tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/twitter Latest Twitter content from Econsultancy 2017-03-24T15:05:08+00:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68937 2017-03-24T15:05:08+00:00 2017-03-24T15:05:08+00:00 Stories from SXSW 2017: ad blocking, content distribution, and Joe Biden Nick Hammond <p>These looked at the areas of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67076-the-rise-and-rise-of-ad-blockers-stats/">ad blocking</a>, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-rise-of-influencers/">influencer marketing</a>, social video, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66752-10-steps-to-better-content-distribution/">content distribution</a>, and the thoughts of Joe Biden, former Vice-President of the USA.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://schedule.sxsw.com/2017/events/PP67501">Ending The Ad Blocking Wars</a></strong></p> <p>The panel for this session included representatives from Brave Software, The New York Times, Digital Context Next and The Christian Science Monitor. They considered whether publishers can improve the ad experience to persuade readers to turn off blockers? Or will add blockers bring about the end of the free web?</p> <p>As you may imagine there was no simple solution to this conundrum. The two biggest players in the digital space (you know who they are) are not affected by ad blocking and therefore are not bothered by its effects. </p> <p>Although ad blocking is plateauing (<a href="http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/uk-ad-blocking-levels-stabilise-22/1425085?bulletin=campaign_breakfast_briefing&amp;utm_medium=EMAIL&amp;utm_campaign=eNews%20Bulletin&amp;utm_source=20170223&amp;utm_content=www_campaignlive_co_uk_ar_6">at least in the UK</a>), the real squeeze is on smaller publishers, the little guys getting caught in the middle. These organisations are caught in an imperfect storm, made up of greater reliance on ad revenues and lacking the engineering investment levels and knowledge to respond to the threat.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/5034/adblock-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="163"></p> <p>As a result of this, there is a real possibility of local, smaller publishers, starting to disappear. This could create a regional ‘news desert’ as even more people seek their news from social media. Currently 44% of Americans use Facebook as a news source and the number is rising. </p> <p>There was also a discussion around different types of ad blockers. Much of the debate tends to be around the big players, such as AdBlock which has 200m downloads; but there are other providers with different business models. <a href="https://brave.com">Brave Software</a> (represented on the panel) doesn’t just remove ads – it replaces them with new ads and splits the revenue between publishers, users, network partners and the company itself.</p> <p>Brendan Eich from Brave suggested that this software is the first ‘post-bad’ ad blocking solution. Still early days for this, 'softer' ad blocking model and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.</p> <p>Predictably, content was identified as a way to get around this challenge. The NYT emphasized the importance of engaging content – ‘pull instead of push’ – and advised strongly against using technology to push advertising onto consumers.</p> <p>Sponsored ‘native’ content is not necessarily the panacea to solve this problem, as publishers often tag creative to acquire more data; these are then identified as ads and therefore blocked. </p> <p>Ad fraud was a serious related issue discussed, with an estimated 23% of global video traffic being served to robots. </p> <p><strong><a href="http://schedule.sxsw.com/2017/events/PP65228">The Hundred Thousand Dollar Snap(chat)</a></strong></p> <p>The panel for this one was ShopStyle and Neiman Marcus, who considered the opportunities and challenges arising from social commerce, as well as the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-rise-of-influencers/">growing importance of influencers</a>, particularly within retail.</p> <p>The background to this is the change in consumers’ consumption of media and the importance of the mobile channel. 30% of all time online is spent on social and 60% of that is on mobile.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5033/snapchat_logo.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="243"></p> <p>As is often not the case, influencer activity should be approached in the same manner as any other communications campaign. It is not safe to assume that a single endorsement – ‘one and done’ – will do the trick. An effective frequency of ‘seven’, was mentioned as appropriate to the fashion retail sector. As with other channels, planning should be considered over an extended activity period, not as a series of one-offs. </p> <p>In addition, activity should not undermine influencers connections with their followers, and these retail influencers can be initially incentivised through special deals to offer to their followers. </p> <p>An interesting analogy compared the purchasing process for expensive items, such as for a Chanel bag, to the dating process; where buyers return to the store to view and interact with the product over time. In instances like these, iterative influencer messages can be effective in moving an individual closer to purchase.</p> <p>Strategies need to be different across separate social channels. Facebook is all about advertising, whilst Instagram benefits from a more organic approach. Snapchat is the new kid on the block and the hardest to measure. </p> <p>Above all, brands need to work out when to act as themselves, or through influencers in the social space. What are the key KPIs, how to measure these and how to ensure valuable content lives effectively beyond social channels? </p> <p><strong><a href="http://schedule.sxsw.com/2017/events/PP97038">Social Video and The Future of Consumption</a></strong></p> <p>Representatives from Vox Media, Vice Media and the New York Times joined this panel to discuss how social media is impacting video journalism. This session made very clear that Facebook is now the platform for video consumption. </p> <p>The NYT identified Facebook as ‘the stage’, and the essential channel for engagement and getting time with its audience. A major focus for NYT is around <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67808-10-pioneering-examples-of-brands-using-facebook-live/">Facebook Live</a>, which is being used to provide real-time coverage of news events. They are even looking at using this channel to create crowd-sourced investigations, a kind of mass citizen journalism.