat music)
- Today I'm very excited to be joined by Brooke Sellas.
If you don't know who Brooke is,
she's the founder and CEO of B Squared Media,
an agency that helps mid to large sized brands connect,
converse, and convert via social media.
She's the author of the brand new book, "Conversions",
no, "Conversations That Convert".
Brooke, welcome to the show.
- Hello. Thank you so much for having me.
I'm so excited to be here.
- So conversations. - I know.
I'm kind a fan of alliteration if you couldn't tell.
- Yeah, absolutely.
Well today, Brooke and I are gonna explore how to build
stronger connections with social media content.
But before we go there,
Brooke, I would love to hear your story
since this is your first time on the show.
How did you get into social marketing?
And start wherever you wanna start.
Let's hear the story.
- Awesome.
Well, I took a very non-linear path,
and I actually got started with social media
when I was in a non-profit job.
So back a very, very long time ago.
I won't say how old I am, but you can probably guess.
In my early 20s I decided to go work in nonprofit
for the Cystik Fibrosis Foundation.
One of my sisters has cystik fibrosis.
So we've been involved with the charity
for a very long time, loved to volunteer,
and just decided like, hey, why not get a job there?
And while I was there,
I was tasked with figuring out how to get young people
involved with the charity,
because typically our donors
were a much older subset of people.
They were connected in some way to CF directly.
And they really wanted me to try to figure out
basically how to be a marketing and salesperson,
and get younger people involved with the charity.
So I thought long and hard about it.
And Facebook was around at the time,
but this was very early.
This was like 2006.
So very early on, there weren't Facebook pages.
There wasn't advertising. We just had profiles.
And I started a young professional's committee
of young people, like my young people.
And we decided to use Facebook to have an event
that we knew young people would love, which involved beer.
That's how you get young people's attention, right?
- A 100%, and old people.
- Yes.
Well, beer is a national sign of welcome all.
Anyhow, so we used that Facebook page,
and keep in mind, this was actually a profile at the time,
it was not a page,
to recruit over 7,500 people
to attend our first year event, a pub crawl.
And we ended up making over $60,000 for the event,
which is about 12 times what a first time event
normally makes for the cystik fibrosis foundation.
So this little seed was planted in my head of,
wow, there's something to Facebook.
It's more than just what we're making it out to be like.
There's a business thing happening here.
And a few years later
when the bottom fell out in 2009, I left a nonprofit.
I went back to school,
I did my undergraduate thesis work on social media
and how businesses can use it to build relationships
with people and make money convert.
And then that won a bunch of awards.
I went to present
that at the state capital in Harrisburg.
And then essentially from there,
started my company B Squared Media.
So it's kind of been a whirlwind,
but it all started with that pub crawl for a nonprofit.
- Who would've thought that beer would lead to this, right?
- It started with beer.
- So when did you start?
What year did you start your agency?
- 2012, so we're 10 years in.
We just turned 10 actually this May.
- So tell us a little bit about what B Squared does,
and, well, actually when you started
the agency back in 2012,
what was it like back then?
And what were you doing back then?
And tell us a little bit of that story.
- Yeah, it was really different, obviously.
In 2012, if you've been in the game for a while,
you know it's changed quite a bit.
It changes a lot.
I think, change is constant with what we do.
And I thought I was going to come in
and be the person who helped people with their strategy,
build that for them
and then kind of pass it along and move on.
And what I found within literally the first six months
of owning the business
was the problem wasn't really with strategy.
The problem was more in the implementation.
So my very first client was a Fintik company,
and they are actually the company
who put the cashless cabs in New York City.
And they took the strategy.
They were happy with the strategy.
And I got a call from them like six weeks
after we delivered the strategy.
And they said, "Brooke, everything's great.
You are great. We cannot keep up.
We just can't keep up with posting all of this content
and toking to the community.
Can you just come do it for us?"
And I was like, well, I mean, I guess I could.
And I did.
And then literally from there,
pivoted from delivering strategies
to actually delivering done-for-you services.
So that's literally what we do today.
Companies come in,
they hand us their social pages and we literally do it all
for them as an extension of their team.
- What does that normally involve?
- What doesn't it involve?
So we help with content.
We build out content calendars for the client.
We obviously post to all of the different platforms.
We help them come up with the strategy and ideas
behind the different platforms that they want to use.
And then we manage the community seven days a week,
365 days a year.
So weekends and holidays were there.
Answering questions as the front line for our clients.
And then obviously we do all of the reporting,
all of the metrics, all of the KPI measurements,
our key performance indicator measurements.
And then generally just kind of advise them
on how to continue to connect, converse, and convert
with their audiences through social media.
- So the book, "Conversations That Convert"
is just about, as of this recording, launching,
or where are we at with that book?
- Just about to launch.
I should have turned my pages in yesterday.
Fun fact, I got delayed in Houston,
so I lost a full day of work.
