tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/community-management Latest Community Management content from Econsultancy 2017-03-09T11:32:00+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68876 2017-03-09T11:32:00+00:00 2017-03-09T11:32:00+00:00 How TfL’s community managers engage with London’s cyclists Nikki Gilliland <p>Here’s what he had to say about his day job, where he tweets from <a href="https://twitter.com/SantanderCycles">@SantanderCycles</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/TfL" target="_blank">@TfL</a>. And to learn more about this topic, book yourself a place on Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-community-management/" target="_blank">Online Community Management Training</a> course.</p> <h4> <strong><em>Econsultancy:</em> First, could you explain a bit about what you do?</strong> </h4> <p><em>Matt Moran:</em> I’m the Online Community Manager for Cycling here at Transport for London, so essentially I’m involved in anything cycling-related that happens on social media - from initial strategy through to the day-to-day execution of tactics. </p> <p>That might mean launching a Facebook campaign for Santander Cycles, responding to reports of a problem on a Cycle Superhighway on Twitter, or sharing <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66739-how-user-generated-content-is-changing-content-marketing/">user-generated content</a> on Instagram. Ultimately though, I’m here as part of a big team helping to get more people cycling in London.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What does a typical day look like?</h4> <p><em>MM:</em> Like most people who work in social media, there tends not to be a typical day! But I’ll always start my morning off by checking our social listening tools - usually before I’ve left home - to see whether there are any major issues where we need to respond quickly. </p> <p>Once any pressing issues are out of the way I’ll look for any conversations taking place that might not include TfL, but where we can add value and have a positive impact. For example, somebody might be thinking of starting to cycle to work, which is great for us, as we can really help them on their way with tools such as our Journey Planner or free Cycle Skills training. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">It's been a stunning day in London for cycling! Enjoy the ride home<a href="https://t.co/RUWnC1zC7e">pic.twitter.com/RUWnC1zC7e</a></p> — Santander Cycles (@SantanderCycles) <a href="https://twitter.com/SantanderCycles/status/839166004752236552">March 7, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Most days I’ll also be working on one of the many campaigns we run throughout the year to promote cycling. Each day I document my journeys with a GoPro or my iPhone as I travel around London by bike – that provides us with a rich and relevant source of content in a relatively cost-effective way too.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What’s been the biggest challenge so far?</h4> <p><em>MM</em>: My role was new to TfL in 2016, so my first big piece of work was to develop the strategy on how we should approach cycling as an organisation on social media. </p> <p>TfL is a large organisation, so navigating stakeholders and understanding their priorities and motivations was a challenge initially. There are also lots of external stakeholders to consider too, not least the people who already cycle in London and share their thoughts on social media, so it’s important for us to empathise and understand their needs. </p> <p>Thankfully we’re all focused on one thing and that’s to get more people cycling, more safely, more often.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4441/TFL_social.jpg" alt="" width="750" height="496"></p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What is the structure like at TfL – how do you work alongside other Community Managers?</h4> <p><em>MM:</em> As this was a new role there’s been a certain amount of freedom in determining how best to position myself within the organisation. </p> <p>Other community managers will know that the key to success is to respond quickly and accurately to what is happening across the organisation. With this in mind, I divide up my week across different locations to sit with colleagues from Press, Online, Marketing and Planning – I also work closely with the social media team at Santander, for activities around Santander Cycles. </p> <p>I truly believe that you can never know too much about the subject matter when it comes to being a great community manager (I’ve been working in both cycling and social media for almost a decade).</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Part of your role is to encourage people to take up cycling – is there a balance between this and other responsibilities such as dealing with complaints? Where does your focus lie?</h4> <p><em>MM:</em> I’m 100% focused on getting new people cycling but I also recognise the importance of developing a relationship and providing value for existing cyclists through social media. They are the people who sit next to colleagues and friends in the office, in the café or the pub and enthuse about how quickly they got to work by bike, or what a great time they had riding in Hyde Park at the weekend. </p> <p>It’s simple word-of-mouth marketing, and it works in tandem both online and offline, so if I can encourage existing cyclists to ride even more (and have a great experience because of the work TfL is doing) then it’s win-win for the greater good.</p> <p>When it comes to complaints, I see it as an opportunity to develop a positive relationship with a customer - it’s simply about good communication and over-delivering on the solution. </p> <h4> <em>E:</em> How do you deal with negativity? Do you follow a certain protocol?</h4> <p><em>MM:</em> This one has always been easy for me, I just respond as quickly, honestly and personably as possible. Sometimes negativity is drawn from complex issues but we don’t shy away from those and we always aim to provide a response that answers the question and gives value. </p> <p>I tend to sign off my replies with my first name and a bike emoji that helps to create a bit more of a human connection, rather than customers feeing like they’re tweeting into – and receiving an answer from - a large faceless organisation. Being human trumps negativity every time.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/zefrog">@zefrog</a> Hi Nicolas, apologies, we're aware of the issue and working hard to come up with a solution to alleviate the problem. (Matt)</p> — Santander Cycles (@SantanderCycles) <a href="https://twitter.com/SantanderCycles/status/837259054825230336">March 2, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h4> <em>E:</em> Is there a difference between social media channels in terms you how you interact with people (or conversely, how people behave)?</h4> <p><em>MM:</em> Expectations from customers vary wildly across platforms and we try to play to each platforms strengths. Twitter is certainly our busiest platform in respect of queries and we respond as quickly as we can, whereas the pace on Facebook is somewhat slower and we can be a little more creative in the type of media we use. </p> <p>For Santander Cycles we’ve recently started to ramp up our efforts on Instagram which provides a really positive platform to inspire people to ride with beautiful images and the sharing of user-generated content. Our tone of voice generally stays the same but we are able to play around a little more with the creative across different channels.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4440/TFL_cycling.jpg" alt="" width="750" height="475"></p> <h4> <em>E:</em> 2016 was a record-breaking year for the Santander Cycle scheme. How has your role (and TfL’s greater focus on cycling in general) aided this?</h4> <p><em>MM:</em> My role has helped us to move from a campaign-led approach to an always-on approach to social media. This means we can be really agile around our social content. A simple example is that we ramp up our messaging when the sun is shining, in order to inspire people to ride and pull back during periods of extreme adverse weather.</p> <p>Having a subject-matter expert in the role brings a deeper level of understanding to our messaging and allows us to provide more value to consumers with one-to-one conversations. </p> <p>I also work closely with the fantastic social media team at Santander. It’s a great partnership that has delivered some excellent work, such as the launch of the Blaze Laserlight which featured Halloween-themed video content for Facebook and a custom emoji on Twitter for @SantanderCycles. That campaign resonated well with the audience and illustrated that you can have a bit of fun layered over the top of a more serious safety message.