</p> <p>The upside of the live video phenomenon is that brands have an opportunity to powerfully engage with a massive audience, using current, exciting and rapidly changing content. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnytimes%2Fvideos%2F10151119750979999%2F&amp;show_text=1&amp;width=560" width="560" height="476"></iframe></p> <p>The downside of live unedited content, is a concern around quality and the loss of editorial perspective. As a result, insightful user comments can be important to create context; but recognising this may not always be the case, Vice has indicated that all user comments are monitored in real-time.</p> <p>More controversially, the <a href="https://tytnetwork.com">The Young Turks</a> news channel is allowing users to pay to have their comments listed. Although the rise in importance of user comments can be seen as a democratic trend, allowing a financial bias on inputs would seem rather less altruistic. </p> <p>Another concern is that a publisher brand cannot easily prevent incorrect stories or unsuitable content being viewed. They can provide a retraction or an alternative perspective later on; but this may be seen by many fewer people. A good example of this would be the <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2016/06/10/technology/hillary-clinton-google-search-results/">SourceFed Hilary Clinton conspiracy theory</a>. </p> <p>For me, this progression towards an ‘always-on’ society is worryingly redolent of Dave Eggers' book, and now film, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCOXARv6J9k">The Circle.</a></p> <p>In any event, the benchmark for how quality video is defined is changing rapidly as we transition from a ‘TV-centric’ to ‘mobile video-centric’ world. In the digital space, where everyone with a phone is a director, quality is now less about production values and more about the story, speed and authenticity. </p> <p>Separate approaches to video content are needed across different channels. For example on Facebook a ‘raw’ approach is more appropriate and authentic. <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67977-four-examples-of-brands-using-an-episodic-content-marketing-strategy/">Episodic content</a> on Snapchat is popular, with bitesize ‘episodes’ being used to tell a story in a manner entirely fitting to the medium. </p> <p>With live video, there is also a greater ethical onus on brands to decide what they will show and what they will not. A good example of content that could be considered to be on this demarcation line is <a href="http://mashable.com/2016/10/21/snapchat-breaking-news/#i0SLEFuJPsql">Snapchat’s coverage of the conflict in Mosul</a>.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://schedule.sxsw.com/2017/events/PP65066">Content Distribution Platforms – Friends or Foes?</a></strong></p> <p>The panel for this session included The Economist, Conde Nast International, The Young Turks and ABC News. They looked at how<em> </em>publishers are becoming more reliant than ever on content distribution platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat to reach new audiences. </p> <p>A good starting point for this session was mention of Emily Bell’s 2016 article <a href="http://www.cjr.org/analysis/facebook_and_media.php">Facebook Is Eating The World</a>.</p> <p>Facebook is the key platform under consideration here, as it increasingly becomes the place where online content is consumed. It’s importance and control over brand content has increased with the rise of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67544-facebook-to-open-up-instant-articles-what-publishers-need-to-know/">Instant Articles</a>, as opposed to publisher feeds, keeping traffic within the Facebook ecosystem. As an aside, Snapchat was seen to be on the rise but not currently a viable global option. </p> <p>With this is in mind, the panel considered that Facebook was both a friend and a foe. It was seen to be a friend in terms of providing a broad distribution platform and a foe with regards to its control over advertising revenues. </p> <p>According to Steve Oh of The Young Turks, the key to content success with Facebook is threefold:</p> <ul> <li>Creating regular, relevant content</li> <li>Swift use of new product features released</li> <li>Focus on building an audience </li> </ul> <p>The Economist’s approach is to focus on bite size content that lures customers towards subscription, with news topics including ‘on this day’ and ‘famous quotes’. A specific approach is with ‘Vimages’, using Facebook <a href="http://www.niemanlab.org/2016/09/with-vimages-the-economist-is-using-facebook-to-make-low-budget-video-versions-of-its-stories/">to re-package magazine stories into video form</a>.</p> <p>One of the questions in the session, was how to keep up with the rapid changes at Facebook and the best ways to share content. There was no clear answer, but suggestions included looking for Newsroom tips, and Google Alerts pertaining to Facebook algorithms. </p> <p><a href="http://schedule.sxsw.com/2017/events/PP61899"><strong>Art + Science: Videos That Inform, Inspire &amp; Scale</strong></a></p> <p>Finally, PopSugar's David Grant discussed what brand marketers need to know about creating video that engages their target audience at scale while delivering on brand KPIs. The session sought to explain the success of PopSugar in targeting millennial women.</p> <p>The starting point for the brand's success is to understand, as does Snapchat, the increasing cultural relevance of the camera (<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/08/technology/snap-makes-a-bet-on-the-cultural-supremacy-of-the-camera.html?_r=0">as identified in this NYT article</a>) and that humans naturally gravitate towards content that is made up of <a href="http://www.kvibe.com/2015/03/17/why-we-as-humans-gravitate-towards-video/">sight, sound and motion.</a></p> <p>PopSugar creates videos that inform, and are created from a combined perspective drawn from its brand, brand partners and their data. PopSugar has created its own tool, <a href="http://www.adweek.com/digital/how-popsugars-new-tool-will-help-you-stay-ahead-social-media-trends-174640/">Trend Rank</a>, to help it identify areas of content focus, supply ‘velocity data predicting’ and find trends ahead of time.