So they're going in tomorrow,
and within like, I don't know,
48 hours or so I should have a book.
So by the time this comes out, the book will be out.
- Yeah, and for those that are listening,
we're recording this in the middle of June.
And it comes out, I believe in the middle of July.
So conversations that connect.
- Conversations that connect, how to convert...
how to connect, converse, and convert through social media
listening and social media customer care.
So it's really just about
how to make those connections in the appropriate way,
because really, I hate to be the bearer of bad news
and I definitely don't wanna be a Debbie Downer,
but a lot of brands get it wrong
when it comes to connecting with the right people.
- Yeah.
So let's tok a little bit about social connections.
There's a lot of people listening right now that have...
There's some that are new.
There's some that have been at this for a long time,
like you and me.
And it feels like since I started in 2009,
and when I started Social Media Examiner,
and it sounds like 2008 was when
you kind of got into this business,
back then, community was very much a big deal
because we didn't have video.
We didn't have social audio.
We didn't even have images,
I don't think, in the beginning.
It was all text, right?
- Right.
- So along the way,
it feels like it was very much about interacting
and engaging with people,
and creating eventually,
content that somehow connects with people.
But there's still a lot of people listening right now
that are just scheduling stuff and forgetting about it.
And there's still people that believe in automation
solutions and all these other kinds of things.
And for them, it's just a box that they tik.
What do you wanna say to people that are doing that,
that maybe do not understand the importance
of social connections and why building these connections
on the social platforms is so important?
- Yeah.
Well, I love that you said that
because it was about community.
And I think that we hit that wave at the right time
with the nonprofit,
because that's exactly what we were doing
on that Facebook profile.
We were building a community of people.
We were toking about cystik fibrosis.
We were toking about our relationships
with people who had cystik fibrosis.
We were toking about our relationship with beer.
So it was very much a community
before it was anything else,
before it became a a conversion event
for the sales of the event.
And I think with the advent and all of the cool advances
that we've had through social media,
we've kind of gotten away from that community, right?
It's become more about fancy,
shiny content or amazing videos.
And we've really kind of pulled away
from the connection piece,
which you really can't converse and convert.
And if that north star of yours is to have a community,
you can't build that either without that connection piece.
And so I think we're kind of skipping to the end, right?
I understand that marketers are very impatient,
and obviously businesses are too.
We all have budgets.
We all have goals we have to make,
but we can't skip to the end.
If we wanna do it correctly,
we have to start with the connection piece,
which is so critikal to building those audiences
who will then converse, convert,
and hopefully remain loyal to the brand.
- Yeah, I think it's really important
because in this short attention span era that we're in,
and it's only gonna get shorter
because there's just so many things distracting all of us,
whether we're ADHD or not, which I'm not.
But I feel like I am sometimes,
because everything is screaming for my attention.
It seems that with the right kind of content,
we can create connections or signals
to people that attract them a little bit to us.
Now, before we go there,
I wanna tok about what so many of us
are getting wrong with our content.
Because to be intellectually honest,
I think so many marketers picked up some tips in
2012, 2013, 2014.
And they've been doing the same thing ever since, right?
And what I would love to focus on
is what do you see that marketers are doing wrong?
What are some of the mistakes that marketers are making?
Let's start exploring that a little bit,
because I think some of the audience is gonna say...
They're gonna raise their hand and say, "That's us."
- I know, and that's okay.
I want people to understand that in the book
and just me as a person,
I'm not here to tell you that you're doing it wrong.
I think a lot of us have been doing it wrong.
I can raise my hand and say I was doing it wrong
for a long time as well.
I think really,
we have to just remember that at the end of the day,
we're emotional beings, we're humans.
We actually buy things based on emotion, not on logic.
If you look at some of the neuroscience research
that's out there,
and I won't get too far down that rabbit hole,
but we buy based on emotion,
and only after we've made the purchase,
do we kind of back it up with logic, right?
Which is why there is such a thing as buyer's remorse.
So if we know that we make buying decisions emotionally,
And ultimately that's what marketers
are probably using social media for,
not always, but a lot of times it is to help with revenue,
then you need to understand
that you need more emotional content,
and this is what most brands get wrong.
And I realize this is not as easy as what I'm about to say,
but most brands live in what I call
cliche and fact-based content.
So cliche means just that,
it's not adding anything to the conversation.
Think of like water cooler tok or elevator tok.
Facts are great and they have a place,
but all factual content,
as I'm sure you're starting to understand
if your wheels are turning at all,
can also be very boring, right?
It's not doing anything on an emotional level.
Where brands start to move that needle
and actually build relationships
and help move people towards that emotional state
is through opinions and feelings content,
which you see very little of.
Only the very best brands I think are using of opinions
and feelings well with their content.
- So I wanna zoom in on this cliche stuff
and the fact-based stuff,
just because I think so many people need to understand
really what you mean by this.