</p> <p>If you combine the delivery of our social media content with the brilliant work my colleagues are doing on the ground - such as the East/West Cycle Superhighway along the Thames - you can really start to see how cycling is a practical and enjoyable way to travel around London. The proof of success is in the record number of Santander Cycles hires in 2016 (and as I say this we’ve just recorded our highest-ever number of hires in a February).</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Community Management now seems to be a mix of both online reputation management and general social media outreach – how do you see the role evolving in future?</h4> <p><em>MM:</em> A great community manager can’t stand still. We need to be executing every day to ensure our practical knowledge and skills stay relevant. Competition for consumer attention between the major platforms is intense right now, with updates being rolled out on an almost weekly basis, so we need to be aware of these changes as soon as they happen and switch our tactics appropriately.</p> <p>Understanding the ROI of your content is fundamental to success. This means interpreting what the platform analytics are telling you, how that data matches up with your objectives and adapting your output to generate even more success. </p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65523-what-is-online-reputation-management-and-should-you-use-it/">Online reputation management</a> is important but if you’re consistently providing your audience with value then they’ll be much more forgiving when things do go wrong. We’re doing a lot more <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68409-four-key-trends-within-the-world-of-influencer-marketing/" target="_blank">work with influencers</a>, partners and involving the community to help us spread the message more widely. Not that any of that is particularly new - it’s just the way we can do this with new platform features keeps it really relevant and interesting for the community.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Finally, what’s the best thing about your job?</h4> <p><em>MM:</em> I love being able to execute each day, it lets me be really at the forefront of what is happening across the major social media platforms. And there’s no amount of training or watching YouTube videos that can replace executing, understanding what worked and why, and then fine-tuning content to ensure it performs even better. </p> <p>The best bit is that I get to do that every day around a subject that has been a passion of mine for all of my life – cycling!</p> <p><em><strong>Related articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68715-what-does-a-community-manager-do-and-what-skills-do-they-need/" target="_blank">What does a community manager do and what skills do they need?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68771-q-a-with-nescafe-s-community-manager-melody-meacher-jones/" target="_blank">Q&amp;A with Nescafé's Community Manager: Melody Meacher-Jones</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68720-six-successful-examples-of-online-brand-communities/" target="_blank">Six successful examples of online brand communities</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/3008 2017-02-27T12:55:00+00:00 2017-02-27T12:55:00+00:00 Internet Statistics Compendium Econsultancy <p>Econsultancy’s <strong>Internet Statistics Compendium</strong> is a collection of the most recent statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media. </p> <p><strong>The compendium is available as 11 main reports (in addition to two sector-specific reports, B2B and Healthcare &amp; Pharma) across the following topics:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/advertising-media-statistics">Advertising</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/content-statistics">Content</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics">Customer Experience</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/web-analytics-statistics">Data and Analytics</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/demographics-technology-adoption">Demographics and Technology Adoption</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/uk/reports/ecommerce-statistics">Ecommerce</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/email-ecrm-statistics">Email and eCRM</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-statistics">Mobile</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/search-marketing-statistics">Search</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-statistics">Social</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/strategy-and-operations-statistics">Strategy and Operations</a></strong></li> </ul> <p>Updated monthly, each document is a comprehensive compilation of internet statistics and digital market research with data, facts, charts and figures. The reports have been collated from information available to the public, which we have aggregated together in one place to help you quickly find the internet statistics you need - a huge time-saver for presentations and reports.</p> <p>There are all sorts of internet statistics which you can slot into your next presentation, report or client pitch.</p> <p><strong>Sector-specific data and reports are available under the following areas:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B</a> </strong></li> <li><strong><a title="Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals Internet Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/healthcare-and-pharmaceuticals-internet-statistics-compendium/">Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals</a> </strong></li> <li><strong><a title="Financial Services and Insurance Internet Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/financial-services-and-insurance-internet-statistics-compendium/">Financial Services and Insurance</a> </strong></li> </ul> <p><strong>Regions covered in each document (where data is available) are:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>Global</strong></li> <li><strong>UK</strong></li> <li><strong>North America</strong></li> <li><strong>Asia</strong></li> <li><strong>Australia and New Zealand</strong></li> <li><strong>Europe</strong></li> <li><strong>Latin America</strong></li> <li><strong>MENA</strong></li> </ul> <p>A sample of the Internet Statistics Compendium is available for free, with various statistics included and a full table of contents, to show you what you're missing.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68814 2017-02-16T11:15:00+00:00 2017-02-16T11:15:00+00:00 How utilities brands use social media for reputation management Nikki Gilliland <p>Before we go any further, what exactly is <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65523-what-is-online-reputation-management-and-should-you-use-it/" target="_blank">online reputation management</a>? Well, though it largely comes under the umbrella of social media monitoring, this practice can also involve dealing with online reviews, producing content and general <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66439-three-ways-community-management-drives-loyalty-for-charities/" target="_blank">community management</a>.</p> <p>In this article, I will specifically be focusing on how utility companies use social media channels for reputation management.</p> <h3>Basic principles</h3> <p>Online reputation management on social media refers to <em>how</em> brands respond to customer conversation.</p> <p>For example, if people are complaining or even praising a service, but the brand remains entirely unresponsive – this can have a detrimental effect on its overall reputation. </p> <p>Here are a few basic rules for effective management:</p> <ul> <li>Monitor mentions</li> <li>Respond quickly</li> <li>Be transparent</li> <li>Prepare for a crisis</li> <li>Address criticism</li> </ul> <p>Let’s look at a few examples of utility brands putting the above into practice.</p> <h3>Hawaiian Electric</h3> <p>Not many electricity suppliers have an Instagram account, let alone use it to effectively communicate with customers, but Hawaiian Electric is different.</p> <p>When a storm hit shores in 2014, it utilised the channel to let customers know about areas of power outage and repairs, as well as reinforce messages about safety. It has since continued to do this, expanding its strategy to incorporate general posts relating to the local community. </p> <p>By using a visual medium like Instagram, the brand is able to project a positive image and reassure customers in the process. </p> <p>After all, while it might be useful to hear that a company is repairing a broken electricity pole, seeing a photo of it in action is far more powerful.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3927/Hawaiin_Electric.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="489"></p> <h3>SSE</h3> <p>Figures from Citizens Advice revealed that SSE received the lowest number of customer service complaints last year, making it the top energy company overall for customer satisfaction.</p> <p>A big contributing factor appears to be the way it handles queries and criticism on social media, with a fast response time and polite tone of voice across the board.