</p> <p>Grant observed that, with video, companies typically have only one second to make an impact, so selected content has only that time to have an effect. </p> <p>Some examples of PopSugar's recent successful native content campaigns are: </p> <ul> <li>Doubletree by Hilton: ‘Find Your Happy’ campaign. Building on the fact that Hilton always leaves a cookie for its guests, PopSugar a campaign focusing on wider acts <a href="https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Random-Acts-Kindness-You-Can-Do-Every-Day-40742607">of kindness and generosity</a>.</li> <li>Garner Shampoo: ‘Photo Ready Mums’. Based on the insight that mums often take pictures of the family, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzaKYqPYKyo">but regret that they are not in the pictures themselves;</a> this campaign shows how mums can be in the photos, and look great, with the help of Garner. </li> </ul> <p><strong>Joe Biden</strong></p> <p>And finally, some lessons from the keynote speech of SXSW 2017 (and a totally inspiring moment) from Joe Biden, former Vice-President of The United States. </p> <p>Perhaps more recently famous for his (unwitting) appearance in <a href="http://www.boredpanda.com/funny-barack-obama-joe-biden-tweets/">a sequence of memes with Barack Obama</a>, Joe Biden appeared on stage in Austin to raise awareness and seek support for his <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/09/biden-outlines-steps-to-pursue-post-obama-cancer-moonshot.html">cancer Moon-shot agenda</a>.</p> <p>He discussed the progress made during Obama's presidency by the call for innovative solutions to tackle the barriers that prevent faster gains in ending cancer; and described how he plans to remain in the fight. </p> <p>This talk has a wider relevance for business because, as Joe Biden put it, organisations involved in the cancer treatment process had become ‘siloed by design’ and their ability to face the growing threat of this disease was limited by this lack of co-operation.</p> <p>One of these silo-related issues was the low number of patients involved in clinical trials (only 4/100) as there was no system for companies to match the correct trial drugs to the correct patients and vice versa. In addition a database of patient learnings was not being effectively shared between hospitals.</p> <p>Biden’s efforts to break down the barriers in the cancer treatment process are a lesson to organisations who may have similar silo problems. </p> <p>Organisations in this process have started to collaborate and other bodies have become involved in the fight. NASA is adding information regarding the impact of radiation on astronauts, and Amazon has provided free cloud data storage for the project.  </p> <p>There is also focus on clear KPIs and where the biggest return on investment can be derived. As Biden said, of any process "where everything is treated as equally important, then nothing is considered important."</p> <p>The key to the project’s increasing success (apart from the obvious profile of the promoter) is the open sharing of information, offering clear encouragement and, of course, giving hope.</p> <p>Inspiring stuff and a lesson to all businesses interested in breaking down silos and identifying priorities.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4434 2017-03-10T16:00:00+00:00 2017-03-10T16:00:00+00:00 Social Quarterly: Q1 2017 <p>Social media evolves rapidly, and the <strong>Social Quarterly</strong> provides an overview of the latest trends in the industry. It contains information which can be translated into your own documents, allowing you to prepare a pitch or use internally at a moment's notice.</p> <p>The Social Quarterly examines the current social media landscape, trends and updates on various social platforms and considers what will happen next. Updated four times per year, it will help to quickly surface statistics and trends you can use and react to immediately.</p> <p>This year's <strong>first edition of the Social Quarterly </strong>looks at Instagram's new stickers and carousal features, Pinterest's new visual discovery tool, the introduction of Snapchat-like features to Facebook-owned platforms, how Twitter is combatting online abuse as well as social engagement stats on the Super Bowl. Plenty to whet your appetite!</p> <p>Bringing to life data from the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-statistics">Internet Statistics Compendium</a> and the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/">Econsultancy blog</a>, the Social Quarterly is the best of social in an easy-to-digest format.</p> <p>The Social Quarterly will allow you to:</p> <ul> <li>Stay up to date with regular developments across multiple social media platforms.</li> <li>Present and pitch at short notice with clear and effective data.</li> <li>Pinpoint areas in which you want to find out more and use the linked Econsultancy resources and blog posts to do this.</li> <li>Spot potential ways your company could be using social media but is not currently.</li> </ul> tag:www.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:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68849 2017-03-01T09:34:00+00:00 2017-03-01T09:34:00+00:00 Three reasons to appreciate VisitScotland’s tourism website Nikki Gilliland <p>There’s a lot to appreciate about its tourism website, specifically. Here are just three things to whet your appetite. </p> <h3>Video storytelling</h3> <p>Video is at the heart of VisitScotland’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/content-strategy-editorial-planning-content-calendars-training/">content strategy</a> - you only have to visit the site to realise that. The current ‘Winter Cities’ video is a fine example, being prominently promoted on the homepage with a site-wide display. However, it’s the brand’s longer and more in-depth videos that I think are far more impressive.</p> <p>A video telling the story of a father and son who dive off the coast of Skye to catch scallops – ‘Ben’s Story’ is particularly well-done. It makes for a captivating insight into what it’s like to actually live and work in this clearly stunning part of Scotland.</p> <p>While the beauty of the landscape is well captured, it is the personal storytelling angle that elevates the video to another level. Ben’s genuine tone and heartfelt message is what truly engages the viewer.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EHqQgKLuCLM?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>While other videos in the ‘story’ series are also worth watching, VisitScotland’s use of 360 video stands out, particularly due to how its combines both personal elements and visually arresting views.