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Supporting image for How (and When) to Take a Stand on Social Media – Brooke Sellas
How (and When) to Take a Stand on Social Media – Brooke Sellas
Social Agent

Consumers, especially Millennials and Gen Z, want to work with and buy from companies that hold similar values to their own. They expect you to take a stand on social media and back that position up with action. So how does this impact your marketing, your communication, and your social media? Brooke Sellas, author of Conversations That Connect, shares the advice she gives enterprise level clients right down to mom and pop shops on how to get your message in alignment with your values, and how to best share that message online.

Rich: My guest today is the CEO and founder of B Squared Media, an award-winning digital marketing agency focusing on social media management, advertising, and social led customer care. Additionally, she teaches a digital marketing course virtually at the University of California in Irvine.

She’s also got an upcoming book called, Conversations That Connect – How to Connect, Converse, and Convert Through Social Media Listening and Social-Led Customer Care. And which, depending on when you hear this, you can either order or pre-order on Amazon.

Her marketing mantra is, “think conversion, not campaign”, so be sure to give her a shout out on social media. Her name is Brooke Sellas, and we’re going to be talking about what you can be doing on social media and what to expect when people hear your message. Brooke, welcome to the podcast.

Brooke: Thank you so much for having me. Longtime listener, huge fan. Thank you. Thank you.

Rich: This is not your first time on the podcast. So you have been on one other time, and you’ve also spoken to the Agents of Change conference. Did you forget that?

Brooke: I did forget that I was on the podcast. I didn’t forget about Agents of Change, but I totally forgot about the podcast.

Rich: Yes, you have been on before. Well, I’m glad it was so memorable for you, Brooke. It’s a good thing we’re friends or I’d end the conversation right here.

Listen, so I asked you to come on the show this week because of a conversation that we had in our agency mastermind. And although what happens in agency mastermind stays in agency mastermind, I feel that we can still have a good conversation without spilling any secrets. So let’s dive into this.

What we’re talking about, the conversation came about what kind of things on social media or what kind of things that are in alignment with your vision and values as a company, and how to talk about those things on social media. You have a unique perspective on this because you handle social media-based customer support for many different companies, correct?

Brooke: Yes. Correct.

Rich: So what is your general advice when a company feels like they have to weigh in on something going on in the news?

Brooke: That’s a great question. And I think it’s a timely topic, right? Because for the past two plus years, things have gotten more and more polarized with our society, with politics, with a lot of different social justice issues that we’re facing. And this question’s come up a lot over the past two plus years. And essentially my viewpoint and what I talk about in the book is that first and foremost, the brand needs to understand what its brand values are. What are the core values to the brand? What issues do they want to align with?

You know, for instance, Patagonia is very vocal about being a supporter of climate change and wanting to do things that help support the climate and the environment and the planet. That makes a lot of sense because they’re an outdoor apparel brand. Where it gets a little hinky, I think, is that when you’re a larger company and you have a lot of employees, they inherently want you to support their causes as well.

So throughout the past two years, I’ve talked to many companies who support social justice issues like Black Lives Matter, there’s Pride Month, right? So a lot of companies will get involved in LGBTQ initiatives. Where their disconnect starts to happen is when your employees want you to be involved with things outside of what aligns with those brand core values. And then you start to feel like you get pulled in every direction. And the reason why I say this is a bad thing is because what we saw happen during for instance Black Lives Matter after the death of George Floyd, was that companies who posted messages in support of Black Lives Matter but didn’t back it up with actions like, “Hey, and this is what we’re doing”, or “This is what we donated”, or “These are the initiatives that we have to support black creators”, got backlash from the community. Because the community is very tired of posturing, and they want to see actual actions backing up what companies say they support.

So I think first and foremost, you have to know what your brand values are and stick to those. And then also try to align your audiences, the people who you’re trying to connect, converse and convert, with those brand values. Because again, using Patagonia as an example, their customers probably also vigorously support climate change. So when they talk about their stance on climate change, it makes people feel closer to the brand because their personal values are aligning with the core values of the brand.