</p> <p>This is particularly evident on the brand’s Facebook page, where it ‘typically replies within an hour’. And although complaints are still common, the brand’s approach appears to be effective for calming angry customers. </p> <p>With <a href="http://blogs.forrester.com/kate_leggett/15-03-03-consumer_expectations_for_customer_service_dont_match_what_companies_deliver" target="_blank">77% saying</a> that valuing the customer's time is the most important thing a company can do – a fast response is one of the most effective ways for brands to ensure that they can maintain and improve a positive reputation.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3928/SSE_energy.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="469"></p> <h3>PSEG</h3> <p>PSEG – a gas and electric company based in New Jersey – shows that social media can be used for brand reputation management in alternative ways.</p> <p>In 2014, it started planning for an infrastructure upgrade to replace 250 miles of gas line - a project that would result in a lot of upheaval for local residents.</p> <p>Instead of an announcement on its website, PSEG chose to use micro-targeted Facebook ads in order to let people know what was going to happen and how it would affect them.</p> <p>When users clicked on an ad, they were taken to a specific page where they’d be able to select and view a work schedule and relating disruption.</p> <p>By utilising social media in this way, not only did PSEG demonstrate transparency, but it also pre-empted its customers' needs.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3929/PSEG.JPG" alt="" width="540" height="716"></p> <h3>Ovo</h3> <p>Brand Q&amp;A’s on Twitter are always risky. A few years ago, British Gas suffered a huge backlash from angry customers over price hikes, leaving the social media team with egg on its face and even more of a negative reputation than before.</p> <p>On the other hand, this type of activity can work well for smaller brands. <a href="https://www.ovoenergy.com/about-ovo" target="_blank">Ovo</a> is one brand that has utilised an ‘always on’ strategy to monitor brand mentions and successfully draw in new customers, often using Q&amp;As to highlight the shortcomings of competitors. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">We came here to have breakfast and help our customers. And we've just finished our toast. <a href="https://t.co/Bcr3QYnRGP">pic.twitter.com/Bcr3QYnRGP</a></p> — OVO Energy (@OVOEnergy) <a href="https://twitter.com/OVOEnergy/status/828513583000592387">February 6, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Despite its overall approach to social media being far more appealing than most utility companies – using a conversational and personal tone – Ovo has not had an entirely positive couple of years.</p> <p>Having failed to compensate customers for missed or late appointments, the company recently agreed to pay £58,000 to charity instead of undertaking formal enforcement action.</p> <p>While the experience has undoubtedly tarnished its reputation, Ovo’s charitable donation and intent to improve customer service is part and parcel of online reputation management in action.</p> <p><strong><em>Related articles:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68789-how-smart-switching-energy-apps-are-tapping-into-customer-need/" target="_blank">How smart-switching energy apps are tapping into customer need</a></em></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65478-how-20-top-uk-retailers-handle-social-customer-service/"><em>How 20 top UK retailers handle social customer service</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68771 2017-02-06T11:33:00+00:00 2017-02-06T11:33:00+00:00 Q&A with Nescafé's Community Manager: Melody Meacher-Jones Nikki Gilliland <p>I caught up with Melody Meacher-Jones, who is a community manager for Nestle UK, to find out what her job entails and her tips and advice for others.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3629/Melody.jpg" alt="" width="512" height="512"></p> <h3>Econsultancy: Firstly, could you explain what you do?</h3> <p>Melody Meacher-Jones: A community manager’s role is to advocate brands on social networks. Essentially, we create a brand’s persona and seek out opportunities to engage with potential or existing consumers online. </p> <p>On a day-to-day basis, I’m responsible for the look and feel of my brand’s owned social channels (Nescafé and Nescafé Dolce Gusto), generating earned media, and ensuring our community online is being engaged with and to the highest standard.</p> <h3>E: How do you measure success?</h3> <p>MMJ: For me, it’s all about gaining a high engagement rate and generating earned impressions. Whether that’s jumping on a trending topic with a custom-made piece of content or having ‘a bit of banter’ with an <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68566-what-are-the-most-effective-channels-for-influencer-marketing/" target="_blank">influencer</a>; success lies in those earned metrics. </p> <p>However, as a community manager I’m also passionate about every person who’s a member of my brands’ communities. Success can also mean converting just one consumer to buy or become an advocate of your brand through a simple tweet.</p> <h3>E: What are the most challenging aspects of your role?</h3> <p>MMJ: Being the first brand to jump onto a trending topic. For me, reactive marketing is an integral part of my role and being a graphic designer too, I’m always searching for opportunities online for my brands to join in. Seeing and creating the content first however, can be challenging. </p> <p>Another challenge is that consumers are expecting higher levels of engagement from brands. Over 50% of people who contact a brand on social media expect a response within an hour and they no longer want a mundane 140-character response. </p> <p>Brands like Innocent Drinks have set a benchmark for community management and customer engagement online that the rest of the industry is having to follow and hopefully exceed. </p> <p>For me, this means every interaction with a consumer has to be flawless and original to win over my communities.</p> <h3>E: Do you see the role changing/evolving in the near future?</h3> <p>MMJ: Absolutely. Community management is still a relatively new role within any marketing team, and as digital is evolving so will community managers’ responsibilities. </p> <p>With the rapid rise of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67536-three-dark-social-channels-with-a-billion-active-users-how-to-use-them/" target="_blank">dark social</a>, I’m interested to see how community managers will tackle this as our role relies on what people are saying being public. We can only wait to see how this situation develops. </p> <h3>E: Do you collaborate with wider teams within the company?</h3> <p>MMJ: In my role, I sit in digital marketing and work closely with brand teams and external agencies to ensure our earned strategy is aligned with theirs. </p> <h3>E: What social channels or platforms do you think are most effective for your role and how do you use them?</h3> <p>MMJ: Tough one. They all have pros and cons. It completely depends on where your community lives online. It might be a little ‘old school’ but from a community management perspective I find interacting with consumers on Twitter really effective. </p> <p>It’s completely public (most of the time) and hashtags enable you to gain a wider reach and tap into conversations you couldn’t do on Facebook or Pinterest.</p> <h3>E: What advice would you give to people interested in pursuing community management?</h3> <p>MMJ: 1. DO IT! (It’s really fun) </p> <p>2. If you’re looking to start a career in community management, I’d first search for brands who inspire you on social and see how they engage with their community.</p> <p>Then I’d start putting that into practice by starting a Tumblr blog or an Instagram account with content that you’ve created. From there, I’d just start responding to users when they comment on your posts and start familiarising yourself with social media terms and analytics.</p> <p>On that basis, you’ll have a great case study for when you start applying to roles.</p> <p><em>To find your next role in digital marketing, check out the <a href="https://jobs.econsultancy.com/">Econsultancy Jobs Board</a>.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68720 2017-01-23T10:07:44+00:00 2017-01-23T10:07:44+00:00 Six successful examples of online brand communities Nikki Gilliland <p>Unlike areas of social community management (such as a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64674-how-to-market-your-branded-facebook-page/" target="_blank">Facebook page</a> or a Twitter channel) these tend to be the dedicated forums or websites where online communities share and discuss their interests.   </p> <p>So, let’s take a look at some of the best examples.