</p> <p>Essentially, each video allows the viewer to be taken on a journey with the group involved, providing them with a real insight into what it’s actually like to walk up Arthur’s Seat or climb Ben Nevis.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UouboTUbL1Q?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>Interactive user experience</h3> <p>The main VisitScotland website uses interactive maps to bring the country to life, in turn creating a fluid and enjoyable user experience. By breaking down Scotland’s various regions in such a visual and intuitive way, it means users are more likely to browse around for longer.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4229/Map_of_Scotland.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="351"></p> <p>Instead of reading in-depth descriptions, uses can simply click on a part of the map to discover snapshots and general highlights, such as Inverness being known for its ancestry and battlefields.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4230/Inverness.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="733"></p> <p>This type of design also facilitates planning, with users then naturally inclined to delve deeper into the locations to discover specifics like accommodation and activities.</p> <p>This also means it’s pretty easy to get lost on the site – in a good way that is. You could be looking at the general map of Peebles, for example, before getting distracted by a personal blog about salmon fishing in the area. By creating and customising in-depth content for each location, VisitScotland is able to hone in on the individual’s personal interests and travel preferences. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4231/Peebles.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="505"></p> <h3>Community involvement</h3> <p>Instead of simply promoting the location itself, VisitScotland also encourages user-generated content with its <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68720-six-successful-examples-of-online-brand-communities/" target="_blank">dedicated online community</a>. Described as a place to ‘share experiences, pick up tips, ask questions and get insider advice’ – it serves as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65722-18-highly-effective-examples-of-social-proof-in-ecommerce/">social proof</a> for potential visitors, as well as helping to enhance general brand perception.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4232/Community.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="352"></p> <p>Online reviews are one of the most trusted sources of information for consumers, with many ranking first-hand experiences and opinions above any type of brand promotion.</p> <p>There are endless threads on the VisitScotland community, ranging from discussions about planning a cycle tour to frivolous subjects such as tips for Harry Potter fans. This type of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67547-10-excellent-examples-of-user-generated-content-in-marketing-campaigns/" target="_blank">user-generated content</a> is invaluable for travel brands, helping to continue the cycle of interest and engagement from potential and previous visitors. </p> <p>Finally, it also encourages sharing on social media, with the #ScotSpirit hashtag generating support from other tourism brands as well as content from everyday users.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Beautiful views over the Hoy Hills in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Orkney?src=hash">#Orkney</a> today thanks to a little bit of white stuff <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ScotSpirit?src=hash">#ScotSpirit</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/uksnow?src=hash">#uksnow</a> <a href="https://t.co/FcXr8x7CBH">pic.twitter.com/FcXr8x7CBH</a></p> — orkney.com (@orkneycom) <a href="https://twitter.com/orkneycom/status/830043980133986304">February 10, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67952-five-tourism-websites-guaranteed-to-give-you-wanderlust/" target="_blank">Five tourism websites guaranteed to give you wanderlust</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68604-why-ugc-is-the-future-of-social-media-in-travel-and-tourism-marketing/" target="_blank">Why UGC is the future of social media in travel and tourism marketing</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66156-12-insanely-beautiful-travel-and-leisure-websites/" target="_blank">12 insanely beautiful travel and leisure websites</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68755 2017-02-24T12:02:09+00:00 2017-02-24T12:02:09+00:00 How charities capitalise on sponsored abstinence events Nikki Gilliland <p>While it’s certainly a positive for charities – does the trend have a shelf life? What’s more, how do charities ensure their message is delivered in the face of increasing competition?</p> <p>Here’s a look at why it’s been such an effective marketing tool so far, and a bit of insight into how it might evolve in future.  </p> <h3>What’s the appeal?</h3> <h4>Anyone can get involved</h4> <p>Sponsored abstinence events have mass appeal mainly because anyone and everyone can get involved without much effort required. Of course, giving up something <em>is</em> an effort, but the fact that it’s a passive activity – far removed from something like a skydive – means that people are more likely to sign up.</p> <h4>Builds on social media boasting</h4> <p>It’s been suggested that a lot of people participate in these events simply for the enjoyment of posting about it on social media.</p> <p>While the charitable humble brag is a well-known phenomenon, this is a particularly cynical view. But with social media reinforcement being <a href="https://www.ama.org/publications/MarketingNews/Pages/feeding-the-addiction.aspx" target="_blank">linked to a rise in dopamine levels</a> - this addictive cycle is still likely to be a contributing factor.</p> <h4>Personal challenge</h4> <p>Alongside validation from peers, the opportunity to undertake a personal challenge is also part of the abstinence appeal. In fact, many people now participate in events like Dry January even without a fundraising element, proving that charities often (ironically) capitalise on personal interest and gain.</p> <h4>Time limit</h4> <p>While Movember is not an abstinence event, it still uses the typical tactic of a one-month time frame. This can be highly effective, as people are much more likely to agree to a certain behaviour for a limited time period rather than an open-ended amount. </p> <p>Encouragingly, it’s also been suggested that people who give up something for 28 days or more are likely to stop in the long term.