facebook and beyond:lessons for brand engagementwith social customers
share this whitepapercontents        1	        executive summary        2	        Facebook and brand communities - what ar...
share this whitepaperexecutive summary   As recently as two or three years ago, the idea that brands      •	 The two chann...
share this whitepaperFacebook and brandcommunities - whatare they good for?   One of the first questions we see from brand...
share this whitepaper •	 Finally, as we have seen through social media monitoring                                         ...
share this whitepapersuccess/failure                                                       Facebook page’s effectiveness  ...
share this whitepaperoutbound marketing messages between those who think                            Figure 4: Additional n...
share this whitepaperFigure 5: Additional needs from Facebook by communitysuccess level.As we can see from Figure 5, brand...
share this whitepaperorganizationalownership   If we see a coming convergence between the way people             answer pr...
share this whitepapercustomer support and experience                  marketing and comms                       a         ...
share this whitepaperconclusion   There are significant synergies between Facebook and brand                   The dividen...
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Facebook and Beyond - Lessons for Brand Engagement with Social Customers

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Based on a 2011 social customer survey of our clients, Lithium presents the current state of customer communities and the social web, explores life beyond Likes and Tweets, and reveals what’s next for social CRM and social strategies in 2011. Dive into what brands expect from their investments in social networking sites, how and when they integrate community with social media, how they measure success, and what they hope for from social media in the future. Learn how brands are using both customer communities and their Facebook presence together to build trust, peer-to-peer engagement, pre- and post-sales support, to drive awareness, and to disseminate marketing messages.

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Facebook and Beyond - Lessons for Brand Engagement with Social Customers

  1. 1. facebook and beyond:lessons for brand engagementwith social customers
  2. 2. share this whitepapercontents 1 executive summary 2 Facebook and brand communities - what are they good for? 4 success/failure and future needs 5 next generation social support 7 organizational ownership 9 conclusion subscribe to request a demo SocialMatterswe help companies unlock the passion of their customers.The Lithium Social Customer Suite allows brands to build vibrant customer communities that: reduce service costs with grow brand advocay with drive sales with innovate faster with social support social marketing social commerce social innovationlithium.com | © 2012 Lithium Technologies, Inc. All Rights Reserved 2
  3. 3. share this whitepaperexecutive summary As recently as two or three years ago, the idea that brands • The two channels were seen as roughly equal in their would provide a social channel for their customers to ability to create brand awareness. Clients who have engage with them was controversial, even radical. Now it’s initiated brand communities see awareness benefits as particularly salient in the first year, suggesting that convention. Facebook is a big reason for this change. As “newness” of an engagement channel is in itself a big of this writing, 56 percent of Fortune 500 companies host driver of awareness. Facebook pages, and that number is growing daily. • The ability for customers to submit and discuss ideas Since social customer programs were controversial just for product or service improvement is the biggest two years ago, many of those companies are new to the downstream benefit of social customer engagement for experience of engaging with social customers and are looking clients who have developed brand communities. Clients who consider their Facebook efforts less successful to answer the question, “What do we do next?” are particularly interested in bringing this capability to Facebook in a more structured fashion. Brands that have engaged with social customers in other channels can help us answer this question. Lithium’s After Peak Facebook clients have considerable experience with social customer As Facebook itself approaches full penetration of its core engagement through brand communities and Facebook markets and its members start to regularize their behavior, pages. Lithium conducted a survey of its clients to better historic growth rates for participation in corporate Facebook understand how they see the role of Facebook (and other pages will slow. Call it “peak Facebook.” Recent surveys social media outlets) in their overall engagement strategy. have also shown that existing consumers’ engagement with The results provide an interesting glimpse into the different corporate Facebook pages may be tenuous and fading. For roles played by different social media channels, and example, 81% of those who have become fans of a brand potentially into how they will converge in the future. have abandoned at least one such relationship because of Some highlights include: “irrelevant, voluminous, or boring” marketing messages. • On the whole, respondents rated their communities as This suggests that marketers who are committed to using more successful than Facebook at activities that require trust: peer-to-peer engagement and providing pre-and- Facebook to foster relationships with social customers will post sales purchase support; Facebook was seen as need to invent or adopt sophisticated long-term strategies for more successful in disseminating marketing messages. customer engagement. Fortunately, many of the techniques learned in brand communities can carry over into Facebook. 1