</p> <h3>Lego Ideas</h3> <p>Alongside Lego message boards, Lego Ideas is a creative online community for enthusiasts of the famous toy sets, allowing users to find and submit ideas for new designs. </p> <p>As well as promoting the sharing of ideas, it also incorporates a competition element whereby fans can vote and offer feedback. If a design receives 10,000 votes, it will be considered by Lego to become one of the brand’s official sets, even giving the creator a percentage of the final sales.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Meet this week's 10K Club member, Adrien S., fan designer of the The Little House on the Prairie project. Read more <a href="https://t.co/1c7wzz8OSq">https://t.co/1c7wzz8OSq</a> <a href="https://t.co/bgc5EsGWts">pic.twitter.com/bgc5EsGWts</a></p> — LEGO® Ideas (@LEGOIdeas) <a href="https://twitter.com/LEGOIdeas/status/821009322624905217">January 16, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Championing creativity, this example rewards loyal customers and gives them a reason to truly invest in the brand.</p> <h3>Made Unboxed</h3> <p>Furniture retailer, Made, launched an online community that connects undecided buyers with previous customers. The aim is to allow shoppers to see what Made's products look like in real life, as well as share ideas and inspiration. </p> <p>It is built on the idea that furniture shopping is a typically physical experience, yet not everyone has the ability to visit a showroom.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3164/Made_Unboxed.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="533"></p> <p>By enabling consumers to envision the set-up in a natural setting, it bridges the gap between online and physical stores and gives people a reason to connect.</p> <h3>Figment</h3> <p>Figment already existed before Random House bought it in 2013. Since then, it has continued on in the same vein, predominantly as a community for aspiring writers of YA (young adult) fiction. </p> <p>It acts as a sort of social network for 13-18 year olds, including both discussion elements and the chance for writers to express their own ideas and submit stories.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3165/Figment_2.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="554"></p> <p>By keeping the original community and using it to subtly promote Random House books (as well as titles from other publishers) – Figment is a great example of a subtly-branded online community, and one that provides real value for consumers.</p> <h3>Playstation Community</h3> <p>The Playstation community has flourished in recent years, boosted by the popularity of the online gaming community in general. </p> <p>It allows gamers to talk to each other in forums, with dedicated channels for different games as well as general topics.</p> <p>There’s also a competitive element in the form of ‘Trophies’ – a rewards system that recognises gaming accomplishments – allowing users to compete with friends online.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3166/Playstation_trophies.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="714"></p> <p>Combining gaming elements with discussion and competition, the Playstation community is a great complement to the everyday experience of playing video games.</p> <h3>BeautyTalk</h3> <p>BeautyTalk was created in response to the thousands of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9366-ecommerce-consumer-reviews-why-you-need-them-and-how-to-use-them/" target="_blank">online reviews</a> and consumer queries left on Sephora.com.</p> <p>An online community for beauty fans, it is now a thriving forum whereby consumers can share tips, advice and reviews – as well as merely talk to one another about whatever topic they like.</p> <p>One reason it has become so successful is that it is incredibly helpful for answering product-related queries. By simply entering a question or keyword into the search bar, users are likely to be met with multiple existing threads, instantly reinforcing whether or not they should buy a specific product.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3167/BeautyTalk.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="650"></p> <p>Building on the need for unbiased opinions in the world of beauty, it has become a thriving community for beauty fanatics as well as a valuable resource for occasional Sephora shoppers.</p> <h3>Harley Owners Group</h3> <p>The Harley Davidson community is more than just an online forum. In fact, the ‘online’ aspect is pretty minimal, merely serving as a way of connecting with fellow riders and letting members know about the group’s perks, meet-ups and events. </p> <p>Unlike the aforementioned examples, membership isn’t free, and you can only join if you own a Harley Davidson motorcycle (or are a family-member or friend of someone that does). </p> <p>From dedicated motorcycle tours to access to the members-only website – there are many benefits to joining HOG. More than anything, it reinforces members' dedication to a particular lifestyle.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3168/HOG.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="412"></p> <p>By building an online community based on the experiences that come from riding one of its bikes - rather than just the actual product itself - Harley Davidson has managed to attract over 1m members worldwide. </p> <p><em><strong>To improve your knowledge, check out Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-community-management/" target="_blank">Online Community Management</a> training course.</strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>If you're looking for a new role within community management or social media, you'll find plenty on <a href="https://jobs.econsultancy.com/?utm_source=econsultancy&amp;utm_campaign=econ%20blog&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">Econsultancy's jobs board</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68715 2017-01-19T10:39:00+00:00 2017-01-19T10:39:00+00:00 What does a community manager do and what skills do they need? Nikki Gilliland <p>To clear things up, I thought I’d delve into the world of community management and find out why it’s becoming increasingly important for brands of all kinds.</p> <p>Here’s a beginner’s guide.</p> <h3>What does a community manager do?</h3> <p>The role of a community manager is to act as the bridge between a brand and the community it is aiming to create (i.e. a loyal audience or group of core consumers connected by a similar interest). </p> <p>They should be the brand’s ambassador, engaging with potential customers and building relationships with existing ones. They are also focused on gauging sentiment around the brand, using social listening tools in order to monitor feedback and engagement.   </p> <h3>What’s the difference between a social media manager and a community manager?</h3> <p>Isn’t that just the same as what a social media manager does, you might ask? Apparently not.</p> <p>Though there tends to be overlap between the roles, both interacting with customers on the same platforms, there are marked differences.</p> <p>While a social media manager focuses on the logistics of content creation and distribution – i.e. managing a content calendar, posting on social, and monitoring analytics – a community manager is focused on establishing community guidelines, as well as facilitating and moderating conversation between members. </p> <p>Another way of looking at it is to think about what each might aim to achieve from a post, let’s say on Facebook.</p> <p>A social media manager might post to engage customers in conversation – they’ll measure this by the amount of direct replies or likes. On the other hand, a community manager will post with the aim of getting customers talking to <em>each other</em> – and this will also be measured through qualitative data, such as sentiment and the level or quality of engagement.</p> <h3>Skills and attributes</h3> <p>There are many ways to measure success within community management. You can read about four elements for building a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68694-four-crucial-elements-you-need-to-build-a-valuable-online-community/" target="_blank">valuable community here</a>. However, let’s start with the kind of skills community managers are required to have, as well as why they are vital.</p> <h4>Communication </h4> <p>It might sound like an obvious skill, but there’s a difference between being a good writer and someone who is a skilled communicator.</p> <p>Community management is not just about crafting creative or engaging tweets – it’s also about listening to what members are saying and using this to shape future messages. The role is basically digital networking, so it is vital for a community manager to have excellent people skills, too. </p> <h4>Empathy and judgement</h4> <p>Following on from this, a community manager must be able to empathise with the customer and know how to respond in a manner that reflects the brand's values and identity. Again, this is different to a social media manager or exec who might post as the brand, where as a community manager is always speaking on behalf of the brand - and as a human being.