</p> <h3>Awareness vs. Fundraising</h3> <p>This year’s Dry January was marred by suggestions that giving up alcohol for a month could <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/12098843/Dry-January-campaign-could-do-more-harm-than-good-claims-expert.html" target="_blank">do more harm than good</a>. Specifically, it was suggested that abstinence events can lead to dangerous bingeing at the end of the month as people ‘celebrate’ its culmination.</p> <p>Meanwhile, despite the increase in popularity, it appears the charitable element (and core message) could be getting lost amid the social media noise. With three charities running alcohol abstinence events, competing for public attention has become a big challenge - especially considering the somewhat conflicting messages of each.</p> <p>Cancer Research runs a typically light-hearted campaign, focusing on the act of fundraising rather than the core message behind it. Clearly a successful tactic, it has raised an impressive £17m since launching in 2013.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3496/Dryathlete.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="600"></p> <p>In contrast, Alcohol Concern hammers home the importance of changing the core behaviour, with raising money an almost secondary factor. This has proved a problem, which has subsequently led to the charity changing its marketing approach.</p> <p>Aiming to dispel the notion that it is being preachy or condescending, it is now placing greater focus on fundraising. In 2016, it announced that it would be partnering with Virgin Money Giving to allow participants to raise money for both Alcohol Concern and a separate charity. With one in six people reportedly taking part in the event regardless of a charity link, this aimed to provide further incentive and encourage sign ups to Alcohol Concern specifically.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">No Friday night beers this week, it's <a href="https://twitter.com/dryjanuary">@dryjanuary</a>, raising money for <a href="https://twitter.com/AlcoholConcern">@AlcoholConcern</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/breastcancernow">@breastcancernow</a> <a href="https://t.co/srXiHp6ZwG">https://t.co/srXiHp6ZwG</a></p> — Paul Davis (@Saddlerpaul) <a href="https://twitter.com/Saddlerpaul/status/817507977133494272">January 6, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Ultimately then, the success of these events appears to be more related to raising awareness - be it either of the charity itself, or to a lesser extent, a health-related issue such as smoking – rather than raising money. </p> <p>In turn, perhaps whether or not people <em>do</em> raise money in the process relies on the strength (and persuasive techniques) of marketing campaigns.</p> <p>Here are a few further examples and reasons why they’re effective.</p> <h3>Effective marketing campaigns </h3> <h4>British Heart Foundation's Dechox</h4> <p>BHF raised nearly £800,000 during its first-ever ‘de-chox’ – an event that encourages giving up chocolate for March. This year, it is hoping to raise even more by focusing on the workplace.</p> <p>Building on ‘cake culture’ and the statistic that <a href="https://www.fenews.co.uk/sector-news/new-statistics-reveal-over-two-fifths-of-people-working-in-education-have-ditched-the-diet-after-eating-chocolate-on-the-job-13122" target="_blank">55% of people will eat chocolate at work</a> if it is within eyesight, the charity uses relatable messaging to encourage participation, as well as the notion that ‘we’re all in it together’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3495/Dechox_2.JPG" alt="" width="640" height="642"></p> <h4>Veganuary</h4> <p>Unlike health-related charities, Veganuary capitalises on multiple incentives to promote its meat and dairy-free month. While it champions animal welfare, it likely appeals to people who are concerned about environmental issues – plus those who are drawn into celebrity trends related to food and wellness.</p> <p>Social media plays a huge part of Veganuary’s marketing, with the charity capitalising on food inspiration to engage users. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3490/Veganuary.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="485"></p> <h4>Febfast</h4> <p>Unlike charities that promote health-related causes, e.g. smoking or drinking, Febfast uses the abstinence angle purely as a marketing tool.</p> <p>It also opens up the notion to encourage participants to give up anything they like. Whether it’s fast food or being late – its inclusive nature means there’s no reason <em>not</em> to get involved.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3491/Febfast.JPG" alt="" width="590" height="678"></p> <p>Its phrasing is also quite original, urging people to ‘hit pause’ on something rather than give it up. Deliberately avoiding any danger of sounding preachy or overly-serious, it focuses on the positive results, in both the personal and charitable sense.</p> <p><strong><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66592-why-charities-need-true-digital-transformation/"><em>Why charities need true digital transformation</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67451-the-smartest-experiential-charity-marketing-campaign-you-ll-see-this-year/"><em>The smartest experiential &amp; charity marketing campaign you'll see this year</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68781-five-ways-charities-can-encourage-more-online-donations/"><em>Five ways charities can encourage more online donations</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68815 2017-02-20T10:52:00+00:00 2017-02-20T10:52:00+00:00 Becoming an influencer: Notes from a fledgling travel blogger Nikki Gilliland <p>I recently caught up with Marion (while she was on a jealousy-inducing trip to Guatemala) to find out how she has generated such a large following, how she works with brands, and her thoughts on travel influencers in general.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3939/Marion_Payet.JPG" alt="" width="720" height="534"></p> <p>Here’s what she said.</p> <h4> <em>Econsultancy:</em> Could you start by explaining a bit about your blog and how you got into the industry?