February 27, 2017 Duncan Alney

3 Important Reasons Why Social Media Conversations Matter

social media conversations

People are having conversations on social media all the time. Read that again. All the time. 24/7/52. And your brand is probably missing out.

Consider these characteristics of social media conversations:

• They’re happening on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, blogs, Tumblr, LinkedIn and more.
• 99 percent of the time there is no moderator.
• These conversations are both proactive and reactive.
• Participation is voluntary, and in many cases, flies in the face of good judgement.
• They can gain momentum through unexpected hubs.
• Viral spread doesn’t follow any known rules and is always unexpected.
• People participate in real time.
• There is emotion and logic at play.
• Language now includes proper language, text/digital speak, emoticons and attachments
• Cultural – pop and deep – context is in play.
• These conversations are rich with data.

I could go on and on. But you get the idea.

And this, my friends, is a beautiful opportunity for you. These conversations can be analyzed for trends and insights – and can even be done in real-time.

1. Identify valuable trends

We recently assisted a major, global brand in identifying a new customer demographic based on conversations. Previously, they were not considering that age group of women as a strong decision making target audience. This brand will now adjust its brand experience, messaging and a whole lot more to optimize their marketing because of this new information.

2. Identify real-time, mention-based influencers

The use of keywords and a community of influence to identify potential influencers is key. The ability to find people who identify themselves in a conversation is truly powerful. Recently, we did this very thing and found a very influential lifestyle blogger who has a secret obsession with a beauty brand. This person has a highly engaged audience that she influences – and she’d never been involved with a beauty brand before. Without sifting through conversations, we would not have had the ability to identify this particular blogger for beauty-related work.

3. It’s scalable

While conducting a focus group or a phone survey might yield a face-to-face vibe and the ability to dig in deeper by demographics, social conversation research offers the ability to assess thousands and even millions of people’s points of view.

Bonus Reason: Conversations have predictive power

Once you get deeper into insights and trends, there is predictive power. What will someone important be likely to say in the future? How will a conversation scale? Who will be participating?

As my friend and colleague, Jason Falls, founder of the Conversation Research Institute says, “Conversation research is, simply, researching online conversations – those found in social media, or any other online mechanism that enables user-to-user discussion – with the purpose of discovering insight. We must keep the definition broad to allow inclusion of many varieties of sources, discussions, insights and purposes.”


You can’t afford to not consider the power inside social media conversations. And if you ignore it, do so at your own (and your brand’s) peril. Please contact me to schedule a time to discuss this opportunity and how you can put it to work for your organization.

Duncan Alney

CEO at Firebelly
Fun Fact: Duncan co-authored the book "Facebook Marketing Secrets." He founded Firebelly in 2001.
Duncan Alney

About the Author

Duncan Alney Fun Fact: Duncan co-authored the book "Facebook Marketing Secrets." He founded Firebelly in 2001.

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