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Brand-to-Brand Social Media and the Art of Conversation

To its 772,000 Twitter followers, Oreo is the witty brand chatting with other cool brands at the social media party. Honda, HP, even satirical news site The Onion — Oreo engaged them all successfully. But the brand’s leader status in real-time marketing is the result of half a decade of work, according to Fast Company. Let’s look at your own.

Brand-to-Brand Social Media Strategy

Improvise According to Plan

Your brand may not have five years to prepare, but effective social media marketing strategies do require planning. As actor Christopher Walken said, “You cannot improvise unless you know exactly what you’re doing.” What you’re doing is using the art of conversation to your brand’s advantage in near real time. It’s as simple and as tricky as that. The payoff is better audience engagement, improved visibility, and the option to use social-media hijacking to broaden your brand’s reach. The risks of jumping in without a plan? Faux pas, awkward backpedaling, and possible brand damage.

Party Like Everyone’s Watching

A good plan guides your social media team to conduct brand-to-brand social media chats as if you’re all guests at a very public party. Here are some rules to include:

  • Engage with brands that share your brand values. Engaging with other brands makes the most impact when you have a target audience and some brand values in common. Develop a list of target brands, follow them, and learn their social media voice before you engage. You don’t have to ignore other brands that start a conversation with yours, but do some research before you respond.
  • Be positive. Congratulate another brand on an accomplishment as a first step to a social media relationship. When HP got on the launch bandwagon for Oreo Thins, the brand got a clever response from Oreo.
  • Be witty, even a little cheeky. During McDonald’s #alldaybreakfast launch, 7-Eleven tweeted “We LOVE the idea of #alldaybreakfast. It may have even been ours.” Some hijacking by competitors is expected when a brand makes a big announcement, but one such tweet from your brand per event is plenty.
  • Know when to wrap up the conversation. Leave your audience and your partner looking forward to the next chat.
  • Keep it clean and inoffensive. Stick to topics you can discuss at a company party, and consider timing and tone. If there’s something serious going on in the news, put brand banter on hold. And have more than one set of eyes review posts before hitting send to make sure they’re both spontaneous and well-planned.

Still curious about the art of conversation? Contact us!