Rich: All right. So just to kind of recap that, it sounds like the first thing we need to do is just be very clear on what our brand values are. And we always have a pretty good sense of what our personal values are. People listening to this podcast, they might be owners, they might be marketers, so they may have absolute control of what the brand mission and values are. Or they may just have been hired for a company that has these sort of things.

I can see that some of the issues may be that once we know what our brand values are and what we stand for and the hill we’re going to die on kind of a thing, is two things could happen. If we say something, one is – and you kind of reference this – is we may say Black Lives Matter, or that we support Pride, or whatever the case may be. And if we don’t do something, if we just say that, then that’s problematic. Because many of the members of our audience will be like, listen, every other company has also created a Pride flag version of their logo for June, which is just like the least amount you can do, but you’re not really doing anything about this.

So in a situation like that, what do you recommend? Because sometimes we may have months to prepare for Pride month or Black History month or whatever the issues may be. Other times something happens really quickly, like yet another American school shooting or the war in Ukraine. And we don’t have to move quickly, but if we want to respond, we might have to say things very quickly without checking with everybody.

So with those two problems in mind, one is saying but not doing. And another one is, should we say anything at all? What kind of advice might you give to companies? And I recognize we’re all over the spectrum and you work with both interestprise level companies, as well as small brands. So just any general advice you might give.

Brooke: Yeah, well, that’s a great example. So obviously here in the U.S. last week we faced yet another school shooting and some brands did make posts about like, “Hey, gun reform now”. And I think, I would hope, that’s part of what their brand value or core value is, or one of the core values of that brand. Many of them supported gun reform and maybe they didn’t have any actions behind it. And I think that’s fine, too.

For our brand personally, we went silent. So same thing with the war in Ukraine, we didn’t say anything or talk about gun reform or ‘war is bad’ or whatever. But we did decide to pause our content for the better part of a week in both cases, just because it felt like the respectful thing to do. You know, not saying anything at all can actually be very loud at times. Like the brands who the day after the school shooting were like, “Hey, buy my stuff.” There’s one brand, I don’t know if you saw this controversy on Twitter. They said something like, “We’re going to take a pause over Memorial Day, and we’re changing our Memorial Day savings code to ‘gun reform’…” or something like that. It was really outlandishly bad how they kind of used the strategy tragedy to sell more products. So what they said was loud, but I also think being silent and taking pause and willing to take that “risk” quote, unquote, as marketers with a dip in content engagement, all of that to be silent, to show respect for what’s happened. And again, this is a choice that you have to make that aligns with how you operate as a brand or a company.

Rich: Okay. So one thing obviously is we might say something that might offend people. We may not say anything in that. Some people are also going to be like, why didn’t you take a stand on this? Let’s actually dive into that one.

So I remember personally when COVID first hit, I literally found the biggest soapbox I could and talked about how I felt business leaders should behave during what was then an unprecedented time. Now it’s business as usual, unfortunately. And then a few months later as you referenced, when George Floyd was murdered, suddenly I didn’t know what to say. I knew it was just another thing that I was so offended by and just so distracted by and so upset by. But I’m a white man. Everybody in my company at that point were other white people. I live in either the number one or number two whitest state in the nation. I didn’t even feel like I had, or flyte had, anything to add to this conversation. And we really struggled with it for a while. We ultimately found a solution that we thought were right, but we waited almost a month. I don’t, still to this day, know if that was the right or wrong thing. But I did see people in the community saying during that time where we kind of thought about what we wanted to do and say, that they would not do business or the fact that some businesses weren’t saying anything was speaking very loudly. And it kind of almost felt like I was being forced to take a side on something.

What do you do in a situation like that? Perhaps if you are a Patagonia and people expect you to comment on climate change when something big happens. What should your response be if you’re hearing from people, why aren’t you taking a stand on this?

Brooke: Yeah. Well, I love what you did by the way, which you kind of glossed over. But do you want to say what you did? The scholarship you created.

Rich: I may have mentioned it on a previous podcast. I didn’t want to bore people, but the short version is we ultimately ended up creating a ten-year scholarship for students of color at a local high school who are interested in going into business. We created a scholarship for them, and this was our way of kind of like doing something we felt was positive without feeling like people needed to listen to what flyte new media or Rich Brooks had to say about it.