So can you give some examples of cliche content?
And can you give some examples of facts-based content,
just so people in their mind can go from this abstract
concept to understanding really what you mean by it?
- Certainly. Yeah.
So when you think of content, right?
So the undergraduate thesis that I did
is on the social penetration theory.
Terrible name, brilliant concept.
But essentially, it says the way we build relationships
is through self-disclosure.
And there's four levels of self-disclosure
with cliches and facts being number one and two.
You don't build relationships
until you get to three and four,
opinions and feelings.
So a cliche piece of content,
I'll give you example that's in the book.
It's from ProFlowers,
which is a company that you can order flowers
to be delivered to someone through.
They put out a post that said
you have to stop and smell the roses.
And they had a picture of one of their bouquets,
which, okay, sure, that's great.
But it's cliche,
and it's cliche because stop and smell the roses,
on an emotional level it doesn't really strike me.
They're not doing anything to move that needle.
They're not just really disclosing
any information as the brand.
So another way we build relationships is through finding
values that are similar.
So I don't know anything about ProFlowers' values by them
telling me to stop and smell the roses,
and they have this picture of a bouquet, right?
It's just cliche.
It doesn't do anything to move the needle.
It might catch my attention, but it probably won't.
- You can already hear the marketers in the conference room
saying, "Well, I think this is a great idea."
Right? - Yes. Yeah.
I mean-
- Probably it probably fell flat, right?
It probably didn't really create the kind of engagement
they were hoping for, is my guess, right?
- The post did not get a of engagement,
as I'm sure you can guess.
And why would it?
I mean, like you said in the beginning,
we are inundated with content.
Our attention spans are being pulled
in 40 different directions in any given second of any day,
unless we're asleep.
But if you're like me,
it's still being pulled in those directions, right?
So you really have to have something that not only
makes that person stop scrolling,
but makes them want to connect,
want to hit that like button or that follow button
so that they can see more of your content
and decide if your brand aligns
with their core personal values.
So cliches just won't cut it.
- tok to me about the facts-based content,
just so we understand what you mean by that.
- Yeah.
So a fact-based piece is great,
but here's the thing about disclosures, right?
- But what is it, what is it exactly like?
Define it.
- Okay, so fact-based content would be factual content
about your brand.
So let's say B Squared Media,
we have a new service coming out
and we put out a post on social media that says,
"Hey, friends, we're releasing a new
social media mystery shop," which we are.
And here's some little bullet points
about what the mystery social media mystery shop is.
- Social media mystery shop, oh.
Keep going. - Yeah.
And we put factual little bullet points
about what that service means.
And then we probably have a call to action that says,
"Hey, and if you wanna learn more, click this link," right?
We're all very familiar with this content
because we all do it.
I'm guilty of this too.
It's factual.
But the social penetration's theory says
that to be a self-disclosure, it has to be unknown.
So if I post that the first time,
that's a true self-disclosure.
If I keep posting it, which we do as marketers, right?
Part of our job is to get those click through rates
onto our websites or landing pages or whatnot.
It's not a self-disclosure anymore.
It becomes just fact-based content that isn't doing anything
to move the relationship forward.
- Let's explore this phrase you've used a couple times,
which is self-disclosure.
Now obviously self implies individual.
You're using self in the case of a business, right?
So you're really defining.
Define what self-disclosure is a little bit
and why it's so important
that I think that might be valuable.
- Sure.
So a self-disclosure typically
exactly means from a personal point of view,
you are disclosing information about yourself.
So Michael and I meet,
we're at Social Media Examiner's big conference,
social media marketing world.
We meet in the hallway and you're like, "Hey, I'm Mike."
And I'm like, "Oh my gosh, I know exactly who you are.
I've been following you for years.
I'm so excited to meet you."
And you say, "Well, tell me a little bit about yourself."
And I say, "Well, I'm from Texas and I'm always searching
for the best text mix," right?
I'm giving you a self-disclosure about me.
And if you're like, "Oh my God, I love text mix.
I'm always looking for the best text mix,"
then we might connect on that little piece of information.
And as we connect on these little tiny,
I mean, I'm toking micro pieces of
you're constantly reading those self-disclosures from people
and deciding if you wanna go further,
and essentially, that's what the best brands are doing.
They're receiving...
They're putting out little pieces of micro self-disclosures
and self-disclosures in that aspect,
meaning from the brand, right?
What are their brand core values?
How do they feel about such and such?
What's their opinion on this or that?
And then you are deciding as a consumer,
whether or not you connect with that
and whether or not you align with that.
And if you wanna move forward with the relationship
with that brand based on those disclosures.
- Okay, this is intriguing.
So if the problem is that
many of us are putting out cliche content
that just isn't connecting and seems to be riding
some sort of a cultural wave
or whatever that's going on, right?
