I wrote recently that
Consider the worn-out ‘Social Media is a conversation‘ mantra. Yes, conversation is a part of Social Media, but not everyone wants to talk non-stop with you! Consistent conversation is a rare thing when compared to how much conversation is going on. Thinking that everyone will now post on your businesses’ Facebook Page is flawed thinking. They won’t, because there is no reason to. It’s overestimation of participation.
When working with clients I clarify this as separating Conversation About from Conversation With. I’ve been talking about ‘making things personal’ but in doing so I think I’ve overestimated myself the subtle difference between these two very different kinds of conversation.
People are continually perplexed by the following issue:
- Social Media is full of conversation (True)
- The brand has a Social Media account ready for conversation (True)
- Therefore there should be conversation with the brand (False)
I believe the problem is that the conversation is point 1 is not the same conversation in point 2 and point 3.
Two Types of Conversation
Conversation About is what most Social Media conversation is. It’s where people are talking to other people about things. This can be a range of stuff: the game, the gossip, the news, photos, videos, events, musings, what you had for breakfast.
Conversation About is very organic and spontaneous, and is built upon a network and community of people that the user is already connected with. Therefore there is a depth of context to the content. Any bit of news that comes in the Facebook or Twitter feed comes from a person which immediately creates context for that content.
Let’s consider the recent Super Bowl advertisers. On the day, hundreds of millions are talking on Social Media about the adverts that they saw, and are making comments, sharing videos, etc. All of this content has context behind it, being built on their existing connections, which allows it to spread organically because the connections make for good sharing.
Conversation With is what happens when a user no longer just talks about the Super Bowl adverts, but goes to a Facebook Page or website and has a conversation directly with the brand, or at least, directly with the brands platform to the other users who are there.
The amount of Conversation About is I expect over 95% of the conversation about the Super Bowl. Conversation With requires people to actively find the advertisers page or website and say something, when they can just as easily comment it on any one of the stories coming up in their Facebook feed.
What Moves Conversation About To Conversation With?
This post from Jeff Bullas contains some great stats – my favourites of which are that 61% of people never visit retailers’ Facebook pages, and that 68% of users who would do so in order to keep up to date on promotions. Jeff’s major take away from the study regarding Facebook Pages was “Give them a highly compelling reason to visit—provide shoppers with discount information”.
The word I want to use here is motivation. What is the motivation for the user to exert effort to have Conversation With when it is so easy to have Conversation About? Of course it’s a matter of rewards relative to effort. Consider these rewards / motivations:
- It’s fun
- It’s a novelty
- It’s exciting to talk to a brand
- There’s a discount / promotion
- I get to share an idea
- I can brag to friends
- I’m interested to find out more
Given this, I understand other things. I realise how hard continued Conversation With is. I realise how impressive it is when people manage to build community.
What I Want To Know
- What are the key differences between the two. Lets state the obvious by all means. Why is Conversation About bigger than Conversation With?
Thanks to ohhector for the photo