</h4> <p><em>Marion Payen:</em> I initially started my blog because of an interest in creating something more authentic than I was seeing elsewhere. </p> <p>I recognised that I could offer more than standard recommendations from huge companies like Lonely Planet. I mean, a brand like that might tell me to go to a specific market – but how will I know if it’ll provide me with anything unique or truly interesting? I’m more inclined to trust someone with a personal point of view rather than a book that’s been written for the masses. </p> <p>So, I aimed to build something based on the notion that if you like my lifestyle and the way that I am travelling, then you would like the recommendations I make too.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>Did you start your blog with any knowledge of influencer marketing? </h4> <p><em>MP: </em>In terms of my own background, I started in the hospitality and travel industry in Florida, then I moved to London where I worked in retail – specifically ecommerce and digital marketing. </p> <p>This is how I knew I could offer something different from other travel websites, because I already knew many tricks of the trade. </p> <p>I had worked with influencers myself through affiliate channels, and had general knowledge of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/seo-best-practice-guide/">SEO</a>, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/paid-search-marketing-ppc-best-practice-guide/">PPC</a>, coding, etc. – so I knew I could use this to my advantage, especially compared to other bloggers I was seeing at the time.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>What are the main strategies you have used to build your audience?</h4> <p><em>MP:</em> I obviously have the main website, but as I didn’t originally have much money to invest, I knew that in order to drive traffic to it I needed to use another organic channel like social media. </p> <p>So, I started <a href="https://www.instagram.com/hibiscusandnomada/">with Instagram</a>, spending days and days just being really active on it, engaging with the community and making friends with mutual interests. </p> <p>Over time my presence grew. From last June to now I have managed to reach 29,000 followers, and that’s just organically, from being super active and building my own community.</p> <p>Eventually, this audience has also found its way back to my website, so now we’re at about 1,500 visits per month.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3941/HN_insta.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="420"></p> <h4> <em>E:</em> At what point did you start getting interest from brands?</h4> <p><em>MP:</em> Quite recently. Before that, it was purely me reaching out to brands through email and social media, saying this is what I do if you are interested. </p> <p>Then, about a month ago, it seemed to flip – I started to get emails every day from brands and websites saying that they had found me. As soon as I reached about 25,000 followers on Instagram, it started to happen, and then I also got quite a bit of press coverage from online and print magazines. Combined, this seemed to really ignite interest.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Do you only work with a certain type of brand, and how do you decide who to work with?</h4> <p><em>MP:</em> Absolutely, since the very beginning I’ve made a point of being picky. I’ve seen a lot of other bloggers on Instagram being quite blatant, posting photos of a watch with a mountain in the background.</p> <p>I would never want to get paid to promote a brand that I don’t believe in, so I only work those that I think are a really good fit for me.</p> <p>For example, I am now working with a brand that offers travel insurance, because I have used it myself and I know that my audience will find it useful. If I am holding an expensive watch – why would a backpacker be interested in that? I’m not scared of saying no or explaining that it won’t be a good fit, either.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What would you say is the best way for a brand to approach an influencer?</h4> <p><em>MP:</em> A brand can usually get my attention if it is a personalised message, so not just mentioning that they have seen my blog, but pointing out a specific article or photo that they liked. </p> <p>I get countless emails saying that someone wants to work with me, so I really need to feel that there is some kind of personal connection. I can also tell if it is an email they have sent to hundreds of other bloggers – I can read between the lines. </p> <p>Lastly, I have to feel like it’s not just about them, that it’s about both of us, and that all parties will be able benefit from the deal.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> How do you see influencer marketing evolving? Do you think it will reach saturation point?</h4> <p><em>MP:</em> I do think it will reach saturation point. You can tell this, not just from the amount of influencers, but the type and quality of content that they are promoting. You can usually tell that it’s not authentic, that they are staying in a hotel simply because they are being paid to – it doesn’t align with their identity or approach to travel in any way. </p> <p>This weekend I was in the south of Mexico, in a hostel that paid for my entire experience, and while the hostel is definitely a place I would stay at (and promote), my article will also include detailed information about the day-trip I went on and every single activity I did. It’s always better to promote a story rather than just a straightforward recommendation. </p> <p>I think authentic influencer marketing will evolve in this way, telling the story and entire experience of a place rather than just one aspect.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Finally, what’s the best place you’ve been or experience you’ve had thanks to your blog?</h4> <p><em>MP:</em> The best feedback I’ve had has been from my Iceland trip - I was there for a whole week over New Year. I didn’t even really plan anything, then I slowly realised that it was winter, there would only be four hours of daylight, we’d be freezing. </p> <p>Who goes to Iceland in winter? But we embraced it and ended up taking the most incredible photos. The feedback was amazing, with people commenting that they now want to visit during the winter time rather than summer, and asking questions about how we got there, how we travelled and so on. </p> <p>People don’t even think to go to a place like Iceland before they see photos and then they get obsessed with it. For us, this is so rewarding – it shows that you can truly inspire.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3940/Iceland.