Brooke: Right. So see, I think, because the answer is nuanced, right? You didn’t have anything to say, but it bothered you enough that you made it a part of your brand’s core values. You created this scholarship. And I think that was the absolute appropriate move. Because you didn’t posture, you didn’t say something that was hollow, that were just words that didn’t help the situation. You took pause, you created something that would create action for people of color. And so I think that is exactly the right move.

I think, yes, we can get in trouble for staying silent when people are watching us. Sprout Social just released their recent Sprout Social Index, which is the report that they do yearly. And I believe they did a survey on how many people want brands to take a stand. Meaning they want brands to align with some of these issues that are happening in society. And I want to say it was like 76% of the people they surveyed said they want brands to take a stand.

Now, baby boomers were the lowest group that cared about that. But as you went down the line to the younger and younger generations, that number grew larger and larger. So I think part of it is, and this is the marketing answer, as a marketer you need to know who are my audiences, who am I trying to attract into the fold? And based on who you’re marketing to, that should help you figure out when to say something, when to take pause. Like you did, you took pause and then you ended up saying something. And when to say something period, sometimes it may just be, “Hey, we support gun reform and gun reform now”. And you don’t have to necessarily have something that backs that up.

But if people come along and ask you how you’re backing that up, one of the things that you need to do before that post goes out or that statement goes out is to be prepared to answer. If you’re not backing it up, you need to have a smart and savvy answer that says, “Hey, we haven’t done anything at this time. However, we’re looking into ways that we can support gun reform” or whatever the issue may be.

Rich: Yeah. It is always tricky. And sometimes you do have that knee jerk reaction to a news story that you just want to get out there and share with the world your thoughts or your opinions. Sometimes it might make a little bit of sense, even though the 24-hour news cycle doesn’t like this, that it might take sense to just kind of take a deep breath and be like what can I do, even behind the scenes, to make a difference.

Brooke: A thousand percent. Because what you may do personally, Rich, may not be the same as what flyte does. And that’s okay. It is your brand. But your brand may not completely reflect your personal values, even though you only own the company. Same with B Squared. Obviously, the company reflects a lot of my personal values because that’s how it works in small companies. But when we get into larger companies, there is a problem. And being everything to everyone and supporting everything, they don’t have the bandwidth to be able to do that. And then, you know, sometimes it just really doesn’t align with what those core values are.

Rich: Right. It is interesting what you said about the age groups, because I definitely have noticed that, and we’ve seen similar studies. We’ve talked about this before that Millennials, Gen Z, they will literally change brands based on what the company is saying and doing about issues that they care about. And I don’t want to make this about you should pretend to care about these things because your audience does, that’s not what I think either of us are suggesting. I think we’re suggesting that maybe you need to figure out what your company values are and then be willing to talk about them on social media, because that’s what companies are expected to do.

And our friend, Andy Crestodina, had just shared with us that in those reports that come out about what does the public trust, and like, for the first time ever that businesses was ranked higher than government. Or there was one other one I couldn’t believe, maybe religion or something, whatever it was. But all of a sudden, for those of us who own businesses and like to think that we own ethical or market for ethical businesses, then we have to kind of step up. And it’s like, okay, well, if people want to hear what we believe in, and if they want to see us do more than performative actions, then this maybe needs to be part of not just our marketing. The marketing is the communication piece of this. But it has to be part of our brand. And we have to decide the battles that we’re going to fight.

Brooke: Yes. Yes. And this really goes to the crux of what I talk about in the book, which is most brand content digitally is based in cliches and facts. It does nothing to build trust or build a relationship. Where you really start to build trust and relationships and start to bring in audience members who are correct for your brand and who will align with your brand core values is when you start to share opinions and feelings.

So taking a stand like Patagonia. Or Ben and Jerry’s is a fabulous example. I mean, that is a brand that literally has been built on the back of taking a stand. Right? It’s a very extreme example, but it’s a great example because they do support so many different social justice issues with their brand. Expected. Right. But we know that their audience members are so in tune and aligned with those social justice issues because they’ve never shied away. They’ve never been quiet.

