Talking The Talk: Social media conversation don’t say much

I was reading a blog post (quite possibly one of my own) the other day and this comment captured my attention: “Content is NOT king. It is the conversation around that content that is king.”

I recently spoke to a group at one of our campuses about how many of these conversations we THINK are occurring on the social web that are not occurring at all. A blog comment is not a conversation. A tweet or a status update is not a conversation. Pushing a “like” button is not a conversation.

So if you accept that we rarely have real conversations (and I would love to know what your definition of real is) around here on the Interwebs, what ARE we doing and does it have any affect on sales? Yes, I said sales. Marketers do not exist to drive re-tweets or page views. We exist to sell more product to more people for more money.

It’s difficult to make a hardwired correlation between most social activity and sales. However this is a familiar marketing dilemma. It is also nearly impossible, or at least prohibitively expensive, to correlate the affect of a billboard on sales (how many of you have heard me use this example???), or a PR campaign on sales, yet we do these things anyway in hopes of driving that mysterious goal of brand awareness.

The ultimate aim of marketing is to create some connection between your product and your customers that will incent them to buy (read: enroll). That’s where the power of social becomes magical. Sure, viral content might increase awareness, but more importantly, social interaction gives your customers a way to ENGAGE with you and your products … to suggest to you, and snip at you, and celebrate their love (or hate) of all things YOU.

Wow. That’s pretty powerful stuff, no?

For decades, marketers have been “talking” to customers through ads, and now for the first time in human history, the people on the other side are talking back! No, it isn’t a conversation, but it IS engagement, and that is truly the Holy Grail for a marketer.

So what do you think? Are we having conversations online or are we engaging? If we are doing neither, why not? How can we create more trust, more dialogue, and more sales?

——————————–
Snippets of this post are courtesy of Gini Dietrich at Social Media Today.

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About andrewodom

Social Media Manager at Delta Career Education Corp.
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10 Responses to Talking The Talk: Social media conversation don’t say much

  1. Linda Walinsky says:

    Great article – and my challenge out to the social media teams would be…. when we post comments/events on — are we thinking about the future graduate enrollee that may be reading our posts ????

    High School Teams – are we making a focused effort to drive folks to our facebook pages during our presentations? How many high school visitors have we had visit our pages so far this year? Set goals, make targets, and make it happen!!

    I’d love to hear what you are all doing out there!! Share please….

    • andrewodom says:

      You raise some great points Linda. I think the thing we DO have to think about is that our pages should address all parties: potential, current, past, etc. If we put only things revolving around today’s class or the term start date or grad prep then we are missing out on the entire interest of potential students. Likewise if we don’t talk about successful alumni, job opportunities, Alumni events, etc, then we are missing out on catering to our past students. We have to find a very delicate balance. The answer may just to be post more. Don’t try to make one good, solid, well-rounded post. Go with the numbers. Post several times; each time addressing a specific group!

      I love it. Set goals. Make targets. That is the key. We know that 9 out of 10 high school students are on FB. They are not a very discriminating group. You give them a FB page to visit and they will. But they also have relatively short attention spans. Don’t clutter the page with a lot of business. Again, find that balance. Post cool pics. Get some videos up. (Only 1 school has posted a video of them).

      And what about print material? Bookmarks in newly purchased books or check out library books? Posters on the all in the computer labs. High school tshirts that sport the FB address. Let’s get crazy!!!!!!!

  2. I would like to see Career Service sending out congratulations #1 to our grads who have just begun their new future/life–even if they are not a friend on FB yet–they will be after that!! Someone who knows them will pick it up–great sales tool!! #2 would be to send them a “welcome to…..” before Grad Prep–doesn’t take 30 seconds and each person in the office should start with his/her specific group. Need a great partnership with every functional area–one smile and message to all!! #3 to let all know if we have a new employer partner and or what has happened at a recent recruitment event.

    • andrewodom says:

      Excellent thought Randall. You don’t have to be a friend of someone on FB to send them a private message. But an encouraging word like congratulations accompanied by a friend request would be a great way to bring them into the fold, for sure.

      #3 is a fantastic idea as well. I love contacting businesses in the community and key people.

      Career Service folk….what do y’all think? Chime in!

  3. Philip says:

    We will be highlighting one program a month at our campus on our Facebook page. We could combine all of the ideas listed into one. It shows off the programs to High school students and it shows off the program to employers in the community. We are starting with pictures and short videos. I am sure there is much more we can do. We are starting the Month of October with Cosmetology, and November will Be Massage Therapy. The cosmetology girls in our clinic just had an 80’s day. Showing off things like this and the fun they have may help with current high school students, as well as people coming back to school. Seeing the students doing the specific tasks in the clinic will show off what they can do to the local employers.

    • andrewodom says:

      Is there a custom tab on the FB page already Philip or is there something I need to do to help y’all achieve this strategy? Share a link with us all if there is one. Let’s spread the success!

      • Philip says:

        I do not think we have one but it was discussed. If you could create one that would be great.

      • andrewodom says:

        I just need someone to contact me Monday so we can talk about what their is to put on the page and how we are going to do it Philip. I don’t mind doing it at all!

  4. Tyler says:

    Great article Andrew. One of the things that our team has been trying to do to get our students to engage more on the fan page is by posting statuses designed to be responded to, like asking questions.
    Also, to try and take bring in more of the high school market, our campus created business cards that the presenters take out to high schools with all of our facebook information on it. They are an easy handout that allows high school students a direct link to our facebook pages. I can forward what they look like to anyone interested.

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