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="429"></p> <p><strong><em>For more on this topic, check out the following research from Econsultancy:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-rise-of-influencers/">The Rise of Influencers</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-voice-of-the-influencer/">The Voice of the Influencer</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.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:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68802 2017-02-14T10:41:36+00:00 2017-02-14T10:41:36+00:00 Five content marketing examples from dating sites and apps Nikki Gilliland <p>As online dating services become increasingly popular – with <a href="http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/02/11/15-percent-of-american-adults-have-used-online-dating-sites-or-mobile-dating-apps/" target="_blank">15% of all American adults</a> reportedly having used one – these sites are cleverly tapping into customer demand.</p> <p>While some larger dating sites rely on television or PPC advertising, good old fashioned content marketing remains a great way to attract a clientele.</p> <p>Here’s a look at just a few examples. And to learn more on this topic, check out these Econsultancy resources:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/content-marketing-and-strategy">Content Marketing Training Courses</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-future-of-content-marketing/">The Future of Content Marketing Report</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/implementing-content-strategy-digital-best-practice/">Implementing Content Strategy: Digital Best Practice</a></li> </ul> <h3>OKCupid</h3> <p>OKCupid was one of the first online dating websites to use content to drive its overall strategy.</p> <p>The original incarnation – OKTrends – was run by the company's co-founder, Christian Rudder, who used his mathematical background to set the tone of the blog. </p> <p>Essentially, he turned statistics and user data into fascinating articles, generating huge interest from online readers in general - not just those using its main dating service.</p> <p>Since being acquired by Match.com the blog has changed, however data and insight from the dating community remains at the heart of its content.</p> <p>It also regularly posts larger features, designed to poke fun at the perils of modern dating. One recent example is the amusing ‘Dictionary for the Modern Dater’, found on its Medium blog. Managing to steer clear of the clichés of online dating, it uses relatable humour to engage and entertain readers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3867/OKCupid.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="422"></p> <h3>Match.com</h3> <p>Match.com is another site that uses data to inform its content, largely for its annual ‘Singles in America’ study, which surveys over 5,000 US singletons to create informative and in-depth infographics and blog posts.</p> <p>Last year, the ‘Clooney Effect’ was one of the most successful pieces of content to arise, subsequently being picked up by a number of high profile publishers such as Glamour and Business Insider. </p> <p>Stemming from the statistic that 87% of men would date a woman who made ‘considerably more money’ than them (like Clooney and his highly successful wife, Amal Alamuddin) – it built on themes of positivity and empowerment to generate interest. With a reported 38% increase in traffic around the period the study was published, the results speak for themselves.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3868/Match_survey.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="428"></p> <h3>eHarmony</h3> <p>Unlike the aforementioned examples, eHarmony relies on emotive storytelling rather than statistics.</p> <p>With a helpful and thoughtful tone of voice, it aims to stem the fears and general stigmas that surround online dating, using advice-based articles to drive registration on the main site. </p> <p>While some have labelled its style of content as patronising, one area where eHarmony undeniably succeeds is in user-generated content. The 'success stories' page of its website is littered with positive reinforcement, cleverly breaking down content into various categories to target a wide range of demographics and backgrounds.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3870/eharmony.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="720"></p> <h3>Tinder</h3> <p>In just two short years, Tinder acquired more than 50m users – a feat that can perhaps be put down to its shrewd use of third-party integration. </p> <p>By enabling users to sign up with their Facebook login, it cleverly cuts through the frustrations of traditional dating websites, encouraging a younger audience to download and use the app.</p> <p>Unsurprisingly, Tinder is also one of the best examples of how to use social media to engage users. Not only does it integrate social on its app (now allowing users to cherry-pick the Instagram photos that they would like to show on their profile) it also populates its own social media with interesting, humorous and decidedly tongue-in-cheek content.</p> <p>For example, its Facebook page continuously drives interest. Last year, a Valentine’s Day post generated over 58,000 likes, 9,600 shares, and 2,900 comments – coming out on top in terms of engagement for online dating sites.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ftinder%2Fphotos%2Fa.378789085524216.87768.353659601370498%2F914594031943716%2F%3Ftype%3D3&amp;width=500" width="500" height="589"></iframe></p> <h3>Hinge</h3> <p>Dating app, Hinge, has turned its back on ‘swipe culture’, recently introducing a subscription-based model to help users cultivate meaningful connections. Features of the app, unlike Tinder, are also designed to resonate on a deeper level. For example, users are required to ‘heart’ specific parts of another’s profile such as the book they’re currently reading or their go-to karaoke song.</p> <p>Hinge also builds on its positioning as a ‘relationship app’ rather than a dating app to inform its wider content marketing. </p> <p>A recent email campaign, launched in time for Thanksgiving, asked users what they were thankful for.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3874/Hinge.