Tag Archives: conversation

Getting Started on Social Media

Recently, I’ve been asked a number of times how to help brands and companies get started on social media. Sometimes, these questions are being asked by companies not using social media. However, sometimes it also includes brands that have social media accounts, but are just not using them.

Here is my three-step approach to using social media effectively.  Note: For these three steps, I would highly recommend using HootSuite. Read my posts on HootSuite here.


What are people saying about your company, brand and industry. Learn what the conversations are like and who the people are. You will find influencers, thought leaders, friends and even enemies.  Like GI Joe used to say, “Knowing is half the battle!”

Get Involved

After you know who these people are and what they are saying, you are now prepared to say hello and enter the conversation. Be there to answer questions. And do not be afraid to let people know that you’re new to the social media game and are here to help in any way that you can. You will find that most people on social media embrace and appreciate honesty and authenticity. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.

Lead The Conversation

After a few weeks of listening and getting involved, you should now be ready to lead the conversation. It’s your turn (as a brand, company or independent business owner/professional) to be the thought leader and influencer. You ask the questions and provide guidance. Remember that you are the expert. Social media is just a tool to help engage with people to tell them your story as well as to listen how you can help others.

Try these three steps and let me know how things turn out.

Entering the conversation with HootSuite

After we listen to the conversations that are taking place online hopefully we will soon become comfortable. We will get excited about the positive comments and ecstatic about the opportunities we see. What about the negative comments. Choose to see these as opportunities to improve rather than hide your head in the sand. Hiding doesn’t make the negative go away even though we might hope they will.

Two things you should understand is:

  1. People move to social media to both congratulate and complain.
  2. People view a brand’s social media accounts (right or wrong) as customer service channels.

This brings us to entering the conversation.

Saying Hello:

Let people know who you are and what you do. However, don’t fall into the habit of spamming. I usually follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time you should be sharing interesting third-party content, RTing interesting content and replying to people online.  The rest of the time you can tell people about what you do and share with them your own content.

Positive Comments:

Positive comments give us the opportunity to receive validation on what we are doing and our industry. If someone leaves a positive tweet or Facebook comment regarding their interaction with your business make sure to thank them. A retweet (RT) or Like is not sufficient enough. Leave a comment thanking them for taking the time to leave a positive comment. And ask them what specifically they enjoyed. Even ask them to continue to use your service/product.

Negative Comments:

At our social media agency in Toronto we have the opportunity to work with many popular brands. Not too long ago, one of our long term clients underwent a rebrand. One of the changes was that the brand was open twice as long as they were before. Which means twice as many customers; twice as many happy customers; and twice as many negative comments. Our client could have shut things down and hid their head in the sand. Fortunately they understood the opportunity and have been engaging with everyone who leaves comments on their Facebook page or Twitter account.

Questions and Answers:

People will also have specific questions about your business. They may even have questions about your industry. Be open to answer all of these.