  4. 4. share this whitepaperFacebook and brandcommunities - whatare they good for? One of the first questions we see from brands developing a Figure 1 compares the brand community’s perceived social customer strategy is, “Do I need both a brand community effectiveness with the Facebook page’s perceived and Facebook, and if so, what role does each one play?” effectiveness in 10 different areas. The answer to this question always depends on The first thing to note is that the one area where Facebook circumstances and business requirements, but given that our shines is in outbound messaging. Because Facebook offers audience has experience with both venues, we have a very outstanding reach and many brands use it as a publishing good sense of the role that each one plays. platform for periodic updates, its prowess as a vehicle for improves our search results disseminating marketing messages is not surprising. Social media marketing vendor Vitrue has computed that a fan base of 1 million translates into $3.6 million in equivalent creates awareness of our brand, products, or services media per year, and brands such as Coca-Cola already see more unique visitors to their Facebook page than they do allows us to communicate our marketing message effectively to customers to their company web site. In these situations, Facebook represents a means of message dissemination that creates beneficial customer-to-customer engagement compares favorably to advertising on a cost-per-impression basis.Interestingly, however, Facebook was not cited as empowers customers to help one another with pre-sales purchase questions significantly more effective than a brand community in creating brand awareness, or creating goodwill for the brand empowers customers to help one another with post-sales support questions in social channels. Given the Facebook platform’s reach and viral features, one might have expected higher scores for gives us metrics we need to assess program goals Facebook’s ability to increase brand awareness, but there are several reasons why the scores may be lower than expected: gives us a good sense of how our customers are feeling • Brand awareness is still largely campaign driven, and a Facebook page alone does not constitute a campaign. helps us identify particularly valuable customers • Even when campaigns drive users to Facebook pages and increase the brand’s fan base, there is no guarantee creates goodwill for our brand in social channels that these people were new to the brand. Most users who associate with a brand page probably have a prior affinity for that brand. community effectiveness facebook effectiveness Figure 1: Overall effectiveness of Facebook and brand community. 2
  5. 5. share this whitepaper • Finally, as we have seen through social media monitoring Figure 2: Anticipated benefits vs realized benefits studies, “buzz” around brands spikes during successful campaigns, but typically returns to a steady state after anticipated → → → realized campaigns end.One further explanation may be that our community clientsreport that brand awareness benefits peak during the firstyear, even as other benefits increase over time. If this holds 13.5% 27%true across other social channels, it is possible that the factof starting a new program in and of itself is responsible forincreased awareness — probably because that program pre-sales consultationinvolves an introductory campaign. When the shock of thenew wears off, what is left? anticipated → → → realizedAs it turns out, brand communities annuitize exceptionallywell. Peer-to-peer engagement and an environment whereusers answer one another’s questions emerge as a corps ofdevoted users forms and mobilizes. Indeed, scores rise in 46% 78%these areas as communities move into their second and thirdyears, suggesting that communities hold their users’ interestover the long haul. customer feedback/ideationFigure 2: Anticipated benefits versus realized benefits.Peer-to-peer buying advice and customer ideation were two Both of these “downstream” benefits are most likely to emergebenefits exceeding client expectations. as byproducts of trust among members of a community. Brands tend to be more willing to harvest and discuss ideas forThe survey tells us that benefits clients anticipated when service improvement when they trust that their customers areembarking upon a social customer program are not always ready for a sustained dialog rather than drive-by complaints.the same benefits that emerge over time. This is particularly And people are more willing to trust product recommendationstrue in two areas: idea development, and peer-to-peer pre- from their peers when those peers have proven themselves tosales consulting. Customer feedback/ideation was listed be reliably knowledgeable over time.as an original purpose of a community 46% of the time, buta realized benefit 78% of the time. Peer-to-peer pre-salesconsulting was an original purpose 13.5% of the time but arealized benefit 27% of the time. 3
  6. 6. share this whitepapersuccess/failure Facebook page’s effectiveness community’s effectivenessand future needs improves our search results creates awareness of our brand, products, or services allows us to communicate our marketing message effectively to customers To see these benefits, brands must cultivate relationships creates beneficial customer-to-customer engagement with their social customers over the long term. While the constraints and affordances of the Facebook platform and empowers customers to help one another with pre-sales purchase questions brand communities differ, there is no reason why the aspects that make brand communities deliver annuitized benefits empowers customers to help one another with post-sales support questions cannot exist in Facebook. Whether they will emerge depends largely upon the choices that brands make about how to gives us metrics we need to assess program goals engage with their customers on Facebook. And those choices will likely depend on whether brands consider what they are gives us a good sense of how our customers are feeling doing on Facebook successful or not. As we can see from Figure 3, among respondents who helps us identify particularly valuable customers consider their Facebook efforts successful or very successful, three key benefits stand out: the creation of brand awareness, creates goodwill for