However, I think again you have to really know what your brand core values are before you start getting too into that opinion and feeling type of taking a stand, because you will have dissolution. And I want to say also that dissolution, meaning like the people who will move away from you because they don’t align with your core values, is a good thing. Because as I’m sure you’ve talked about on many of your podcasts, I hate vanity metrics. We have to stop with, like, I need a million followers. No, you need a hundred followers who are so in tuned and aligned with your opinions, your feelings, your brand values, and you’re sharing those opinions and feelings back and forth, that they continuously buy from you because they’re loyal on a level that goes way beyond product and price.

Rich: I agree with you. Although I’d add a little bit of nuance, because obviously different types of businesses are going to have different relationships with their clients and customers. And some customers are just going to go in, all they want to do is buy a pack of gum. So they don’t care if the convenience store is pro-Trump or pro-Biden or anything like that, they just want to get in and out.

And so at the same time, I absolutely agree with you that the bottom line is very often you find yourself in alignment with people. And as you build trust with customers, and especially with clients, that being in alignment with them makes everything a lot easier. They’re more willing to forgive you if you make a mistake, they’re easier to work with, all these sorts of things. So for most businesses, I would say that’s more important. For occasional certain businesses that is very transactional, maybe none of this really matters at all. But if you’re listening right now and you’re like, no, I mean, this makes a lot of sense to me. Then yes, I absolutely think that you need to really think through what are the company values? What are we going to take a stand on? What are we going to let slide? But once we do this, we have to be ready for the fallout. And the fallout could be about losing some customers along the way, which as you say, is not necessarily always a bad thing.

So, now we take our stand, we’re for Black Lives Matter or we’re for All Lives Matter, whatever it is that we decide that we are in favor of. We put that out on social media. We put that on our blog or our website. We have 27 American flags on the homepage, whatever it is that we feel shows off our true colors. All of a sudden, we start getting some negative feedback. So what do you tell companies that are like, wow, I didn’t realize I was going to rile up so many people when I put this post up, what should we do, Brooke? Do we take it down? Do we respond? Do we ignore them? Do we block them? What is some of the best practices out there?

Brooke: I think there’s another instance where you take pause. And I use an example in the book. I try to look at both sides of the fence, by the way, left, right, middle, or all sides of the fence, I guess. And the example that I use or the case study they use in the book around this is Chick-fil-A. Because several years ago they made a statement about the LGBTQ community that was very hurtful. And a lot of their donations that they make are to religious organizations who support conversion therapy, which is very hurtful to the LGBTQ community. They’re closed on Sundays for religious reasons. They stuck to their core values in that situation for several years, and they received a lot of backlash, conversation that was happening. But from a business perspective, their stock actually went up about 12% over those two years.

However, even though they stuck to their brand values, revenue was up, it wasn’t affecting them in a negative way revenues-wise. Because they were still receiving so much backlash and social chatter about their brand online there, most recently, their CEO – I forget his last name, it’s like a Greek last name and it’s hard to say so I’m sorry, I can’t remember – but essentially what he said was that they were going to review their giving strategies. And although they would not disclose who they were and weren’t giving to, they were going to make more of an effort to give to religious organizations that were more supportive of the LBGTQ community. So that was a big statement for them because again, they didn’t have to make the statement. According to everything that we’ve just said, they’d stuck to their values, the revenue wasn’t being affected. But because I guess all of this negative sentiment was happening around their brand online, they felt like they needed to come out and make a statement. Now we don’t know who they’re giving to. They didn’t say. We don’t know if anything really changed, but something happened. There was enough I’m guessing negative chatter, negative sentiment happening online, that they felt like they needed to come through and make this statement.

Rich: Okay. One thing we touched on this earlier is this idea of performative or virtue signaling. And so this is a question I have. Because it’s so easy to, like, we kind of dismissed creating a rainbow version of your logo for the month of June or whatever it may be. What do you tell companies when they say, I want to do this for Pride month, or I want to do this, or I want to do that? How do you advise them to back it up with action, or do you not advise them to back it up with action?