Like come smell the roses or whatever,
or it's got something that is just informational like,
"Hey, we've got a brand new product,
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Here's what it is,"
that kind of thing.
Those things are not going to
really help you develop a community
as much as it sounds like,
it feels like it's more of a broadcast, right?
Like you're just putting information out there.
And most of it is just bouncing right off the recipient.
Is that fair?
- Yes. That's so fair to say, yes.
And like I said, we are emotional beings, right?
So people say, well, this isn't the same for B2B,
yes, it is because there's still a person or group of people
sometimes in the B2B landscape,
making that buying decision on the other side of the screen.
We're still human selling to humans.
And so if there's a human evolved,
then there needs to be emotions involved,
which we've decided we don't wanna get in touch with
or use in our content for some reason.
- So the solution to these problems,
you've kind of hinted a little bit
with this self-disclosure thing.
But what is...
How do we...
How ought we as marketers,
as social community people,
as people that are active
on the social platforms, creating content,
how should we go about creating content
that does build strong connections?
Tell me more.
- So we need to get more in line
with content that helps either solicit,
meaning asking for from our audience
or giving out from the brand, opinions and feelings.
So we tell you how we feel as a brand about a certain thing.
Even if it's something trivial, right?
It doesn't have...
We don't have to get crazy,
but we also give you our feelings.
And then we're also soliciting
that information back from you.
Because again, going to the psychology of consumerism,
if you feel like you have buy-in,
let's say I'm a pin company.
And I put out a poll on LinkedIn that says,
"Hey, we're going into production with our next pin.
Should we go into production with pink or green?
You vote and whatever you vote on the most,
that's the pin we'll go into production with."
If most people pick pink and then you put out a pink pin,
the people who voted for pink
are several times more likely to buy the pin,
because they felt like they were a piece of that, right?
It's a sense of belonging.
When we tok about community,
that's how you start to build that sense of belonging.
You include people in your marketing plan.
- This is interesting because I heard you say
that you create content that either solicits feedback
or you give your opinions on certain things.
I know a lot of people are really scared
about giving their opinions on things,
but I really think a lot of people are not as scared to ask,
how do you feel about X, right?
- Yes.
- And we do this a lot at Social Media Examiner
with a lot of our content.
So for example, I believe we did this,
but if we didn't, if I was in control of social,
which I'm not, I have people that work for me,
I would've done this.
But I'll give you an example.
Adam Mosseri, who's the CEO of Instagram, did a Ted tok.
And in his Ted tok,
he toked about a future where social marketing companies
will no longer be in control.
And he toked about a future where creators
are gonna be more in control.
And he toked about this whole Web 3.0 concept,
and it was very counterintuitive to the kinds of things
you would've expected to come out of the lips
of the CEO of Instagram, right?
So if I was to post something like this,
I would say something like,
what do you think about Adam Mosseri's Ted tok
about the future of social platforms?
And then maybe in the comments after the dialogue got going,
I might say something like,
this seems very counterintuitive to the toking points
that come from Facebook directly.
You know what I mean?
So I'm giving my opinion, right?
- Yes.
- But not immediately because I want
that thread to happen, right?
And I know if I did that,
I would've had people say, "I haven't seen it yet.
What did he say?"
I might give a summary of what he said.
And some people would say,
"I couldn't believe he said that,"
da, da, da, da.
Is this the kind of stuff that we're toking about?
- Yes, and I love this example so much,
because listen, I'm going to say something that might blow
some of your minds right now.
But community, if that is your goal, right?
If that's your brand's goal
and you're trying to get to community,
community does not happen in content.
Community happens in the conversation.
It happens in that back and forth
that you just gave the example of.
And when you go through and you say,
I think this is counterintuitive, I don't align,
the people who also don't align,
therefore will align more with you
and align more with your brand.
Does that make sense?
- Totally, and in my case, I would say I do align,
but I think a lot of people at Facebook probably don't align
because it feels as if he's...
And I would go down all these rabbit trails.
I wonder if this is the beginning of the end of Instagram
and Facebook collaborating together, you know?
And I would ask these kinds of questions, right?
- Yes.
- I know my community is very interested in Instagram,
and anything that's going on in Instagram,
dot, dot, dot, dot.
So this is where it can get kind of fascinating.
You as the brand can solicit the feedback,
but you don't have to give your opinion necessarily.
You can, but you don't have to,
which I think is fascinating because from my perspective,
when I get a chance to see
what people's opinions are on this,
that's where it gets really interesting, right?
Because you'll see that there's a divide sometimes
amongst the commentary, right?
- Oh yeah.
Especially in our industry,
there's a lot of divides happening, right?
- Right.
So getting back to this
feelings-based content,
I mean, this is something you and I toked about
when we were preparing for this.
What is feelings-based content?
Let's describe what this is, right?
Because I am not a feelings-based person.
- That's okay.