our brand in social channels the ability to communicate marketing messages effectively, and the fostering of goodwill in social channels. In each of the more successful more successful less successful less successful three cases, there is a wide gap in perceived efficacy between respondents who are happy with their Facebook efforts and those who are not. On the other hand, even those who are beneficial interactions of any kind among customers. At this happy with their Facebook program do not consider it to be point in its evolution, Facebook seems to succeed or fail very useful in helping users answer one another’s questions for brands based on reach and the perceived goodwill that (either pre- or post-sales) or in helping them identify goes along with that, rather than on elements that are particularly valuable customers. specifically social. Figure 3: Facebook and brand community effectiveness As we can also see from Figure 3, respondents who see in 10 areas, cross-tabulated by more successful and less their community as successful or very successful give the successful overall perceptions of success community exceptionally high marks for creating beneficial peer-to-peer engagement, for helping customers with Strikingly, only about 12% of respondents who consider their questions, and for providing insight into customers’ attitudes. Facebook forays successful believe that it helps users answer Interestingly, there is basically no difference in clients’ one another’s questions. Fewer than half thought it created assessment of a community’s utility for communicating 4
  7. 7. share this whitepaperoutbound marketing messages between those who think Figure 4: Additional needs from Facebook by perceivedit is a roaring success and those who think it is moderately success level with Facebook.successful. On the other hand, there is a large perceived We can see that when Facebook isn’t seen as successful forgap in the awareness value of a community between brands, its best benefits are still as an outbound marketingthose who feel it is very successful and those who feel it vehicle — just not a particularly successful one. In that case,less so. Perhaps one reason for this discrepancy is that what do brands want Facebook to do for customers that it’smembers themselves are the marketing channel in a not doing? We asked respondents to rank various things thatbrand community. Even though it provides opportunities for their customers might do on Facebook that they can’t do oroutbound communication—though blogs and tweets—a brand can’t do well. When we correlate those rankings with the levelcommunity succeeds or fails on the basis of its ability to of success those clients are currently enjoying with Facebook,create engagement. several things stand out:answer product questions 51.4% • Overwhelmingly, brands whose Facebook efforts are 50% flagging want some way to recognize their customers’ status and achievements on Facebook — in other words,display status or achievements to reward good behavior. Conspicuous display of status 42.9% and achievement is a deeply ingrained feature of Lithium 8.3% communities and is generally seen as a prime motivator of consumer participation.submit ideas for service/product improvements 62.9% • Respondents who do not see their current Facebook 50% efforts as successful see the ability for customers to submit ideas as substantially more important thansearch our knowledge base those who are satisfied with Facebook. Again, this maps 60% very closely to the ideation benefit we saw earlier as a 66.7% downstream effect of brand communities.see the best/most useful content that others have submitted • The ability to find products or services recommended by 60% friends or colleagues is also seen as a potential area of 58.3% improvement by those who are not particularly satisfied with their Facebook efforts.identify other customers with similar backgrounds or needs 42.9% 50%find products their friends or colleagues have recommended 60% 50% mentions by respondents who rate their Facebook pages as less successful mentions by respondents who rate their Facebook pages as successful 5
  8. 8. share this whitepaperFigure 5: Additional needs from Facebook by communitysuccess level.As we can see from Figure 5, brands who are less successfulwith communities also want to see a more prominent displayof status and achievements on Facebook. But what is perhapsmore interesting is that clients who are at higher levels ofsuccess with brand communities are much more interestedthan their peers in introducing the ability for users to findothers who resemble them, and the ability for users to locateproducts that their friends and colleagues like. These arecharacteristic “social networking” features.In other words, when Facebook efforts are not successful,brands want Facebook to behave more like a community.When communities are successful, brands want to benefitfrom Facebook’s networking features to a greater extent. IfFacebook’s potency as a generator of awareness begins todecline over time, that trend suggests a convergence betweenthe interaction modes in Facebook and those of brandcommunities is extremely likely. 6
  9. 9. share this whitepaperorganizationalownership If we see a coming convergence between the way people answer product questions interact on Facebook and the way they interact in a brand community, it is worth asking who will lead that convergence and how it will take place. Enterprises vary display status or achievements in their determination of who owns social customer initiatives. In some organizations, social customer initiatives are owned by customer support or customer experience teams. Increasingly, however, they fall under the purview of submit ideas for service/product improvements marketing or corporate communications functions. Figure 6: Additional requirements from Facebook by social program ownership. search our knowledge base As we can see from Figure 6, organizations where marketing owns social initiatives are demanding less of Facebook in terms of new modes of customer engagement. In fact, see the best/most useful content that others have submitted ownership by marketing is more important than the perceived success of a company’s Facebook page in determining whether a company is interested in customers engaging identify other customers with similar backgrounds or needs through Facebook in more involved ways. Customer support and customer experience groups continue to be more interested in the exchange of ideas and the answering of product questions. find products their friends or colleagues have recommended customer support and experience groups marketing groups 7