Brooke: I do. I’m always playing the curious card. So for me, it’s like, that’s great. I also support the LGBTQ community. How are you really supporting the community other than that banner? What’s the actual actionable support that you’re providing? And if they say, “the banner”, like, okay, well, let’s discuss. Let’s think about this, how does this fit into your core values? And if it does fit into their core values, then the obvious answer is how can we create something that really does support what you’re saying you support? And if it’s not part of the brand core values, my question is the same. Is there something that you want to do? Do you want to make a donation? Do you want to create some sort of group within your company or committee that oversees activities or whatnot? It’s just an idea brainstorm, because ultimately they have to decide.

But a lot of times, I think even just getting questioned, like, “Hey, that’s cool that you’re putting this banner up, but what else are you doing?” Does make people kind of sit back and think a little bit more. Because I do think you’re absolutely right previous to, you know, maybe the past five years we all kind of, not all, but that’s a blanket statement, but you know, a lot of brands made these types of fluffy posts but weren’t actually supporting whatever. Which is a big shift in how consumers are not looking at brands. Like we were just talking about, they want you to take a stand and they want you to mean it.

Rich: So this all, and maybe it’s because I’m seeing you with your backdrop with a big B Squared behind you. I was just reading an article before we jumped on about the surge in B Corp certifications. And B Corp, for anybody who doesn’t know, is a certification. I don’t know if it’s global or just US, not really sure, but it’s a very difficult level of kind of community involvement, environmentalist, and all this sort of stuff that corporations can vie for and ultimately achieve. You have to go through a process and I’m just wondering how this might fit in with all the communications that are out there. If we are trying to show ourselves to be better citizens of the world, do your clients ever come to you and ask you anything about B Corp, or is that something that’s a whole different context?

Brooke: No. I think it’s part of this conversation. No, I haven’t had any clients directly ask about the B Corp thing, but I think it’s just showing what we’re moving towards. I still think, you know, I’ve had conversations recently with marketers who I really respect, who do not get behind brands taking a stand. And yet the research constantly shows you, there’s way more research than this Sprout Report that I just mentioned, that this is what customers want. And over and over we’ve seen as marketers that consumers do not trust businesses and brands. And I think that part of why this shift is happening is because they do want to trust us, as you were saying with Andy’s report that he mentioned, but we have to prove it. We can’t just say stuff anymore. We have to prove it like any other relationship. You have to go through the paces and back your words up. Words just won’t work anymore. Actions really matter the most.

Rich: Right. And so maybe B Corp is some way of proving that you’re actually taking these stands. Although just in the news this morning there was some story about some big bank that said that they had done this ESG stuff, and it turns out it was all made up. And so now actually the CEO is stepping aside, and all these different things are happening. So it’s one of these things where maybe we’re starting to create these levels where businesses are expected to step up and do these.

I’m starting to feel some pressure, even though I always felt the last 25 years we’ve run an ethical company, that maybe I need to be B Corp certified, just to prove that we’re running an ethical company and all these sorts of things. So it’s interesting times that we live in.

And again, even if you roll your eyes at this, like you said, the research shows that the next generation of consumers are very interested and will make decisions and loyalty decisions based on how we behave, and then how we communicate that behavior through social media.

Brooke: Yeah. I mean, I think what you’re saying is so interesting about the B Corp thing, because you’re right. I think there is going to be some sort of leveling up, as you said, of companies and proving that point of how we go above and beyond to be better people and therefore better brands. I love that, it gets the wheels going.

Rich: Right. And we haven’t even really touched officially, we haven’t even said those three magical letters of DEI yet. But that’s a whole other thing as well. And yes, some businesses are definitely going to be virtual signaling on this, and other ones are just going to be posturing. But this is another important thing. And there are now, for years of course, there’ve been when it comes to government contracts, there are benefits to be minority owned or a woman owned business.

But in that article about B Corps, I also read that some bigger corporations are requiring or giving preference to B Corp certified companies. So all of a sudden, it’s like you have to get on this train. Or maybe not. Or they’re saying it’s not just that the corporation themselves wants to be DEI certified. They want to work only with companies that have a DEI plan in place and that they’re doing certain things. So, you know, we may be coerced into some of this. So it might just make sense to, like you say, right back to the beginning. Be clear on your values, step into them, don’t just talk about it, do something, and then decide on social media how you may want to communicate this.