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="787"></p> <p>Using a seasonal theme alongside a message of gratitude – it was a clever example of how to use content to reinforce brand values and reignite user interest. </p> <p><em><strong>Related articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64270-five-dating-tips-you-can-apply-to-your-email-marketing/" target="_blank">Five dating tips you can apply to your email marketing</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68068-four-ways-brands-are-marketing-through-dating-services/" target="_blank">Four ways brands are marketing through dating services</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67563-how-tinder-has-changed-ecommerce/" target="_blank">How Tinder has changed ecommerce</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68785 2017-02-08T14:44:21+00:00 2017-02-08T14:44:21+00:00 How Adidas Originals uses social media to drive sales Nikki Gilliland <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">What a trend <a href="https://t.co/Vp78zN8nfL">pic.twitter.com/Vp78zN8nfL</a></p> — meredith faust (@mere_faust) <a href="https://twitter.com/mere_faust/status/822921744512065538">January 21, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>The brand has come a long way since the term ‘Adidad’ was coined. Maybe this was something that only occurred in my school, but it was used to denote somebody who typically wore unfashionable sportswear or offensively white trainers. Kids can be so cruel.</p> <p>But what’s made the brand cool again? </p> <p>Interestingly, Adidas Originals now has more followers on Twitter than the main Adidas account, cementing its position as a truly cult lifestyle brand. On the flip side, this also proves that it is definitely doing something right on social.</p> <p>Here are a few ways it has made its mark.</p> <h3>Creating hype</h3> <p>Social media is a natural extension of Adidas’s wider approach to marketing, especially when it comes to creating hype around its high-profile collaborations.</p> <p>Since the brand famously snatched Kanye West from Nike in 2014, it has carefully crafted a series of product launches, cleverly building on the rapper's wider (and fanatical) fan base.</p> <p>Tweeting and posting on Instagram in the run-up to shoe releases, the brand creates massive excitement and interest from followers.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">The V2’s Primeknit upper features SPLY-350 in mirrored text on both feet, engineered as part of the knit. Coming February 11th. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/YEEZYBOOST?src=hash">#YEEZYBOOST</a> <a href="https://t.co/Bb5H09LLwO">pic.twitter.com/Bb5H09LLwO</a></p> — adidas Originals (@adidasoriginals) <a href="https://twitter.com/adidasoriginals/status/828630759548317696">February 6, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, from Pharrell Williams to Stella McCartney, Adidas Originals is also shrewd in terms of how it collaborates with high profile personalities. Unlike other brands, who might merely use celebrities to front campaigns, Adidas put a huge focus on the personal and direct involvement of influencers in the actual designing process.</p> <p>In doing so, it ensures its collaborations feel entirely authentic rather than purely sales-driven.</p> <p>Again, this is reflected in how it posts on social, continuously reinforcing the core topic of originality and creative and artistic expression.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Strikingly similar. Completely unique. Nothing is original except your true self. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SUPERSTAR?src=hash">#SUPERSTAR</a> <a href="https://t.co/5TyKfEbN4H">pic.twitter.com/5TyKfEbN4H</a></p> — adidas Originals (@adidasoriginals) <a href="https://twitter.com/adidasoriginals/status/827435119375941632">February 3, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Giving control to consumers</h3> <p>Adidas’s resurgence truly began with the relaunch of its iconic Stan Smith shoe. Not only did this draw on feelings of nostalgia, but by emphasising its heritage, it also helped to reinforce the brand’s influence on streetwear and subcultures such as Brit pop and hip-hop.</p> <p>The social media campaign surrounding its release cleverly made consumers feel part of the story.</p> <p>The ‘Stan Yourself’ initiative involved asking users to tweet a photo of themselves for the chance to win a personalised pair of shoes. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Stan yourself! Send us a selfie using <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/stansmith?src=hash">#stansmith</a> - the best will get their own personalised Stan Smith tongue logo! <a href="http://t.co/csFEvnVb6k">pic.twitter.com/csFEvnVb6k</a></p> — adidas UK (@adidasUK) <a href="https://twitter.com/adidasUK/status/422704045229219840">January 13, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p>This customer focus has been integral to the success of Adidas Originals in recent years, with the brand aiming to create conversation about youth and street culture rather than simply promoting its products.</p> <p>One example of this is the brand’s recent series of live events called TLKS. Featuring high profile influencers within fashion and music, each one was <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68075-who-will-win-the-live-streaming-battle-facebook-live-or-periscope/" target="_blank">streamed live on Facebook</a>, while giving fans a unique opportunity to relate to Adidas on an experiential level.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FadidasOriginalsUK%2Fvideos%2F1838108906404925%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>Organic content</h3> <p>Lastly, we can see how social media is not simply a one-way marketing tool for Adidas Originals, but also a way for fans and consumers to show their appreciation. </p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67547-10-excellent-examples-of-user-generated-content-in-marketing-campaigns/" target="_blank">User-generated content</a> is particularly widespread on Instagram, with fans posting their love for the brand as well as excitement about product launches and exclusive events.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3713/Adidas_Insta.JPG" alt="" width="670" height="656"></p> <p>Likewise, the Adidas Originals Instagram feed (also with more followers than the main account) typically makes use of imagery from musicians, fashion designers and models to reinforce its tagline of ‘We Are Originals’ – including the consumer in the collective ‘we’.</p> <p>Using influence and artistic expression, Adidas Originals has managed to make its brand relevant again.</p> <p>By delivering its message on social media in a natural and authentic way, it has truly connected with a new and highly engaged young audience.</p> tag:www.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>