  10. 10. share this whitepapercustomer support and experience marketing and comms a f f e b b the scaling problem. Time and again, we have seen that e d larger communities with a devoted core of superfans actually d require less intervention from companies than fledgling c c communities. The “downstream” trust benefits pay dividends. There is no reason why this shouldn’t be so on Facebook, buta) executive buy-in b) resources to scale our efforts c) coordination across many organizations are in earlier stages of their experienceteams and departmentsa) executivetools e) lack of agreed upon metrics and d) too many buy-in with Facebook.standards for success f) lack of customer interest b) resources to scale our efforts c) coordination across teams and departments d) too many tools Figure 8: Requirement for ROI measurement by channel and Figure 7: Largest challenge with social customer programs, e) lack of agreed upon metrics and standards for success program ownership. by program ownership f) lack of customer interest A final area in which brand communities differ from other Marketing-led organizations’ biggest concern with social channels for marketing-led organizations is in the need to customer programs is how to scale them. Figure 7 shows prove themselves through ROI metrics. As we can see from the chief concern as scaling initiatives with (relatively) less Figure 8, marketing-led organizations generally have higher concern about coordination across teams and departments. demands for ROI, but this is particularly true for brand 44% of marketing-led organizations cited “resources to communities. We suspect this is a function of the perception scale our efforts” as the biggest challenge, as against that Facebook engagement is free because a Facebook page 34.4% of everyone and (9/34 - 26%) of non-marketing led is itself free, but also of the maturity level of Facebook as organizations. This suggests that one reason marketers are a technology and a marketing venue. As we see increasing less aggressively pursuing “deeper” engagement through convergence of social channels, we should also expect to see Facebook is that, unlike support or customer experience demands for more sophisticated Facebook measurement organizations, they lack human resources — like contact tools, and growing demands for Facebook to prove its value. centers — that are perceived to be required to ensure that social customers get the satisfaction they require from engagement through Facebook. Better, perhaps, not to hold out the promise of a sustained dialog with customers if an organization cannot make good on that promise. brand community The survey shows that marketers and customer experience are equally committed to responding to customers in brand communities and through Facebook and Twitter. However, it would not be surprising if Facebook’s reach threatens to become overwhelming if customer actions on Facebook called for a response. Indeed, perhaps one thing that marketers have learned with online communities that they customer support have not (yet) learned with Facebook is that customers and experience themselves can be the solution — not just the cause — of marketing and corp comms 8
  11. 11. share this whitepaperconclusion There are significant synergies between Facebook and brand The dividends of a well-developed Facebook presence will communities. Both offer unique marketing advantages, and ultimately depend on marketers inventing or adopting we’ve helped customers extend the reach of their brand sophisticated long-term strategies for customer engagement, communities on Facebook. For its sheer size and viral such that their Facebook presence derives its value from features, Facebook is generally considered more successful peer-to-peer relationships. But those relationships also have at disseminating marketing messages, and is roughly equal in to be based in trust, both among customers and between its ability to create brand awareness. As we’ve seen in online customers and the brand. Establishing this trust is a key, venues before, however, driving people to a social site without long-term strategy. For instance, fostering productive providing an outlet for their needs invites a peak-and-trough peer-to-peer relationships among customers and rewarding customer engagement, rather than a sustained, vital and positive behavior helps to create trust, as does identifying, profitable enthusiasm. A campaign-based wave of awareness motivating, and highlighting your brand’s superfans. The will eventually peak and subside, and may then create downstream annuities of trust and engagement only grow unrealistic expectations for customers. As these channels when brands cultivate true, multi-directional relationships evolve and the awareness benefits subside, marketers should with their social customers over the long term. The potential consider Facebook a useful platform for cultivating an online ROI is tremendous. presence run more like a community than a campaign. Lithium social software helps the world’s most iconic brands to build brand nations—vibrant online communities of passionate social customers. Lithium helps top brands such as AT&T, Sephora, Univision, and PayPal build active online communities that turn customer passion into social media marketing ROI. For more information on how to create lasting competitive advantage with the social customer experience, visit lithium.com, or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and our own brand nation – the Lithosphere. lithium.com | © 2012 Lithium Technologies, Inc. All Rights Reserved 9

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