Casual Chats, Real Connections: How HubSpot Supports Authentic Social Media Interaction

Casual Chats, Real Connections: How HubSpot Supports Authentic Social Media Interaction
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Technology doesn't have to come at the expense of personality. How can HubSpot help you to communicate more naturally — and effectively — over social media?

I got lost in London last week. Groan. Rookie! Five minutes on the Tube and when I surfaced my phone didn’t fancy going online anymore. Not having anticipated this — a mistake I won’t make again — and with the limited knowledge that I needed to walk for about ten minutes in one direction, but not which, I found myself stopping a passer-by to ask for a little help.

I asked, and she provided. While some might dread the prospect of having to stop a stranger in the street (or answer a phone call, whatever makes you sweat), for most of us it’s within our capabilities, marked by a perfectly normal, if occasionally awkward, conversation.

Why, then, when you log into LinkedIn or Facebook with your work head on and start to type a post to a digital passer-by, do we all suddenly forget how to talk?

Social media plays a key role in marketing and brand awareness today. But generally speaking, the most engaging posts don’t look or feel like marketing at all. How can you get around this problem, and what role does technology play in helping you seem more human?

Want more social media goodness? We recently caught up with marketing consultant Gus Bhandal to find out all about what’s going down on your favourite social platforms — and how to get heard on them. Click here to [add to your calendar/catch the recording].

 

“...you still sound like the Terminator after a week of corporate induction”

When it comes to striking the right tone on social media, the clue is in the name: these are platforms set up for social interaction, where people can get together and connect.

Instead, we use words we’d never use in real life because we think they make us sound smart or professional. We use words we don’t understand properly, for the same reason. We format our writing strangely in the hope it appeases an algorithm slippier than a water wiggler, and we write in a tone better suited to Wikipedia than a conversation with a living, breathing, human. The living, breathing humans we want to engage don’t respond so well to that, and when the algorithm sees that your post isn’t turning heads, it’s not so fussed either.

This isn’t a technology problem. But it becomes one when you start using technology to amplify your reach before you’ve addressed the problem because for all you’re posting more, in more places, you still sound like the Terminator after a week of corporate induction. 

  • Automation of any kind risks presenting as spam if not configured correctly.
  • This is especially true if your posts don’t read like they were written by a human.
  • Prompting generative artificial intelligence (AI), which is AI that can generate things like copy, still requires an awareness of what sounds natural and what doesn’t.
  • And whether you’re prompting ChatGPT or writing the good old fashioned way, translating that awareness into social copy that actually sounds natural isn’t easy.

The good news is that while technology can make the problem worse, it can also provide you with the tools you need to solve it. Used in the right way, platforms like HubSpot (and the methodologies on which they’ve been built) can help you to communicate in a way that reads naturally and more like a conversation, so that your posts actually sound like genuine attempts to connect with people and not like corporate marketing or advertising.

“We write in a tone better suited to Wikipedia than a conversation with a living, breathing, human. The living, breathing humans we want to engage don’t respond so well to that, and when the algorithm sees that your post isn’t turning heads, it’s not so fussed either.”

 

Conversation inbound

First pioneered by HubSpot around 2006, the inbound methodology is built on the notion that businesses should aim to foster meaningful, long-term relationships with their prospects and customers, instead of momentary transactional ones, to succeed in the future and grow.

Even before we get to how this philosophy has shaped the development of HubSpot’s social media tools, you’ll begin to see how just buying into it can help you to look at your social posts differently. And you don’t need to actually use HubSpot to take advantage of this

Meaningful relationships of any kind are founded on trust, transparency, and mutual respect. When writing for social media, an approachable tone delivered through the use of accessible words directly feeds into how trustworthy your audience will find you. This kind of tone feels more genuine than corporate speak. It’s more relatable. Trust is built on these things. 

You can take it further by reviewing what you’re posting too. Consider:

  • encouraging feedback from your audience in the platform
  • asking questions that show you care about your audience’s opinions
  • and actively listening and responding to the responses you receive.

By nurturing these relationships over time, you can cultivate a community of people who’re genuinely interested in you, your people and what they have to say. You’re also now in a great place to start amplifying your voice using HubSpot’s social-specific tools and features.

Finding your voice:

  1. Take a deeper dive into HubSpot’s inbound methodology to understand what it celebrates and its emphasis on more meaningful customer interactions.
  2. Practise stream-of-consciousness writing. This is the act of sitting down and writing something — even a short post — without a plan or direction. The exercise helps you to write your thoughts as they pop into your head. You can still edit them afterwards, but by practising tapping into your unfiltered thoughts as they spring to mind, you’ll develop the ability to tap into a more natural, less polished style of writing that comes across as being more genuine and authentic. Here’s an example of a stream of consciousness I later edited and published online.
  3. Consider contractions. In speech we tend to say “I’m” and “they’re” instead of “I am” and “they are”, for example. But we often revert to the latter in writing because for many it’s how we’re first taught to write in school. If you’re someone who speaks in contractions more naturally, consider reflecting this in your writing, too.