And it can be challenging, because I know with the whole thing about the scholarship I was like, does it come across as performative? Even though we’re spending money on this, even though we’re committing to this. Or does it come across as like we’re bragging? I can’t stand when people in businesses get on Facebook and start bragging about this. And we ultimately decided that we would talk about it. Because we thought maybe that would lead other companies to also do things. But we kept it subtle compared to a lot of the other things that we might be out there promoting.

Brooke: Yeah. I always feel like giving back though is never, I guess maybe because I come from a nonprofit background, giving back is never bragging. You should brag away when you are giving back and helping anyone other than yourself.

We, as far as D E and I goes, we have partnered with Best Buddies for the past couple of years, which really focuses on the ‘I’, the inclusion portion of DEI. And Best Buddies is an organization that helps individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. So we’ve placed interns at B Squared who have IDD as part of our jobs program, and essentially work with them through Best Buddies to see what it would be like to have a job in social media marketing or digital marketing. That said, I would love to get more into the D and the E part of DEI, and I’m still taking pause and figuring out what that is going to look like for B Squared.

So I think it’s an ongoing thing. It’s something that’s going to require many iterations. This isn’t like a set it and forget it kind of thing. You can’t be like, okay, my brand core value is X and we’re going to support Y. I think it’s going to be a constant conversation. It has to evolve as we move forward. And you know, I think truly it is starting at who are we, what do we support, what are our brand values? And then the marketing goes forward with how can we attract like-minded people to follow us, converse with us, and hopefully convert and end up buying from us and becoming loyal to us because we have the similar view points.

Rich: And one thing we haven’t really even touched on but it’s an important thing to mention, especially during the great resignation, the period after it is that this is also, I don’t want to call it a recruitment tool but I will say, especially for a small business, although you don’t want homogeny, you often do want people who have a certain alignment. And so the idea is if you’re out there always talking about, you know, like there are going to be certain people who want to go work for My Pillow, and then there are certain people want to go work for Ben and Jerry’s, because of what they say out there in the media. And I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with either those two companies. I mean, obviously, secretly I am. But the bottom line is, you will attract the right type of employees also by sharing your mission, your vision, your values, and promoting it through social media.

Brooke: Yeah. What’s really interesting is I hired a sensitivity reader for the book, because I talk about a lot of these very sensitive issues. And I wanted to try to remain neutral from like a political perspective. I wanted to give weight to all the sides. And one of the things that Tanisha – shout out to Tanisha, oh my God, she’s amazing, one of the things that she told me which was interesting to hear – but I took it in with grace and it makes so much sense – was that I write with an antiquated viewpoint. I’m from Texas. Just be totally transparent here, I’m an Independent voter, I’m a single issue voter. I’m not on either side. I tend to lean to lean to the left on social issues. But she said in my writing style, maybe because I’m older, I’m 42, and because she’s younger. So she pointed that out to me. And then she had said basically, you’re making your reader read between the lines. Stand politically. And I think you should just come out with where you stand politically and stop shying away from it. Because where I grew up, it was bad manners to discuss politics or religion, things like that. So it’s interesting because even in writing this book, which is about this topic, I got pushed personally to be more open about my viewpoints and to just be like, look, here it is. And if you don’t like it, I don’t know what to tell you.

Rich: Although it’s interesting because there is an argument that’s maybe not inclusive if you just come out and say where you are, because suddenly you’ve dismissed half the population. But that’s a conversation for another day.

I did want to circle back around before I ask you about the book. I did want to circle back around on one thing. So we take our stance. We’re happy with our stand. We’re not performative. We’ve got some things that we’ve either been doing all along, or some initiatives that we’re starting, or we’re just admitting that we’re curious about this and this is our pathway, our journey, whatever. People respond negatively, maybe not everybody, but there are people out there who are saying, who are you to take a stand on this? I’m never going to buy your socks or your ice cream ever again. What kind of response should we give those people? Assuming there’s not hate speech in there.