- I'm more of a logical person,
so what does it mean to have feelings-based content?
Cause I think that's really what you're advocating here.
- Yeah.
And I mean, there's a light way you can go about this
and a fun way that you can go about this.
When we think of feelings, right?
Especially when we think of marketing and sales,
we think the feelings end at happy or sad,
but think of all the emotions that you go through
as a consumer, right?
Because we know based on research that more and more
consumers are going to social media,
they're looking at the reviews.
They're looking at these conversations that are happening
between the brand and its community or audiences.
And they're deciding whether or not
they align with the brand.
So the feelings that you can use, again,
going back to what consumers feel,
what do you feel when you're going to buy something?
You feel antikipation, you feel excitement.
You feel love, you feel hate.
There's a lot of different feelings
that we feel as consumers.
So I think it's smart for brands to start to understand what
are some of those feelings that their potential customers
are having and what are those feelings
that their customers are having,
and then start to ask some of those questions.
The beautiful thing about social media,
it's like the world's largest focus group.
Only, it's way less time intensive,
way less money and way less biased
than traditional focus groups.
So if you can start to look at social media
as your playground, as your place to test,
as your place to have these conversations about opinions
and feelings including your own,
you can start to then bring all of that voice of customer
data in house and make better data driven decisions
with your social media and your marketing.
So feelings content,
let's just say it is in an easy way,
maybe something like B2B marketing on LinkedIn.
If you're on LinkedIn,
they do a great job of using feelings and opinions content.
I tok about-
- You mean the company LinkedIn in partikular?
- Yes. Yeah.
They do a fantastik job.
And one of the examples I think I gave in the book,
I might get the exact statement wrong,
but it was like, "We've reduced the budget, period.
Name another marketing horror story in four words or less."
Right? - Okay.
- And this is research.
Think about who LinkedIn as a company is.
They had hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of responses.
It's LinkedIn.
They can see who these people are
leaving these responses, right?
But it's also bringing voice of the customer data
back to LinkedIn.
They now know through hundreds of comments,
what are the top fears that people
are currently facing with B2B marketing.
And then what will they probably do if they're smart,
which we know they are,
they'll turn around and they'll put out content related
to those opinions and feelings that their audience
gave them on that question.
- Fascinating.
I wanna tok a little bit about,
it's one thing to solicit feedback.
It's another thing to give an opinion.
And there's a lot of businesses that are very concerned
about giving an opinion because they know if they give
an opinion that they're going to potentially alienate
a section of their audience.
And you and I toked about risky
and non-risky ways to do this.
So let's tok about this a little bit
because I think everybody can get on board
with soliciting feedback that feels very easy,
but there is this next level that we're toking about,
which you've been referring to as self-disclosure, right?
Where you're gonna share some sort of something
that is a feelings-based thing.
How do we go about doing this?
tok to me about the risky and the non-risky opinions
and how to use them in social marketing.
- Absolutely.
Well, so the first thing I wanna say is that dissolution
is a good thing.
I feel like as marketers,
I'm gonna break your brain again here,
but I feel like as marketers,
we're taught that we have to just keep growing.
We have to keep growing that follower base.
We have to increase followers.
We have to increase, increase, increase.
And I'm here to tell you that in my opinion,
dissolution, when someone unfollows your brand
or disconnects with your brand is a good thing.
Because the more people you have who are aligned
with your brand and your core values and theirs
will become more loyal and will buy from you more.
So you're just removing the noise.
You're removing the bramble on the path,
if you will, to purchase,
when you connect more with people
who are more aligned with you,
which is why feelings content is so important.
And I've given you a couple of non-risky examples,
but I'll give you a couple of riskier examples.
- Wait, actually, I don't know if anybody
connected with the non-risky examples.
Maybe you can tell us the non-risky examples again.
- Oh sure. Okay.
So LinkedIn, B2B is a great one.
I'll give you a few more.
- Like where they're giving their opinion,
not where they're soliciting opinion.
Do you understand what I'm asking?
- Yes. Where they're giving their opinion.
So non-risky ways to give your opinion.
There's a lot of brands right now who are connected
with a lot of the social causes
that are going on currently in America.
Right now it's Pride Month.
You'll see a lot of brands putting out pride content,
changing their banners, changing their logos,
toking about the programs that they have
that support their LGBTQ community within that company.
That's not risky.
Some people might call it risky,
but it's not if the brand
truly is aligned with say, pride, right?
If they have programs in place,
if that's something that they do inherently at the company
as a program or CSR, corporate social responsibility,
that makes sense.
And it's not risky because that's something that the brand
has already aligned itself with
for a longer period of time, right?
So that would be non-risky feelings content.
"Love is love," a post as simple as that,
or, "We believe in love is love,"
a simple post like that is a feeling piece of content
from the brand that's giving out those brand values,
and hopefully their audience or the audience
that does align with that will become closer to the brand
and share some of those feelings back.