</p> <p>We’ve all seen examples of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65901-the-top-20-fail-iest-social-media-fails-of-2014/">social media fails</a>, with employees posting knee-jerk or inappropriate reactions to customer complaints.</p> <p>On the other hand, when a brand responds well, it can turn a negative experience into a positive one. Take Adidas, for example, which shut down homophobic comments on an Instagram pic using just two emojis. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3148/Adidas_CM.JPG" alt="" width="720" height="372"></p> <h4>Organisation and data analysis</h4> <p>While community management is based on a lot of human and emotional attributes, it also requires organisational skill and the ability to manage a fast-paced workload. </p> <p>With multiple platforms to monitor, it is important to keep on top of how communities are responding in real-time, using analytics tools to measure things like reach, traffic and engagement. </p> <h3>Benefits of community management</h3> <p>So, we know what is required for effective community management – but what are the benefits for brands? </p> <h4>Growth</h4> <p>Community management is not simply about championing the brand, but also about listening to valuable feedback from customers. By gaining a deeper understanding about an audience and what they want, brands have more chance of attracting new customers and retaining existing ones.</p> <p>With social platforms also being the place customers are most likely to express real emotions, it gives brands true insight into how their customers are responding.</p> <h4>Trust </h4> <p>Relationship building is at the core of community management. Unlike the days before social media, where one-to-one contact between a customer and a brand was rare or required speaking on the telephone, it is now an instant and expected part of customer service.</p> <p>Everything from fast response times to a friendly manner means customers will feel valued, and in turn, place trust in a brand.</p> <h4>Value</h4> <p>By creating a community – whether it’s a Facebook group or online discussion forum – brands can impact consumers on a more emotional and everyday level.</p> <p>This allows companies to become more than just a faceless brand and serve a purpose based on something other than its original product. In turn, this can lead to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66439-three-ways-community-management-drives-loyalty-for-charities/" target="_blank">greater loyalty</a> and long-term success.</p> <p><em><strong>To improve your skills and knowledge in this area, check out Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-community-management/" target="_blank">Online Community Management</a> training course.</strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>And if you're looking for a new role within community management or social media, head over to <a href="https://jobs.econsultancy.com/?utm_source=econsultancy&amp;utm_campaign=econ%20blog&amp;utm_medium=blog">Econsultancy's jobs board</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68694 2017-01-13T10:36:22+00:00 2017-01-13T10:36:22+00:00 Four crucial elements you need to build a valuable online community Katie Kelly <p>With 41.8m people <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/householdcharacteristics/homeinternetandsocialmediausage/bulletins/internetaccesshouseholdsandindividuals/2016">online in the UK</a> who spend on average <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/aug/04/more-than-a-third-of-uk-internet-users-have-tried-digital-detox-ofcom">25 hours a week connected</a>, being online forms a large part of our lives. But we crave social relationships and thus individuals turn to online communities to fulfil a basic human need for interaction with others.</p> <p>Building a community is not rocket science but is does require <em>a lot</em> of time, effort and authenticity.</p> <p>There are numerous commercial benefits for businesses who pursue this time intensive strategy; some of the main ones being that consumers who are part of an online community associated with a brand show more loyalty, as well as being a source of valuable market research. </p> <p>Just as you would build a community in the real world, online communities act and react in similar ways. The main difference and difficulty arises when we try to build communities acting on behalf of brands.</p> <p>So, step away from setting up that Facebook group and consider these four things first. And to learn more on this topic, book yourself onto <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-community-management/">Econsultancy’s community management training course</a>.</p> <h3>Four crucial elements for building an online community</h3> <p>No matter where online, whether it’s via email chains or a full-blown purpose-built forum, the following tips should be applied if you want to build a highly-engaged community.</p> <h4>1. The right place at the right time</h4> <p>The term ‘social network fatigue’ was coined a few years back, the idea being that we become fatigued by repetitively signing in, finding and linking with friends and creating profiles. The lack of consistency between networks also means there’s a learning curve for each new network you join.</p> <p>When you’re thinking about starting a new community find out where your future community members already hang out and consider building a community within an existing network – this will help eliminate fatigue and speed up building the community. </p> <p>There’s also the benefit of being a ‘first mover’. Communities are only useful when they’ve grown to a critical mass which means there are enough people visiting, commenting etc. to sustain ongoing interactions.</p> <p>So if there are already a lot of existing communities around the same subject it may be hard to gain traction. </p> <p>Metcalfe’s law of networks states ‘the utility of the network increases by the square of the people connected’. This <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2005.tb00264.x/full">concept of critical mass</a>; ‘the number of people needed to make a communication system or a community useful’ isn’t necessarily just about the number of people as these definitions suggest.</p> <p>Different types of people or amounts of interaction can also be needed to obtain critical mass. For example, a Facebook group with six of your closest friends might be the critical mass required to maintain an ongoing conversation for a few years.</p> <p>Whereas a forum about motherhood may need thousands of members who are all at different stages of parenthood, so there are enough people to discuss a range of topics to make the community useful and engaging. </p> <p><strong>Tip one:</strong> Don’t be afraid to centre the community around a niche interest or attitude, ideally something which isn’t already catered for by established online communities. </p> <p><strong>Tip two:</strong> Recruit your most highly engaged brand advocates and reward them with first entry to your community. Allow them to use it to a point where the community begins to build – then open it up to others so that newbies aren’t coming to an empty group/forum. </p> <h4>2. Moderation </h4> <p>Getting moderation right is so important. Ignore this at your peril.</p> <p>Get it wrong and you’re likely to end up with flame wars, a useless community full of spam and little real engagement. This is a massive topic so I’ll highlight some of the key areas you should consider when starting out.</p> <ul> <li>Setting out from the start with what is and isn’t allowed within the community is a good policy and gives everyone fair warning. Keep it in the same tone of voice and style that you want from your community and make it easily accessible.</li> <li>It’s also good to set out at the beginning how you will deal with people who break this policy. </li> <li>Hire the right people to moderate. Moderation on behalf of a brand is a very tricky and important role and getting the right person can be hard.</li> </ul> <p>People tend to view moderation as policing but this is very far from the whole gig. You’re the person at the party who introduces everyone and connects them with others in the room who have similar interests, keeps the conversation going, brings out the party games if there is a lull, and steps in to calm down situations when everyone’s had a bit too much to drink. </p> <p>Ideally, you’ll need to find someone who is passionate and somewhat knowledgeable about the topic/subculture and your brand, with a good understanding of social media and general internet culture.</p> <p>The nature and disposition of the moderator must be one of openness. Someone who is happy to serve others (you’re not the superstar) and can get on with anyone. Crucially you need someone who won’t post in haste. </p> <p><strong>Tip:</strong> A key tip I learnt when moderating is to show you are human as well as acting on behalf of a brand. Admit mistakes (step away from the delete tweet button…), and be careful in the language you choose to use.