Developing your conversation sphere

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 LinkedIn 0 Pin It Share 0 StumbleUpon 0 0 Flares ×

One of the most common questions I hear in meetings about social media is: “What should we be talking about?”

It is then usually followed by: “What shouldn’t we be talking about?”

Theoretically (which is a word I loathe!) these parameters shouldn’t differ too much from how a business has traditionally communicated.

In other words, just because these channels exist, doesn’t mean they should be used for the sake of being used.

But, an air of expectation does exist now.

If you’re not present in all the places your customers are, they’ll starting asking ‘why?’ or consider engaging with a competitor who is in those places.

The conversation sphere

So, what is the solution then?

The following charts illustrate my (unfinished) thoughts on how a conversation topics framework could be established.

As no two businesses are the same, I don’t think this thinking would necessarily apply across the board but its a starting point and will hopefully trigger some extended thoughts from you.

You really have to get specific in order to bring this process to life but let use a technology brand as a ‘loose’ example.

Your stakeholders will probably expect you to talk about the following – whether it is proactive or reactive.

The related section is the area most brands / organisations tend to focus on because it is much easier to be proactive and discuss positives as opposed to dealing with issues your product / service has created.

‘Permission’ is a funny thing – your credibility on a topic will determine your ability to engage in conversations outside your core area of expertise.

This is where your listening / monitoring comes into play, both in real-time and retrospectively.

And, these topics are predominantly dictated by third parties, requiring business (and sometimes legal) decisions as to whether to address or not.

The original rationale behind these charts was to illustrate what you should and shouldn’t be talking about.

Lately, I’ve been using them to highlight the importance of talking about things other than just yourself.

Whilst you are expected to address issues / questions in relation to your core service offering, no-one wants to hear about you talking about yourself all the time.

This is where identifying appropriate related topics can make you a much more respected player in the social media eco-system.

However, it is a balancing act, and talking miles off topic won’t do you much good either.

What processes are you using to develop conversation frameworks?

Adam

COMMScorner.com is the blog from Adam Vincenzini which focuses on social media and PR. Connect with Adam on Twitter or subscribe to his blog

4 Comments

  • Reply January 18, 2011

    Richard Bailey

    This is a good model – and you’re right, it doesn’t differ with the way things have (or should have) been done.

    It’s a long-established discipline called issues management.

  • Reply January 18, 2011

    Adam Vincenzini

    We’ve been having this chat on Twitter, but yep, common sense rules the roost!

  • Reply January 19, 2011

    Barry de Waal

    I will greatfully copy-paste this and use it during our next presentation, for which I will charge our client 30,000 euro’s.
    🙂

    Seriously, though, your thoughts on conversation management seem quite valuable to any conversation manager / agency.

    Parallel to your model I would suggest a similar model stating THINGS TO DO in social media. From the inside out:

    ACT

    REACT

    INTERACT

  • Reply January 19, 2011

    Barry de Waal

    I will greatfully copy-paste this and use it during our next presentation, for which I will charge our client 30,000 euro’s.
    🙂

    Seriously, though, your thoughts on conversation management seem quite valuable to any conversation manager / agency.

    Parallel to your model I would suggest a similar model stating THINGS TO DO in social media. From the inside out:

    ACT

    REACT

    INTERACT

Leave a Reply