- Okay. I like that one.
I would love to get another one,
maybe that isn't necessarily related to like social issues.
Are there any other examples
of non-risky things that are not social?
- Yes.
- Only because for some companies,
social issues are always risky, you know what I mean?
For some businesses, yeah.
- So ProFlowers, let's use ProFlowers again.
They put out a post recently that says...
And this could be considered opinion content,
could also be considered feeling content,
but the post itself was,
"Unpopular opinion, we love carnations.
We think they're absolutely gorgeous," right?
So carnation is kind of poo-pooed on
as like the lower flower in the flower world.
So they gave this opinion and/or feeling
because they use the word love, right?
We love a carnations, and of course they do.
They're a flower brand.
It aligns nicely with, I'm sure, their brand values.
No flower left behind or whatever those values are.
And then people shared opinions back.
There were a lot of people who aligned with that and said,
"Hey, I love carnations.
They're are great. Da da, da, da."
And then there were some people who wrote back
and shared their feelings and said, "Absolutely not.
I hate carnations. They're so ugly.
They're worthless," right?
So they're still gathering that voice of customer data based
on this opinion/feeling post,
they put out and they didn't even ask for opinions
and feelings back, but they got them.
- Another example.
I'm thinking we have this statement on our website
that says, "We believe that with smart marketing,
you can compete with the largest players in your industry."
So indirectly, what we're really saying
is we're for the small guys.
And if we were to post on social platforms,
we could say like power to small business.
You know what I mean?
Or like if it's small business month,
let's just say there is such a thing, right?
Then we could say,
"Hey, virtual holding up a glass of wine
to all the small business,
small businesses out there struggling to make it through
the pandemic or even the recession, right?
That's kind of a standing for a very specific group.
We're not saying, "Hey, you bigger businesses,
we're opposed to you."
But we are drawing attention to a very specific niche
that we are trying to attract.
Would that be a non-risky content?
- Yeah, you could say something like,
"We love small businesses and then parentheses.
I guess you big guys are okay too," you know?
- Yeah, yeah, yeah.
- And that is going to strike me right away.
I'm gonna stop my little doom scrolling.
I'm gonna read that
and I'm gonna smash the like button, right?
Because I'm a small business and you're telling me like,
"Hey, Brooke, I'm with you,
and you are for me and I'm for you."
And that's exactly what I'm saying more brands need to do.
- And by doing that,
we're gonna get comments that say,
"Well, I'm a big business, da, da, da."
You know what I mean? And I get it.
And you're always gonna...
Like sometimes we post Web 3.0 related content
because obviously we're working on building out
content related to NFTs and all that stuff.
And we've got plenty of people that are so ridiculously
opposed to it, you know?
And it's clearly not for everyone.
But if you don't...
Yeah, I'm tracking with you.
I understand the non-risky stuff.
So let's tok about the riskier stuff.
- Okay.
- Because everybody probably is very scared
to do the risky stuff.
But let's get some examples of risky.
And then we can tok about why it might be advantageous.
- I'll put a little asterisks here
and just be like the disclaimer,
"Disclaimer, do not try this at home."
The two examples I'm about to give are very large brands.
And the reason why I'm giving these examples
is because they have a ton of input, right?
They took a ton of that voice of customer data, analyzed it,
and decided to make these decisions
before they ever did that.
So this is not something I want you to take lightly.
If you do decide to be risky or take a stand as a brand,
I think it's good because research is showing,
I think, the latest research that came out,
I wanna say it was Forester or it might have been McKenzie,
but anyhow, over 70% of consumers are looking for brands
to take a stand.
And that's especially true in the younger generation.
So if you wanna take a stand, do it,
but the big disclaimer is at your own risk.
Make sure you have plenty of inputs
before you give the output.
So the first one is Patagonia, outdoor apparel brand.
You're probably familiar.
Their audience is likely made up of people
who wear outdoor apparel,
who are very into sports, nature, the outdoors.
They put out a post on LinkedIn,
it was probably about eight months ago now,
that said that they have decided to stop advertising
with Facebook specifically because of Facebook's propensity
to spread misinformation about climate change,
because Patagonia and one of their brand values
is to support climate action, climate change.
And this isn't that farfetched to think that their audience,
their consumers probably also support climate action through
climate and climate change
because they're outdoorsy people, right?
So it's not that risky when you think about it inherently
that they made this statement,
but it was a bold statement
and they've continued to stand by it.
They've made updates to this post saying,
"Hey, we're still not going to advertise with Facebook
because Facebook doesn't support climate change
the way we do," right?
They took a stand.
- Well, and they also...
I have some Patagonia clothes just because I'm a hiker
and I love their stuff.
They also are careful about creating stuff that lasts.
You know what I mean? - Sustainable.
- Sustainability is a really big thing for them.