 

Using generative AI to sound more human

Left to its own devices (a scary thought in its own right), AI of any kind does not, as a general rule, generate text that reads as if it has been written by a human. At a very top level, this is because it hasn’t been written at all. Given how generative AI essentially echoes existing content in order to answer your prompts, this is perhaps unsurprising. If most people default to more formal writing styles when exploring your subject or topic then these are the language patterns the AI will parrot; jargon, overused phrases, lack of contractions, and all.

But AI can be explicitly prompted to generate more conversational text. When specifically asked, it will generate copy in a style that’s better-suited to the kind of tone that we’ve been talking about here. HubSpot’s AI content assistant offers this capability inside its social media tool, and ChatGPT can be used similarly. In certain contexts, this has its applications. 

  • Small or medium-sized businesses without copywriters or marketers capable of writing natural-sounding copy can use this tool to help them create social posts that look, feel, and sound more authentic, which they’d otherwise struggle to achieve.
  • Enterprises/groups with writing standards that vary widely from division to team can benefit from the use of templated prompts to help everyone across different regions or brands to prompt more effectively. This helps to standardise the tone and leads to a more consistent, recognisable tone of voice, whoever’s posting.

To help its users communicate more conversationally (or in any tone they fancy), HubSpot has spun its AI development in two other interesting directions: content remix and brand voice.

 

Remixing your content to capture its tone

Content remixes are AI-powered flows for repurposing content. They allow you to quickly and easily reformat your best content for use across multiple channels, break long-form content down into short-form content, and generate new assets to reach new audiences.

This offers plenty of benefits to businesses that don’t otherwise have the capability across their teams to do this quickly and efficiently themselves. Most of these benefits revolve around speeding up the content creation process without detracting from the quality of the source material. Of interest here are its applications for borrowing tone and voice.

  • If you’ve already written an article or other longer-form content piece in a conversational tone and you don’t fancy spending a few minutes writing some social posts to help support its distribution, you can spend a similar amount of time playing around with this tool to achieve the same without really having to think about it.
  • The same is true if it’s now on the marketing team to create some promotional posts for you. With this tool (and your permission), they can select your content, enter some details to help the AI understand your aims or goals, and the AI will get to work for them remixing some posts that convey your more casual tone in a channel that might otherwise be struggling to come across as anything other than impersonal.

How does HubSpot’s brand voice AI differ from this and how could you use that to 

 

Giving your brand a voice

Tone and voice aren’t the same thing, but you can use HubSpot’s ever-growing toolkit of AI features to capture and communicate both. The brand voice AI tool is one of the newer features in its arsenal, which you can use to unlock the efficiency of AI while maintaining a personal connection with your audience by making sure every piece of blog content resonates authentically with your brand's unique voice. You can then use the remix tool to repurpose those articles into bite-sized social media posts with the right tone and voice.

 

To use the brand voice feature…

  1. In your HubSpot portal, go to Settings, then AI Assistants. From there, find the “Brand voice” setting at the bottom. 
  2. Find several articles that best reflect your brand’s voice. Paste it into the sample box and click “Analyze.” The AI will analyse the content samples you’ve provided and produce a summary that should capture your brand’s voice.
  3. Review the analysed summary, and if you aren’t satisfied with it, make edits.
  4. Once you feel the brand voice summary is accurate, turn the setting ON.
  5. Jump back to the blog tool and create a new post or edit an existing draft. 
  6. You’ll see a new selection command to “Apply brand voice” on your blog content. Click to apply it and see how it transforms the way your content looks and sounds.

 

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What tone are your social posts striking?

In recent years, automation has made the delivery side of social media marketing quicker and more efficient than ever. In the months to come, AI looks poised to continue this as it redefines the way we communicate with people, personally and professionally.

In both cases, an argument can be made that by automating our communications or outsourcing them to AI, we’ve made them less personal — or at least, they sound that way to the people reading them. A little bit more robotic. A little bit less “us”. 

But technology can also be used to get around this problem. When implemented effectively, the HubSpot platform — with all its automation and AI capabilities — can help you to find the words that invite your readers to stop for thirty second and hear what you have to say.

After all, what’s a news feed if not a busy street, filled with people just waiting to chat?

Missed the stream? Click the button below to go Beyond the Hub with Gus Bhandal

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