</p> <p>Asking questions can also be a great way to respond and defuses conflict. Each moderator will have their own style – it a good idea to ask them to provide examples of how they’ve moderated other forums in a range of different situations. </p> <h4>3. Getting engagement </h4> <p>People engage in online communities because they crave social interaction but also for personal reward. Creating mechanisms to recognise and encourage more participation can do wonders.</p> <p>There are many ways in which you can do this. Some of the common ways which you’re likely to see are the use of gamification, e.g. giving points for completing actions and progressing up levels.</p> <p>This can also be the answer to your moderation quandaries with the assistance of a self-moderating community or rewarding those with the role of moderation (this should be carefully considered before you go ahead with this).</p> <p>Rituals and traditions are where communities really come to life. Remember when everyone on Facebook use to comment “first” on a post? Or #FollowFriday on Twitter, the recent ‘post a picture of your desk on your first day’ on LinkedIn, and the old Reddit switcheroo?</p> <p>Each community will develop its own rituals and traditions and it’s these which really bind people together. Often arising out of random situations that occur in the community or driven by popular culture. </p> <p>We all love to be in on the joke and rituals can help build the culture of your community.  </p> <p><strong>Tip:</strong> Create consistency: have a plan as you would for a blog with ideas for discussions so that you can keep a consistent flow of new conversations.  </p> <h4>4. Don’t forget offline</h4> <p>Online communities can exist entirely online but offline shouldn’t be forgotten.</p> <p>Meeting people in real life can have an impact on how strong our bond is with one another and so arranging local meet-ups, especially if you have local businesses to promote, can strengthen your community’s own connections and create new ones, as well as strengthening their love for your brand. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/2959/screenshot__74_-blog-flyer.png" alt="Wool &amp; The Gang Knit Party" width="470" height="264"></p> <h3> </h3> <h3>Wrap up</h3> <p>The above should give you a good starting point when considering building a new community.</p> <p>Don’t rush in. Do your research about what already exists, get the right people to moderate and realise it’s going to take a lot of time and effort, but the rewards for brands can be big. </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/1980 2017-01-01T00:00:00+00:00 2017-01-01T00:00:00+00:00 Digital Intelligence Briefings Econsultancy <h3>Download the latest Digital Intelligence Briefing (2017 Digital Trends) <a title="Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2017 Digital Trends" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-intelligence-briefing-2017-digital-trends/">here</a>.</h3> <p>Econsultancy's <strong>Digital Intelligence Briefings </strong>look at some of the most important trends affecting the marketing landscape.</p> <p>Marketers around the world are surveyed on a regular basis to give an accurate bellwether of trends that matter to marketers. Each year kicks off with a broader view on where marketers are focusing their attention. For the rest of the year, Econsultancy’s Research Team dig into some of the key trends to add depth and insight.</p> <p>These reports will benefit senior marketers with budget and planning responsibility who wish to benchmark themselves against their industry peers. They provide many stats and data points to assist with business cases, presentations and client pitches.</p> <p>The Digital Intelligence Briefings are sponsored by <a title="Adobe" href="http://www.adobe.com/solutions/digital-marketing.html">Adobe</a>.</p> <p><strong>2017</strong></p> <ul> <li><a title="Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2017 Digital Trends" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-intelligence-briefing-2017-digital-trends/">2017 Digital Trends</a></li> <ul> <li><a title="Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2017 Digital Trends in Financial Services and Insurance" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/2017-digital-trends-in-financial-services-and-insurance/">2017 Digital Trends in Financial Services and Insurance</a></li> <li><a title="Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2017 Digital Trends in Retail" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-intelligence-briefing-2017-digital-trends-in-retail/">2017 Digital Trends in Retail</a></li> </ul> </ul> <p><strong>2016</strong></p> <ul> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2016 Digital Trends" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-2016-digital-trends/">2016 Digital Trends</a></li> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: The Pursuit of Data-Driven Maturity" href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-the-pursuit-of-data-driven-maturity/">The Pursuit of Data-Driven Maturity</a></li> <li><a title="Digital Intelligence Briefing: Taking Advantage of the Mobile Opportunity" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-intelligence-briefing-taking-advantage-of-the-mobile-opportunity/">Taking Advantage of the Mobile Opportunity</a></li> <li><a title="Digital Intelligence Briefing: Succeeding in the Omnichannel Age" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-intelligence-briefing-succeeding-in-the-omnichannel-age/">Succeeding in the Omnichannel Age</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>2015</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-2015-digital-trends/">2015 Digital Trends</a></li> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: The Quest for Mobile Excellence" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-the-quest-for-mobile-excellence">The Quest for Mobile Excellence</a></li> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: The Multichannel Reality" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-multichannel-reality/">The Multichannel Reality</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-the-cx-challenge/">The CX Challenge</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>2014</strong></p> <ul> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2014 Digital Trends" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-2014-digital-trends">Digital Trends for 2014</a></li> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Finding the Path to Mobile Maturity" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-finding-the-path-to-mobile-maturity">Finding the Path to Mobile Maturity</a></li> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Delivering Digital Experiences" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-delivering-digital-experiences">Delivering Digital Experiences</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-why-marketing-should-be-personal/">Why Marketing Should Be Personal</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>2013</strong></p> <ul> <li> <a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Digital Trends for 2013" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-digital-trends-for-2013">Digital Trends for 2013</a> </li> <li> <a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: From Content Management to Customer Experience Management" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-from-content-management-to-customer-experience-management">From Content Management to Customer Experience Management</a> </li> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Optimising Paid Media" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-optimising-paid-media">Optimising Paid Media</a></li> <li><a title="Channels in Concert: Trends in Integrated Marketing" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-integrated-marketing">Trends in Integrated Marketing</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>2012</strong></p> <ul> <li><a title="Digital Trends for 2012" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-digital-trends-for-2012/">Digital Trends for 2012</a></li> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Personalisation, Trust and Return on Investment" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-personalisation-trust-and-roi">Personalisation, Trust and Return on Investment</a></li> <li><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-managing-and-measuring-social">Managing and Measuring Social</a></li> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Making Sense of Marketing Attribution" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-making-sense-of-marketing-attribution">Making Sense of Marketing Attribution</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>2011</strong></p> <ul> <li><a title="Digital Trends for 2011" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-q2-2011">Digital Trends for 2011</a></li> <li><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-q3-2011">Impact of Marketing Technology on Business</a></li> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Social Data" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-social-data">Social Data</a></li> </ul> <p><em>All reports are free to download as part of an Econsultancy subscription.