Adobe Digital Dialogue

Conversation, not Content, is King

Michelle Gautrin, Senior Social Media Strate­gist, Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing, APAC, Adobe Sys­tems @mgautrin

Image courtesy of photoraidz at

Last week I attend­ed a Social Media Brand­ing event in Sin­ga­pore where brands like StarHub, SingTel, Domino’s Piz­za, Leno­vo, Mari­na Bay Sands and more, talked about the ways they’re using social media to ele­vate their brand and reach cus­tomers. One con­cept real­ly stuck with me and was the under­lin­ing theme of everyone’s pre­sen­ta­tion: Con­ver­sa­tion is King.

Social has giv­en brands an oppor­tu­ni­ty to lis­ten and con­nect with their cus­tomers on a deep­er lev­el. Rather than focus­ing on push­ing out con­tent, brands need to shift, and start lis­ten­ing to the con­ver­sa­tions hap­pen­ing about them and join the dis­cus­sion with val­ue add input. We need to start human­iz­ing our brands. No more should we focus on B2B or B2C but con­sid­er that all brands should engage on the basis of H2H (human to human).

The way I see it, there are 3 steps to a suc­cess­ful social media brand strat­e­gy. First, begin by and tap­ping into con­ver­sa­tions hap­pen­ing about your brand; sec­ond, build on those con­ver­sa­tions; and final­ly, con­vert those con­ver­sa­tions into con­ver­sions.

Social must real­ly be an ART: Authen­tic, Respon­sive, & Time­ly. Brands that mas­ter this art will start to see the true val­ue social can bring to their busi­ness, and one such brand is Leno­vo. Nazia Hay­at from Leno­vo talked about the impor­tance of human­iz­ing your brand and treat­ing fol­low­ers as equals. A lot of the time brands like to thump their fist on their chest, shout­ing and demand­ing “we are the lead­ers, fol­low us”. What they for­get is that, the ini­tial few fol­low­ers are the true lead­ers and are key to nur­tur­ing and gath­er­ing more fol­low­ers – Derek Sivers explains it beau­ti­ful­ly in his Ted Talk, “New fol­low­ers emu­late fol­low­ers not the leader”. That’s why it is so crit­i­cal for brands to be part of con­ver­sa­tion; not just about their brands but about top­ics that are relat­ed to their brands as well.

This brings me to my sec­ond point – the impor­tance of com­mu­ni­ty mar­ket­ing. Con­ver­sa­tions about your brand are tak­ing place whether you like it or not, so why not facil­i­tate it? It’s actu­al­ly scary how many peo­ple are now more like­ly to make a pur­chase deci­sion based on a com­plete stranger’s review! Daren Choo, AVP of Social CRM at Starhub shared that 75% of Sin­ga­pore­ans read people’s com­ments online before mak­ing a pur­chase deci­sion. Instead of focus­ing on build­ing fol­low­ers, brands should focus on build­ing a com­mu­ni­ty; a com­mu­ni­ty of avid fans, advo­cates and influ­encers that will help to pro­tect and pro­mote your brand.

Final­ly, once those con­ver­sa­tions have been cre­at­ed, iden­ti­fied, and exe­cut­ed, turn them into con­ver­sions. Domino’s Think Oven cam­paign is a great exam­ple of how an inno­v­a­tive social cam­paign can engage con­sumers and dri­ve sales. Rose Lam, Mar­ket­ing Man­ag­er, APAC, of Domino’s Piz­za explains how Think Oven acts as a vir­tu­al sug­ges­tion box, allow­ing the com­pa­ny to engage their audi­ence, lis­ten to their cus­tomers, inter­act with them, and dri­ve sales all at the same time. Reach­ing out and involv­ing your cus­tomers, offers a per­son­al touch that will allow them to relate to your brand on a human lev­el and proves to them that you care.

So remem­ber to lis­ten and join in on the con­ver­sa­tion. Make sure you also human­ize your brand by cre­at­ing a brand voice that is authen­tic. And last­ly, don’t be afraid to take risks – as I said before, con­ver­sa­tions are hap­pen­ing about your brand whether you like it or not, so why not join in! You could even turn those com­plain­ers into advo­cates just by giv­ing them a lit­tle extra lov­ing.

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  • By Bo Vandenberg - 12:59 PM on August 25, 2014   Reply

    Ser­vice, ser­vice, ser­vice.….

    I think you’re absolute­ly right. Com­pa­nies can­not hide their heads in the sand and hope peo­ple will like them because doubt cre­ates dis­trust. Good peo­ple need to gen­uine­ly care about the best ser­vice to the cus­tomer and the faces of the com­pa­ny need to be com­pas­sion­ate and empow­ered.

    The good part for com­pa­nies is that if they make the leap to allow­ing reac­tive and respon­sive some of their copy and social brand­ing will actu­al­ly be cre­at­ed by their cus­tomers. It’s not more com­pli­cat­ed than word of mouth being the best adver­tis­ing. We need to hear what cus­tomers think in order reach them with cam­paigns and ser­vices that work and make sense.


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