So this kind of aligns perfectly with their brand, right?
Like they don't want to align with anything that is counter
to what their brand is.
And fascinatingly enough,
they were advertising on Facebook, right?
So there was a point where they obviously decided to
compromise that or maybe they were just unaware of some of
the stuff that was going on with Facebook or ignorant of it.
And they finally realized, nope, we're not gonna do that.
And therefore they chose not to.
Now by choosing not to advertise on Facebook,
they're kind of making an enemy
out of a big social platform, right?
- Yes.
- And they probably had a lot of arrows
coming at them, is my guess, you know?
- Yes, yeah.
- So that's the downside.
- That's the risky part, right.
And what also could have happened,
I mean, I don't know, I don't work for Patagonia.
They're not one of our clients.
So it was just an outside looking in case study.
But one of the other things that's interesting
is they could have had their community come to them and say,
"Hey, I see you running Facebook ads,
and we all know Facebook isn't great
with climate action, climate support.
What are you gonna do about it?"
They could have gotten pressured into that.
But again, knowing your brand values is so important
because that was a real easy leap for Patagonia to make,
to make that big statement
and to pull out a Facebook advertising.
- Awesome. You got another example?
- Yes, so my next example is a little more of a leap,
little more risky.
And it's when Nike decided to partner with Colin Kaepernick
for their big campaign, Just Do It campaign.
And Nike has historically supported athletes
and supported inclusivity with their brand.
So it's not that far of a leap,
but because specifically Colin Kaepernick at the time
was kind of the leading forefront
with kneeling during the anthem to protest brutality
against black people and the police, right?
So it's a more of a risky leap.
And what we saw in the news as marketers
was people burning their Nikes.
So we all kind of sat back and said, woo,
Nike made a big mistake there, right?
And their stok did dip,
I think within the next couple of weeks, about 3%.
But the real marketing story is that over time,
their stoks skyrocketed
and the company has really solidified itself
far above its competitors
partly because of this campaign.
The people who burned their shoes, burned their shoes,
but in all likelihood they know who their audience is.
They know that many of them are black or people of color
or support black lives matter or Colin Kaepernick,
whatever it may be.
And those people obviously bought more and became more loyal
because we've seen that their stok prices increased
several folds after this event took place.
And they've continued to solidify
their place as the top sports brand.
- Yeah.
It's so intriguing because obviously the people
that are really patriotik to the flag
that maybe didn't understand what Colin was doing
saw that as something like they...
That Nike was being non-patriotik to America.
- Yes, yes. - Right?
And that was kinda the challenge and they...
But they knew what they were doing because they were trying
to attract a very specific younger generation
that is very much into social action, right?
- Correct.
- And doing this probably a lot of people flock to Nike
as a result of it, which are gonna...
And they're probably gonna stik with Nike
for a very, very long time.
- Right. - Fascinating examples.
I wanna tok about if we are to consider getting
into to doing some of this,
some of the things we've been toking about have possibly,
let's say we've got our values
and we know what our values are,
but maybe we wanna take a stand on an issue,
whether it's a social issue or non-social issue,
what should we be doing to prepare for this?
You and I toked about social listening
and some other things.
I would love to chat about that a little bit.
- Yeah, I think social listening
is one of the most underrated
social media marketing tactiks out there.
It blows my mind that not everyone is using social media
listening today because that is where you can collect
all of that voice of customer data.
And this includes not just the conversations
that are happening with your brand,
so like when you're tagged on social,
but it also includes the wider Worldwide Web
of conversations that are happening on partikular keywords
and themes and topics that you're trying to follow.
So there is literally a fire hose of information coming from
social listening that you can use to help collect
that voice of customer data,
not only for your current customers,
but people who are out there toking about some of those
keywords that you're interested in collecting data on.
- tok to me about some of the tools
that you can use to do this.
- So listen, I say this in the book, but for my thesis,
and this was a very, very long time ago,
there wasn't social listening.
We didn't have tools.
So I literally would had a spreadsheet where I would code
every piece of content that went out from the brand,
and then code every single piece of incoming content
to the brand.
So, I mean, tiknically you could use a spreadsheet,
but for your mental sanity, I wouldn't recommend it.
If you want a free tool, Google Alerts.
You can go into Google Alerts, put your brand name.
So for instance,
if I went into Google Alerts and I set up an alert
for B Squared Media and I put it in quotations,
Google would return any sort of Worldwide Web information
on B Squared Media.
And I actually still have one set up to this day,
even though we use social listening.
M-E-N-T-I-O-N.com has one free listener.
So you could go set up a branded keyword listener with
Mention and have free results brought back to you.
And then there are tons of very expensive
and less expensive tools that you can use.
I use Sprout Social, Agorapulse,
which I know is connected with SME.
They offer social listening at more of that lower level.
And then so for some of the enterprise sized brands,
Sprinklers, a big brand that comes to mind
for social listening.