</em></p> <h3><strong>More trends analysis from Econsultancy</strong></h3> <p>Enterprise subscribers also have access to <a title="Econsultancy Digital Shift" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-shift">Digital Shift</a>, a quarterly service which curates and interprets the most important developments, trends and innovation. Our aim? To make it simple for you to keep track of the key developments in digital technology and marketing. </p> <h4>Find out more about Econsultancy subscriptions</h4> <p>Email us on <a href="mailto:subscriptions@econsultancy.com">subscriptions@econsultancy.com</a>.</p> <p>Or call your local team:</p> <ul> <li>EMEA: Paul Simmons, +44 (0)20 3199 7118</li> <li>Americas: Alex Nodell, +1 212 971 0631</li> <li>APAC: Jefrey Gomez, +65 6653 1911</li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68548 2016-11-22T16:00:00+00:00 2016-11-22T16:00:00+00:00 Novartis launches a social network for heart failure Patricio Robles <p>It partnered with the American Heart Association and actress/singer Queen Latifah to be a part of their <em>Rise Above Heart Failure</em> initiative, which includes events, media outreach and digital content distributed on the American Heart Association's website.</p> <p>And, last month, it supported a panel discussion broadcast <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68403-pharma-company-novartis-taps-facebook-live-event-to-promote-heart-failure-drugs/">through Facebook Live</a> on World Heart Day that featured Queen Latifah and medical doctor Karol E. Watson, a professor of medicine/cardiology and the co-director of the UCLA Program in Preventive Cardiology.</p> <p>Now, Novartis has launched <a href="https://www.togetherinhf.com">a dedicated online social network</a> for heart failure patients and caregivers. <em>Together in HF</em>, which debuted late last month, aims to connect those affected by heart failure, provide heart failure resources and offer content from medical experts.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1663/novartissocial.jpg" alt="" width="910" height="430"></p> <p>The social network features dedicated sections for heart failure patients to share their stories and discuss how they live with heart failure. There is also a section for caregivers to interact with each other.</p> <p>Novartis has a team of community managers who oversee the social network, and experts, such as Dr. Bob Hilkert, a cardiologist with Novartis, contribute content.</p> <h3>Facebook isn't always <em>the</em> social network</h3> <p>To launch <em>Together in HF, </em>Novartis teamed up with a number of organizations, including the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses, Association of Black Cardiologists, American College of Cardiology and WomenHeart. </p> <p>While companies frequently create communities on existing social platforms, like Facebook, because they come with built-in audiences that can be tapped, Novartis and its partners decided to launch their own social network. Two of the biggest reasons: privacy and control.</p> <p>Registration on <em>Together in HF</em> is open only to individuals located in the United States, content is private and only available to other members. Healthcare practitioners are not permitted to sign up in their capacity as healthcare practitioners; they can register in the capacity of a patient or caregiver.</p> <p>Novartis has established its own set of community guidelines and allows users to delete their accounts at any time, promising that "all [account] information will be removed from the server."</p> <p>Ensuring privacy, establishing and enforcing its own set of policies and maintaining ownership and control of its data are obviously important to any pharma company operating an online community, and these would have been all but impossible to accomplish had Novartis not built its own social network.</p> <p>While the cost of that is certainly higher – <em>Together in HF</em> was two years in the making<em> </em>– Novartis' effort demonstrates that there are use cases for which dedicated, self-hosted online communities are worthwhile investments, particularly in health and medicine.</p> <p>After all, Entresto is expected to generate $200m per year in revenue for Novartis, so building out its own products to support the heart failure community clearly has the potential to deliver a return if those products are well-crafted.</p> <p><strong><em>More on healthcare:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68411-the-doctor-is-always-in-baidu-to-launch-medical-chatbot/">The doctor is always in: Baidu to launch medical chatbot</a> </li> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68346-new-data-shows-why-digital-is-now-critical-to-pharma/%20">New data shows why digital is now critical to pharma</a> </li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68481 2016-11-07T14:09:00+00:00 2016-11-07T14:09:00+00:00 Seven guiding principles for implementing social customer service Kit Smith <p>Consumers are using social for customer service, even where brands are choosing not to engage.</p> <p>In fact, social media interaction has been greeted with trepidation by the majority of brands, with <a href="http://www.conversocial.com/blog/infographic-the-state-of-social-customer-service#.VQxGAWSsXuY">only 26% of staff taking social seriously</a> as a customer service tool.</p> <p>In trying to work out why this is, think about one of the last fundamental shifts in communication brought about by technology: when the telephone became ubiquitous, brands were terrified what would happen when they allowed customers to actually speak to their business. </p> <p>How would companies continue to control the messaging of their brand when thousands of conversations were happening between consumers and junior staff members every day? </p> <p>Generally, the answer came in the form of heavy moderation. Teaching call center staff rigid scripts that could guide them through a variety of common questions seemed to provide the answer. </p> <p>Except, as consumers, we know that it sucked. The experience of waiting on hold, navigating menu systems, and talking to a robot-like representative who stuck to a script was frustrating enough to make anyone give up on the idea of good customer service altogether. </p> <p>The concerns that existed when phones were introduced are being played out again with social media, only this time the stakes are higher. An audience is actively listening, from the other side of a keyboard, tablet or mobile.</p> <p>Despite the risks, social media customer service is an opportunity that should be embraced. Done well, brands can turn a threat into an opportunity. </p> <h3>Why you should embrace social customer care </h3> <h4>It’s cheaper</h4> <p>Forbes reports that social media customer service <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/mckinsey/2015/07/01/social-care-in-the-world-of-now/#41ea4fa72f25">costs around $1 per interaction</a>, up to six times cheaper than phone support. </p> <p>Good social customer care can go beyond providing the same service for less money. Opportunities can come from customers directly asking for advice or recommendations. With social intelligence tools, brands can surface conversations and questions that are not aimed directly at them. </p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68388-how-klm-uses-bots-and-ai-in-human-social-customer-service/">KLM, market leaders in social customer care</a>, has 150 social media customer service agents, and generates $250m annual revenue by managing new client bookings via social media. </p> <p>As KLM’s social media manager Gert-Wim ter Haar told Venturebeat: “Social is more and more becoming a profit center. It’s first about service, then brand and reputation, but also about commerce…we have to make money.” </p> <h4>It’s happening anyway</h4> <p>According to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2015/may/21/customer-complaints-social-media-rise">research conducted by the Institute of Customer Service</a>, between January 2014 and May 2015 there was an eightfold increase in customer complaints made on social media. </p> <p>The report states that customer motivation for using social includes convenience, cost, and the desire to make the conversation public. Those brands not embracing the shift not only alienate their customers, but risk damaging their reputation with prospects. </p> <h4>Customers expect it</h4> <p><a href="http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-research/42-percent-of-consumers-complaining-in-social-media-expect-60-minute-response-time/">One survey</a> asked consumers who have attempted to contact a brand’s customer support channel through social media how long they expect to wait for a response.  </p> <p>32% said within 30 minutes. A further 10% expect a response within 60 minutes. The expectation doesn’t stop there: 57% of respondents expect the same service at night or on the weekend.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1036/brand_response_times.jpg" alt="" width="896" height="700"></p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63867-consumers-prefer-live-chat-for-customer-service-stats/">Evidence suggests</a> that customer care over live chat drives the highest satisfaction rates, which also attests to this point.</p> <p>If live chat is not possible, well-resourced social teams that can respond quickly can still provide a satisfying encounter.</p> <h4>Not responding can be dangerous</h4> <p><a href="http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2101515">Gartner reports</a> that the dissatisfaction stemming from failure to respond can lead to a 15% churn rate for existing customers. </p> <p>The ripple effect of social media is well documented. Angering current customers can also give a negative impression to prospects who are yet to have a first-hand experience with the brand. </p> <h4>Customers become happier</h4> <p><a href="http://www.mckinseyonmarketingandsales.com/sites/default/files/pdf/Higher-satisfaction-at-lower-costs.pdf">McKinsey reports</a> that the move to social can instigate a ‘paradigm shift in customer satisfaction’, and cites a mobile operator that reduced call center volume by 20% in eight months, while lowering costs and increasing its Net Promoter Score. </p> <p>Twitter also reports that companies using the platform for customer service <a href="https://twitter.com/jack/status/705423142970327040">see a 19% lift</a> in customer satisfaction.</p> <p>It’s not hard to understand why: connecting with customers where they already are in a quick, convenient, and human way greatly improves the customer experience. </p> <h3>Implementing social customer service </h3> <p>So how should brands implement social customer service? The threat of a rogue tweet can understandably make stakeholders nervous, but by considering a few key points first, existing teams should be able to transition without too much risk. </p> <p>Early adopters and consumer surveys have highlighted seven key areas that brands should keep in mind when developing their roadmap. </p> <h4>1. Respond quickly </h4> <p>According to an <a href="https://soulofbrands.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/nm-incite-report-the-state-of-social-customer-service-2012.pdf">NM Incite survey</a>, 33% of respondents would recommend a brand that offered a quick but ineffective response.</p> <p>That was nearly double the number who would recommend a brand that offered a slow but effective solution. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1035/brand_recommend.png" alt="" width="893" height="537"></p> <p>KLM understands the importance of this. The header image on its Twitter customer care channel is updated every five minutes with the expected wait time for a representative to answer a complaint.</p> <p>This avoids having customers getting increasingly frustrated while waiting, and adds some transparency to the process. </p> <h4>2. Empower your employees</h4> <p>We may be moving away from scripted telephone conversations, but guidelines are still needed to assist staff.</p> <p>Having well trained, empowered employees that don’t have to stick to a rigid script will allow them to better serve the customer while sounding authentic and staying true to your brand. </p> <p>Brands need to invest in the knowledge of staff, ensuring employees are taught to think for themselves through the lens of the overarching customer strategy. That said, simple problem-solving frameworks should be used to assist staff. </p> <p>The correct tools need to be in place, including streamlined relationship management systems containing customer histories, and social listening and engagement tools to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. </p> <h4>3. Humanize your brand</h4> <p>The age of the customer has increased conversations with brands. The days of broadcasting on mass-media to consumers that had little way of joining the conversation are long behind us. </p> <p>It’s also important to note that through a customer service representative is often one of the few times a customer speaks directly to the brand. This interaction therefore takes on more significance for the customer, as the individual they speak to <em>is</em> the brand in their eyes. </p> <p>Great customer care should be human, personal and empathetic. Many brands are embracing this by having agents append their messages with their name or initials.</p> <p>This small touch is one aspect of a wider shift, with human responses becoming increasingly common – and necessary. </p> <h4>4. Align activity with your audience</h4> <p>Increase efficiency and customer satisfaction by aligning staff hours with customer activity - be approachable, accessible and talk to them when they want to be talked to.</p> <p>An analysis of brand and audience activity in a social intelligence platform can reveal this, both for hours of the day and days of the week. </p> <p>Not having enough staff when your audience are most active will lead to long wait times. Conversely, having too many staff during quieter periods is a waste of resources. </p> <h4>5. Go above and beyond </h4> <p>Going beyond what is expected can create brand advocates and provide some fantastic PR. A humanized brand with empowered employees is able to deliver customer service on a level unexpected by consumers. </p> <p>The examples often cited will have been seen by many: Morton’s Steakhouse delivering a porterhouse steak, Lego replacing a child’s lost toy, or Trader Joe’s delivering to an elderly man in bad weather. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1037/Mortons.jpg" alt="" width="731" height="451"></p> <p>These stories are known because they go far beyond what is expected and spread through social and traditional media, becoming huge PR wins in the process.  </p> <p>However, going beyond what is expected does not have to be as extreme as those examples. Small things matter. Listen, engage, deliver, delight. </p> <h4>6. Use the right channel </h4> <p>The right channel is whichever channel the customer chooses. Sometimes conversations will have to be taken offline or private, but this should only be done where necessary. </p> <p>For one thing, it can look to observers that you are trying to hide negative interactions, but also it is a further inconvenience to your customer, who chances are has already had a negative experience. </p> <h4>7. Be on the lookout</h4> <p>All brands with social customer care teams will be monitoring their own channels, but opportunities exist (and are missed) to engage beyond this. <a href="https://www.brandwatch.com/2015/09/marketing-dark-matter-social-media-and-the-number-96/">Brandwatch research shows</a> that dependent on the industry, up to 96% of brand conversations can happen outside brand-owned channels. </p> <p>Misspellings and untagged mentions will go unanswered without a tool to notify you about them, and while complaints will tend to be directed at the brand, someone having a moan might not. Where appropriate, brands can rectify otherwise missed opportunities.</p> <p>Brands can go beyond putting out fires and listen for opportunities too. While only <a href="https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;ved=0ahUKEwil04_U0-nPAhWHC8AKHb_LDCYQFggeMAA&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.census.gov%2Fretail%2Fmrts%2Fwww%2Fdata%2Fpdf%2Fec_current.pdf&amp;usg=AFQjCNGKTxyvuNKsbVVqO1ZiAOhpz0lQrw&amp;sig2=ppfVsW_8mq1wku5whRdwWg">7.5% of US sales</a> come through ecommerce, <a href="http://www.pwc.com/us/en/retail-consumer/publications/us-multichannel-shopping-survey.html">research from PricewaterhouseCoopers</a> shows that around 80% of consumers research products online before purchasing in-store.</p> <p>Often consumers ask the collective brain of social media for advice and recommendations and social intelligence provides the opportunity for brands to join the conversation at the appropriate point. Forward thinking brands can jump into these conversations to not only aid customers but benefit from their efforts. </p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>Implementing social customer service isn’t easy, but that almost gives you more reason to do it now. The majority of brands have not got this right yet, and that increases the opportunity for brands that choose to embrace it.</p> <p>The brands that take advantage of this should embrace social customer carefully. They should do it well, and do it soon.</p> <p>Surprise and delight your customers, and you’ll have a genuine differentiator from your competitors while they play catch up.</p> <p><strong><em>If you're interested in learning more, why not sign up for Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/social-media-customer-service/">Social Media Customer Service training course</a>.</em></strong></p>