Using Data to Make the Most of Social Media Conversations in an Uncertain Time



“Don’t be like the awful guy at the party who only talks about himself” as a brand says Henk Campher, VP of Corporate Marketing, Hootsuite


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“What is my role? is the one question that every brand should ask before they make their next social movement.”

Henk Campher, VP of Corporate Marketing at Hootsuite, is passionate about connection. Henk heads Hootsuite’s global marketing strategy, with the goal of driving brand awareness and market leadership. He is fairly fresh to the role, and he brings 20 years of experience storytelling for some of the most reputable brands around the world, crafting compelling stories that change behavior. Brand awareness and leadership part and parcel to a brand’s integrity, and there are plenty of examples of the method perfected.

During #SMWONE, he discussed how we might reimagine the use of social media in an uncertain world.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • By year’s end, half of the world will be online
  • Two-thirds of consumers identify as ‘belief-driven’
  • Social media isn’t just using a megaphone, it’s 1-on-1 conversations

For individuals, a smaller circle often means economic survival. It’s tightknit efforts with like-minded family and friends all combining their work to contribute toward a greater good. For business, an ever-widening circle of customers means economic survival. So how can these two groups coexist in a natural, unforced, and symbiotic way? Social media.

It’s an overused saying, but it is still the truth: We’re more connected now than ever. By the end of 2020, we’ll find half of the entire world on social media—this is more than just a moment, this is the new normal.

As brands seek to join the social media conversation, they must remain true to their audience and true to themselves by asking What is my role? Like State Farm, are they a good neighbor? Or are they more like Gym Shark and a daily coach? Perhaps a cheeky friend to grab a beer with, like Burger King? Before all else, establishing a brand’s role in the conversation keeps it flowing smoothly. If you want to enter the larger conversation, you must do it authentically.

Getting involved in the bigger conversations

The real talk is happening on social media, in public forums and in DMs. Having a voice in that conversation powerful for a brand. It’s a matter of being aware that the conversation is happening, realizing what matters to customers, and staying in the moment. A fine-tuned brand identity will create the blueprint for exactly how and when to comment on any given situation—if at all.

Creating experiences to remember

Maya Angelou said it best: people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Social media engagement is an opportunity to create a memory of a shared experience that will resonate. There’s a growing sentiment that consumers want to hear from people just like them. A modern brand might add in communication from fellow buyers or even employees. One on one private chats lend to the overall emotional experience of being connected, and “emotion impacts loyalty more than anything else,” Henk adds.

Going deeper with data

Henk advises against being “like the awful guy at the party who only talks about himself” as a brand. Social media is a tool for connection that goes both ways. The best communicators are good listeners. Advanced analytics, like those offered by Hootsuite, make brands smarter and faster than their competition who isn’t listening. Through social listening, you can ask the important questions: How well is this brand loved? What are competitors talking about? Is our customer happy? This emotional data deepen efforts to foster authentic and valuable communications.

Henk mentions Bimbo as an example of a successful social listening stand out. In the U.S, Bimbo launched a special edition of its Gansito in a red velvet flavor. Bimbo had never considered doing something similar in Mexico, as the much-loved cake had not changed its original recipe since its creation in 1957. Word had got out in Mexico that the U.S had a special edition of the Gansito and the Mexican consumers were furious that the product wasn’t available locally. ‘Gansito Red Velvet’ became a viral trending topic across the whole of Mexico.

Bimbo brought the limited edition product to Mexico and experienced immediate double-digit percentage sales increases. Listening is a powerful tool.

Beginning a conversation with open ears and a strong sense of brand creates an environment conducive to authentic dialogue. Analyzing communications develops messaging even further. Social media is a powerful tool for growth and research, but at its heart, it’s still a means for connection.

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