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How to Build Conversations in Social Media Using the 3 P's

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Are you just getting the ingredients together to start a business? Or are you in the process of making your dessert — taking your business from new to sweet? In either case, you can take your business up a notch with social media.

Building conversations anywhere in the world of social media develops relationships, grows brand recognition and expands expertise. The formula for starting and building a community around your topic calls for a heap of passion, a large scoop of planning and a big bowl of promotion — the three P’s.


In “Man v. Food,” a Travel Channel TV show, Adam Richman ends every episode by taking on an eating challenge. It could be eating the fieriest food or a ginormous dish that can feed five people. In one episode, he faced an ice cream tower known as the Kitchen Sink Sundae, a two-gallon sundae with eight giant scoops of ice cream. He had to eat the whole thing within an hour.

You could almost feel Richman’s pain past the halfway point with his droopy eyes, slumped body and bowed head. The taste became too much for him that he ordered French fries to cut the sweetness. In the end, the man with passion for food won the challenge. Of course, he has lost a few battles with food, but that doesn’t stop him from trying again and again.

The groups and chats that flourish online have leaders behind them who show similar passion for their topic. Picking a topic to discuss, just because you think that’s what people want or because it’s a moneymaker will lead to burnout and boredom. Working with a topic means constantly staying on top of it, talking about it, researching it and living with it for hours, days and months. Without passion, the fire will never truly catch, but with it you can develop a thriving conversation. For example, Wine Library TV’s Gary Vaynerchuck oozes passion; people see it right away on his show, in his talks and in his book, “Crush It!


The creators of the Kitchen Sink Sundae thought ahead by creating the sundae and setting boundaries with two rules: The challenger must eat everything within one hour. Without those boundaries, challengers could easily win by slowly eating the whole thing throughout the day.

The restaurant behind the sundae most likely added this to their menu to challenge people, promote the restaurant and to be a “purple cow.” “Hey, have you heard about the bottomless sundae at San Francisco Creamery?” makes for great word-of-mouth promotion.

You need similar planning in order to build successful conversations in social media. How does the topic fit in with your business goals? How will you benefit from the topic? Setting boundaries keeps the discussion tight and on track. Discussions without boundaries lose control and interest.


San Francisco Creamery extended the life of the Kitchen Sink Sundae promotion with a new contest. It gives you a chance to win free ice cream for a year if you finish the sundae within 30 minutes. Unless challengers can finish the sundae, they’ll have pay for the $39.95 ice cream.

Conversations allow you to share your passion with others. But without promotion, no one will show up to share that passion with you. Hard selling makes many people uncomfortable, so focus on their needs. If they stop by your community, what will they get out of it? Use that to promote your topic. Promote it in the right places such as on social media profiles, in your email signature and via any colleagues who are willing to help spread it through their networks.

These three steps can work for many areas of social media. You can apply the three P’s to a blog, a Twitter chat, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn group, or wherever your community waits for you and your passion.

What ingredients make up your conversations around your passion?

Photo credit: Swamibu

15 Responses to “How to Build Conversations in Social Media Using the 3 P's”

  1. “If they stop by your community, what will they get out of it?” I think that question is the best question to ask oneself before anyone begins a blog or website. From there you can start a conversation or hundreds of them around the persons niche.

    Thank-you for this post. I just found this site today and I am so glad that I did! I see I got a lot to learn still :)

  2. I think often times, people are so concerned about pushing their product or service that they neglect making a connection with the customer. You’re not only selling a service, you’re also selling an experience

  3. This is a wonderful post! People really have to understand these pointers. Most clients still believe in hard sales and massive advertising campaigns, and think strategies like these are just a passing trend. But successful examples like the one you’ve mentioned here can be a real eye-opener to many.


    This is a great post. I love what you said about passion: “constantly staying on top of it, talking about it, researching it and living with it”.

    I have seen that ambitious people, the ones that pursue entrepreneurship, startups etc., often have a different goal – either to be wealthy and/or to change the world. In their quest to be wealthy they often do what they deem to be the hot thing, or what they think is going to be the next hot thing. For example, in the late 90s people flocked to the internet, then they flocked to private equity and now they are chasing cleantech. So, my question is, what is their passion? Are they really doing what they like? It’s ok to say that one’s passion is to make money. In fact I agree with the statement that many of us do not understand money and so we do not learn how to make money – that’s a separate topic.
    I feel that if people truly had a passion they would do what you said .. “constantly staying on top of it, talking about it, researching it and living with it”. It takes patience to stick to a passion.
    What’s my passion? it has something to do with numbers, but we’ll see .. if data mining is no longer a hot topic 3 years from now I hope my “passion” does not change.

    • Love your passion, Shankar! Thanks for sharing exactly why passion matters. Even with a passion for making money — I don’t know if that’s enough to carry them through picking whatever they think is a winner. Money won’t coming pouring in instantly in most cases.


        Yes, I completely agree. Though, I will say this: there are some people – I will call them “money folks” – who focus on and do a great job of making money. I find that they are wired in a way that is different from the general class of knowledge workers. When I say “knowledge workers” I am referring to a wider spectrum – I include people in financial services, pharma, software .. etc. The “money folks” could be in real estate, waste management, and even in software etc. Their distinguishing characteristic is their ability to make money from things we cannot imagine – such as selling used aluminum cans!

        I respect their ability to make money. I and most readers of this blog do not belong to that category – we are knowledge workers. To lead fulfilling lives we need to follow our passion and do creative things – there’s a lot of joy in creativity (of course, the money people can also be creative ;) )