So you could literally go from do it yourself,
to free, to very expensive.
- What do we do with the data that we get?
What are we looking for?
- Yeah, that's a great question.
So part of what I have coming out with a book
is a free social media listening workbook
that kind of helps you understand
how do I set up my goals for social listening.
If you're a first time...
If it's your first time
or you're new to the social listening game,
I've got this free workbook coming out,
but essentially you need to understand
what are we trying to listen for.
What do we want to understand?
What's the why. Right?
And then based on that question,
you can set up your listeners or keywords,
keyword phrases to help you then bring data
in to your social listening tool.
And then you can slice and dice it
a million different ways based on that why.
Obviously if you just go out there
and try to listen to everything and everyone,
it's not gonna work.
You have to get very specific about what you're trying to
prove with your social listening initiatives first.
- tok to me about the voice of customer and mirroring
languages a little bit,
because I would imagine we're...
Even though not everybody's a customer
that's commenting on social,
there could be some really great nuggets out there, right?
- Yeah.
So a lot of little interesting nuances that we've seen with
some of our clients who use social listening
is that even though you might have a product name, right,
marketers also have a lot of jargon, right?
We call things a lot of things
and then we call those things jargons.
It's terrible, but I'm guilty of it too.
What's interesting is once you start to listen
to these conversations, again,
whether you're tagged or it's happening in the wild,
you'll start to see consumers aren't using our language,
surprise, because we don't...
We think we set up everything.
We think of everything that we do is amazing,
but consumers beg to differ sometimes.
So you'll see them using different language markers
than the brand uses.
And what we try to encourage our clients to do is to mirror
the language that their customers are using.
Because remember, at the end of the day, we're human,
emotional beings and we learn,
we grow up and we build our own relationships
through mirroring each other.
So I'll give you a really quick example.
When coronavirus first started happening,
I saw you at Social Media Marketing World,
and then literally the world shut down
like a week or two later, right?
And in the beginning we were using coronavirus,
that's what the media used.
That's what consumers were using.
But over about a three to six-month period,
we saw through social listening that the consumer chatter,
people stopped using coronavirus and started using words
like COVID, COVID-19, or the pandemic.
And so we brought that information back to our clients
and we said, look,
if you're sharing information about coronavirus,
which many of them were because they were businesses
who needed to keep updates going out,
you need to use what your consumers are using.
Don't say coronavirus, because then you sound like the...
You know the meme with Steve Buscemi?
- I'm like medical doctor.
- Yeah. It's like, "Hey, kids, what's happening?"
Yeah. You just don't sound right.
So you want to look at those conversations
that are happening and figure out how to mirror
some of that language, right?
Especially when you're thinking about those opinion
and feelings posts.
If your community or audience doesn't use the word love,
they use the word "intense like",
I don't know why they would,
but I'm just making this up, you know?
- Sure. Yeah.
- You say we intense like small businesses.
- Or maybe they just use the emoji a lot
instead of using the words, right?
- Yes, same. Yes.
Look at that.
How many times do they say love versus using a heart?
Which heart do they use?
I mean, this is so nuanced,
but this is how crazy we get with social listening.
If they use the purple heart
and you're using the pink heart,
you better start using the purple heart.
- That's crazy.
Brooke, this has been absolutely fascinating.
And there's some listeners right now
that would love to grab your new book,
"Conversations That Connect"
and would love to connect with you specifically.
Where do you wanna send them?
- Well, for your listeners specifically,
we are going to do something awesome.
We are going to give you the entire first chapter
of the book for free,
Along with that social media listening workbook
that I just toked about.
So you can go to bsqaured.media
which is our website.
- The letter B.
- The letter B.
Yes, B as in Brooke, B Squared Media,
and then go to \SME for Social Media Examiner.
And that's where you'll be able to collect obviously
information about the book,
but we'll give you that first chapter.
We'll give you the workbook.
We'll give you some things to kind of wet your whistle.
And then if you wanna buy the book,
you can see that there as well.
- Brooke, if people wanna reach out to you on the socials,
do you have a preferred platform?
And if so, what?
- Yes. Twitter happens to be my favorite.
I know I'm old.
- Hey, Twitter's hot. It really is.
- I love Twitter. It's always been my favorite.
But literally, you could go to Google and type in Brooke,
B-R-O-O-K-E, Sellas, S-E-L-L-A-S.
And as far as I know,
I'm the only one out there
and you'll be able to see all my social profiles,
but Twitter is definitely my favorite
if you wanna reach out there.
- So is it just twitter.com/brookesellas?
- Yes. Yep.
- Okay. Perfect.
Well, Brooke, thank you so much for coming on
and answering all my questions
and providing your amazing insights.
We really appreciate it.
- Oh, thank you so much for having me.
I'm really excited and just appreciate all of the effort
that you put into helping me become a success.

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