Brooke: Yeah. I have a whole chapter on your audiences, and basically half the chapter is on trolls. Because our trolls, who there’s different levels of trolls. There are your customers who are going to complain in that situation, just like you said, and that’s a serious matter, right? Because this is somebody who has purchased from you before and you would like to keep in the fold. So that kind of troll would deserve a different response than somebody who just comes through and make some sort of nasty remark just based on the situation.

I’ll give you an example. Another example that’s in the book, Nike and Colin Kaepernick, the whole Black Lives Matter thing. People were burning their shoes and protesting Nike partnering with Colin Kaepernick, who was supporting basically police brutality against black people. And Nike took a stand and they connected with him, which again, aligned with their brand core values in the media and in the news. And you can go to their posts if you really wanted to on social for a kind of case study of your own. There was a ton of really negative, nasty comments, right? Again, people burning their shoes. Nobody wants to be the brand whose customers are burning your product online.

However, again, that was the media story. But if you look at the actual business case, stock skyrocketed after that connection with Colin Kaepernick, it’s continued to grow. They have continued to be the leader in their space. So I think again, it just goes back to they know who they are. I’m sure they have a ton of data. They knew exactly what they were doing before they even made that campaign statement. They knew that they were going to have dissolution. I don’t know if they knew they were going to have it to that level, but they didn’t care because the people who burn their shoes, but their core audience probably bought more and became more loyal and trusted and liked the brand more because of that connection to Colin Kaepernick.

Rich: Absolutely. So let’s talk about your book for a minute before I let you go. What can you tell us about it?

Brooke: Well, it’s taken me 17 years in the making. It’s taking a year to write. I’m very tired. But I think it’s just a necessary conversation because social media is so different. It’s not what we used to call it. And it’s not just something that sits with the marketing department. Everything that I talk about in this book and the case studies that I use, we’ve helped all kinds of departments. We’ve helped the R&D department, sales departments. We’re working with owners to figure out where they’re going to open their next brick and mortar location based on some of the voice of customer data that we’ve received.

So it’s really two parts. The first part is kind of like what you’re doing wrong with social media and where to start. And the psychology behind connecting with brand values, opinions, feelings. And then part two gets really tactical and it kind of tells you how to operate, operational social-led customer care, which is taking care of would-be customers. So pre-purchase and post-purchase customers. So actual customers through social media, using different tactics, conversations, and social listening.

Rich: Awesome. So just to be clear for anybody who’s listening, we talked about one specific segment of everything that’s in the book. Today we talked about social issues and how to have those conversations. But the book goes much deeper and much broader than just that. Definitely worth checking out. Again, you can go on to Amazon and either pre-order it or order it, depending on when you listen to this podcast. And I believe you mentioned that you actually have an accompany workbook with this as well. What’s that all about?

Brooke: Yeah. If you’re dipping your toe into social listening, or you’ve never used it but are kind of curious if you should, I partner with Sprout Social to create a free workbook that goes along with the book. And it’s all about kind of setting up your use case for social listening. It’s like a 90-minute exercise that walks you through setting up some of those social listening initiatives for you. So really excited about that, too, because anybody could get that. You don’t have to buy anything. You could just get the workbook.

Rich: Excellent. All right, Brooke, this has been great. If people want to connect with you, where can they find you online?

Brooke: You can go to our website, which is Bsquared.media. Or you can just Google ‘Brooke Sellas’, B R O O K  E and Sellas is S E L LA S. So far, I think I’m the only Sellas out there. I haven’t found anybody else who carries the same name. So if you Google ‘B squared media’ or ‘Brooke Sellas’, you should be able to find me on social or the company.

Rich: Excellent. Thank you so much for your time today.

Brooke: Thank you so much for having me.

Show Notes: 

Brooke Sellas and her team at B Squared Media help their clients connect, converse, and convert with social media. Be sure to check out their blog for the latest advice, and be on the lookout for her upcoming book to drop!

Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, a web design & digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine, and founder of the Agents of Change. He’s passionate about helping small businesses grow online and has put his 20+ years of experience into the book, The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing.