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Around 15 years ago, forums and blog comment sections were staples of brand-to-fan communication. But the world’s moved on.
While many choose to focus on social media channels, some of the world’s most popular brands still blog as they have spent years attracting readers and building an engaged community.
But how do they manage reader comments to ensure the engaged community doesn’t become a free-for-all?
Today’s teens live and breathe social media, they are constantly connected, use multiple devices and often create content as much as consume it.
They also relate to social media, news and content differently to the more familiar Gen Y market.
Brands that want to reach the Gen Z audience need to change the way they communicate, it’s still a conversation, but it’s also about understanding teenagers, and respecting their opinion and their privacy, their creativity and their need to share.
While we may refer to them as brand advocates, those people who support a brand especially when it’s facing some kind of crisis, are really just passionate fans.
Fans who are willing and able to dedicate their own time to support a brand online, or in person.
The retail industry is going through an interesting time. Shoppers expect a more personalised experience, almost a return to old-fashioned values of the local store.
However, the proliferation of high street chains and supermarkets has made shopping rather more impersonal.
Technology means that can change though.
Scaling a successful social media brand campaign to reach (and be relevant to) millions of people across the world is no mean feat.
A truly international campaign will be relevant across different countries, cultures, languages and timezones.
The campaign might have a great creative idea at its heart, but the structure, process, management and team behind the implementation of that idea are what will define its success.
Here are my top three things to consider when scaling a social media campaign:
Most brands tend to focus on their products and services when they use social media.
People, on the other hand, use social media to build and maintain connections - to chat to friends, family and to other people.
They might visit a branded Facebook page to discover more about that company, or enter a competition occasionally, but if you want them to stick around, there has to be a bigger motivation than seeing how the brand is going to link its product to the latest sporting event.
People want to connect with people, and with stories. This is where the entertainment industry comes into its element.
While it’s true that most brands aren’t going to have the frenzy of interest around them that a major TV show does, there are things that businesses can learn from entertainment brands on social media.
Anonymous apps are the latest craze. But what are they, and why are so many of them popping up?
First, of course, nothing online is guaranteed to be truly anonymous. Clever audience tracking, or just knowing which friend of a friend has the job they’ve talked about hating, means you can often trace content back to the original creator.
But the popularity of apps like Whisper and Secret is precisely because of their surface anonymity (Whisper is reported to have 3.5 bn views a month).
Whisper lets you post short, anonymous, messages, which anyone else using the service can see and reply to, while Secret lets you post anonymous messages to anyone on your mobile’s contact list.
90% of data in the world today was created in the past two years. Using social media, brands have an unparalleled opportunity to hear what their customers and potential customers think and feel about them.
Brands have always monitored what is written about them, but social listening is something different.
Listening is active. It usually requires you to do something as a result of what you’ve heard: spotting issues early, righting wrongs, surprising and delighting customers, marketing in real time, and gathering insight and intelligence to help you develop better products.
It’s easy just to focus on the influencers, and ignore the small voice in the crowd. But this can be a mistake. US insurance company Harvard Pilgrim didn’t respond to a customer complaint, first offline, then online, when the customer published a blog post about the problem.
Although the readership of the blog was barely in double digits, when the post was tweeted it went viral and 1,000 people read the post.
Let’s be honest. Click farms aren’t exactly a big secret. Buying ‘likes’ and Twitter followers is a well-known shady practice.
What the Channel 4 Dispatches investigation on #fakefans has shown us is the process behind the (fake) stats.
Customer service has evolved. Instead of returning to a store or calling a helpline, people are increasingly turning to social media to resolve their gripes.
So it’s perhaps no surprise, then, that 80% of companies plan to use social media for customer service.
And when you hit that sweet spot and create a well-oiled social customer service machine, the pay-off is huge: 71% of customers recommend a brand that gives them a ‘quick and effective’ response on social media.
Here’s a list of important things to consider.
As of April 1, the Financial Services Authority has been replaced by two new bodies, the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA), which regulates the operations of financial organisations, and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which monitors how financial organisations treat consumers.
As far as the FCA is concerned, whether financial organisations choose to communicate over social media channels or in print, the rules remain the same.
The communication must be clear, fair and not misleading, regardless of which channel the message is broadcast over.
As Random Acts of Kindness week was earlier this month, it got me thinking: is this culture of kindness something that could cross over to how brands behave?
Are they already doing business by doing good? Social media makes it possible for brands to do ‘random’ nice things for customers (or fans or followers).
Is this self-serving? Or is it genuinely the start of something great?