Episode 14: Having real conversations, with Simone Douglas

Conversations are critical to your ability to be human online. And nobody knows that better than Simone Douglas. Simone is a social media consultant and trainer, and CEO at the Australian social media company, Social Media AOK. Simone has grown her business dramatically over the past four years, and now has a growing team and clients nationally and internationally.

In this episode of the Pixie Podcast, we dive deep into best practice communication online. We talk about what it means to have a human brand, a human voice, and the ability to have a conversation. We learn what it means for you if you are unable to have a conversation in real life, how to deal with aggressive and negative social media responses, and why authenticity is a talking-​point more than a reality for most companies.

Join us for a deep-​dive conversation around the fascinating topic of being human: What it looks like, how we can embrace it, and what it means for our communication.

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What’s in this episode?

00:00 Introduction

01:35 How Social Media AOK grew

02:45 Focus on the relationship, not what you do.

03:40 You have to know how to do social in real life (i.e. real life conversations) to do digital-​realm social really well.

03:55 You need to know how to carry a conversation. Can’t do it over dinner? You’ll fail online.

04:50 How Social Media AOK has changed in the past four years.

05:47 Simone talks about some of the best projects she’s worked on.

06:17 How to address negative social media, such as through assertion techniques. Simone explains how to use one of them.

8:58 Simone mentions Socratic Method as another technique. The Socratic Method is a way of discovering information. It method of argument in which you push someone to identify flaws in their thinking, by going through stages of clarification, challenge, evidence, asking for alternatives and implications. Wikipedia is probably a reasonable place to start if you’re after more information.

10:26 How a change in services focus has changed how Simone relates to the business.

11:14 Why Simone started Social Media AOK. Clue: To stop people being sucked in by charlatans.

13:11 Social media still feels new to people, despite it having been around a long time. Simone explains that this newness is very much still the conversation starter.

13:45 Conversations versus advertising.

14:22 Social media listening and the absence of brands.

14:42 Reputation management and reputation management education.

15:11 Listening is important, and businesses need to get a lot better at doing it.

15:25 Simone mentioned the local example of Cooper’s. This was a situation where a very famous South Australian alcohol brand, Cooper’s, was under fire for getting involved in a marriage equality debate, in which it had collaborated with a bible society marriage equality video. Oops!

15:30 True to form, the issue was dropped like a hot potato once the initial outrage had burned itself out.

15:53 For you guys not in Australia, Black Milk is a clothing brand based in Brisbane.

16:25 The smartest way to deal with a reputation management impact.

16:40 The role of listening in social media management.

17:20 Googling your business, and where to find the interesting stuff (tip: pages 3 and 4).

17:58 Most social media listening tools are way too expensive for Australian businesses.

18:20 Teaching people to listen, in social.

19:00 There’s a tendency to put someone in a “digital” role just because they’re young, when in fact they’re lacking soft skills.

19:30 General Motors Holden sponsored the 2017 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, and handled their social media extremely well. Read an awesome account of this here.

20:09 How social media interactions and conversations have changed over time, as visibility has shifted.

21:00 People still suck at having conversations! Here’s how to get better at it.

23:00 Simone predicts that social selling is going to become more prominent in the social media space. This means that employee advocacy is going to become incredibly important.

24:15 Social media is the new smoke break. So, suck it up.

24:59 Do people understand authenticity online? Simone argues you have to be content to be really seen.

25:39 A single voice for your company is part of a clearly defined culture, with a clearly defined personality, and rules about not putting something out that doesn’t fit.

26:30 Marketing-​realm people understand personalities of businesses, but it’s uncommon in other industries.

27:48 What does it mean to Simone to humanise something?

30:14 Simone’s counselling practice was influential in forming her attitudes towards conversations and human relations.

30:40 The book question.

31:32 Where do our relationships begin? Training people to spot the trigger point.

32:00 The relationship is the most important thing: The rest takes care of itself.

33:48 Simone talks about BNI and its influence in how she works.

36:10 The key takeaway of how people relate to each other: Taking a humanistic approach will make you stand out in a noisy space.

37:24 The million-​dollar question: What’s the future of the social web?

39:14 The DISC Profile is a personality testing scheme. D = Dominant, active, task-​oriented; I = Influential, active, people-​oriented; S = Steady, passive, people-​oriented; C = Conscientious, passive, task-​oriented. As Simone identifies, she’s a high D. Learn what this means, here.
40:30 What might the future hold for younger generations?

41:35 As life becomes more automated, how do we make things more human-​like?

43:49 Characteristics of the businesses that are going to win in the next five years.

45:17 No personal message? It’s junk mail.

45:20 Simone tells us who does social really well. It’ll surprise you!

28:31 The t-​shirt question.

Resources referenced

[BOOK] The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni.
[BOOK] The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive, by Patrick Lencioni
[BOOK] Compelling People: The hidden qualities that make us influential, by John Neffinger

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