UNIVERSITY OF SURREY           SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENTWHY HAVE CERTAIN BRANDS FAILED TO FULFIL  THEIR POTENTIAL USE OF SOCIAL...
Nick Robinson                                                                    URN: 6002181ABSTRACTThis paper assesses w...
Nick Robinson                                                                                                        URN: ...
Nick Robinson                                                                                  URN: 6002181LIST OF FIGURES...
Nick Robinson                                                                      URN: 60021811.0 INTRODUCTIONThis paper ...
Nick Robinson                                                                            URN: 6002181media that is publish...
Nick Robinson                                                               URN: 6002181FIGURE 2.1: THE CONTINUED RISE IN ...
Nick Robinson                                                                      URN: 60021813.0 A NEW APPROACH FOR SOCI...
Nick Robinson                                                                     URN: 6002181Yet, brands are used to util...
Nick Robinson                                                                    URN: 6002181only exist between the data t...
Nick Robinson                                                                        URN: 6002181dialogues and reach out t...
Nick Robinson                                                                       URN: 6002181of dialogical and relation...
Nick Robinson                                                                     URN: 6002181and seek to address how bran...
Nick Robinson                                                                           URN: 6002181consist of; should the...
Nick Robinson                                                                    URN: 6002181networks, a brand needs to be...
Nick Robinson                                                                     URN: 6002181Brands have to now find ways...
Nick Robinson                                                                     URN: 60021814.3 MAGNET: CUSTOMER-TO-BRAN...
Nick Robinson                                                                      URN: 6002181Although brands may find it...
Nick Robinson                                                                        URN: 60021815.0 EXAMPLESThe following...
Nick Robinson                                                                        URN: 6002181seems to have learned les...
Nick Robinson                                                                       URN: 6002181by jumping into a communic...
Nick Robinson                                                                      URN: 60021815.2 A POSITIVE EXAMPLE: VIR...
Nick Robinson                                                                               URN: 6002181understood, and th...
Nick Robinson                                                                     URN: 6002181There are always going to be...
Nick Robinson                                                                        URN: 60021816.0 CONCLUSION AND AREAS ...
Nick Robinson                                                                        URN: 6002181Whilst it is believed the...
Nick Robinson                                                                      URN: 6002181REFLECTIVE REPORTI believe ...
Nick Robinson                                                                 URN: 6002181However, discovering the small a...
Nick Robinson                                                                     URN: 6002181WORD COUNT: 7,700REFERENCESA...
Nick Robinson                                                                   URN: 6002181Clark, M. (2010) „Tapping into...
Nick Robinson                                                                   URN: 6002181Gloria, T. (2009) „HabitatUK a...
Nick Robinson                                                                      URN: 6002181Nutley, M. (2007) ‘Its the ...
Nick Robinson                                                                     URN: 6002181Singer, D. (2009) „Habitats ...
Nick Robinson                                                                      URN: 6002181Varey, R. and Ballantyne, D...
Nick Robinson                                                                  URN: 6002181APPENDICESAPPENDIX A: T-MOBILE ...
Nick Robinson                                                                      URN: 6002181APPENDIX B: VIRGIN MEDIA AN...
Nick Robinson                                                            URN: 6002181Slide 4Launched Aug 20095,000+ posts ...
Nick Robinson                                                               URN: 6002181Slide 6Used to promote V Festival,...
Nick Robinson        URN: 6002181Slide 7                35
Nick Robinson                                                                    URN: 6002181Slide 8Followers:            ...
Nick Robinson                                                                URN: 6002181Slide 9          Average growth n...
Nick Robinson                                   URN: 6002181Slide 10Average 48 tweets per day (tpd) since launch          ...
Nick Robinson                                                                   URN: 6002181Slide 11@vfestival - News and ...
Nick Robinson                                                                        URN: 6002181Slide 13Reactive:        ...
Nick Robinson                                                               URN: 6002181Slide 14NPS Scores of ‟10‟ in a co...
Nick Robinson        URN: 6002181Slide 15                42
Nick Robinson        URN: 6002181Slide 16                43
Nick Robinson        URN: 6002181Slide 17                44
Nick Robinson        URN: 6002181Slide 18                45
Nick Robinson        URN: 6002181Slide 19                46
Nick Robinson                                                                     URN: 6002181Slide 20The conversation:   ...
Nick Robinson                                                URN: 6002181Slide 21Where do we take social media from here: ...
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WHY HAVE CERTAIN BRANDS FAILED TO FULFIL THEIR POTENTIAL USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA?

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This paper assesses why certain brands have failed to successfully establish themselves within social media, and looks at the best approach for developing a successful social presence. It questions why brands are reluctant to be social and fully dialogical within networks that are based around this principal. The paper proposes that brands adopt a relational approach that differs from that found within CRM and other offline marketing techniques, and instead revolves around an authentic dialogue between brands and other users. The idea that attempting to be fully dialogical is central to brands maximising the effectiveness of social media is explored in detail with the application of Gallaugher and Ransbotham‟s (2010) „Megaphone, Magnet, and Monitor (3-M)‟ framework, whilst suggestions on how to encourage dialogue and build relationships are made and explored through the analysis of case studies. The paper finds that brands should seek to take an engaging approach to social networking in order to maximise results, actively partaking in dialogical communication within the online community and attempting to build sustainable relationships; both are seen to be inherently linked and co-dependent. Further research suggestions are then made, alongside the acknowledgment that the area of online social interaction is constantly evolving.

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WHY HAVE CERTAIN BRANDS FAILED TO FULFIL THEIR POTENTIAL USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA?

  1. 1. UNIVERSITY OF SURREY SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENTWHY HAVE CERTAIN BRANDS FAILED TO FULFIL THEIR POTENTIAL USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA? By NICK ROBINSON A project submitted in part-fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the BSc (Hons) in Business Management Supervisor: Dr Sue Halliday 2011
  2. 2. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181ABSTRACTThis paper assesses why certain brands have failed to successfully establish themselveswithin social media, and looks at the best approach for developing a successful socialpresence. It questions why brands are reluctant to be social and fully dialogical withinnetworks that are based around this principal. The paper proposes that brands adopt arelational approach that differs from that found within CRM and other offline marketingtechniques, and instead revolves around an authentic dialogue between brands and otherusers. The idea that attempting to be fully dialogical is central to brands maximising theeffectiveness of social media is explored in detail with the application of Gallaugher andRansbotham‟s (2010) „Megaphone, Magnet, and Monitor (3-M)‟ framework, whilstsuggestions on how to encourage dialogue and build relationships are made and exploredthrough the analysis of case studies. The paper finds that brands should seek to take anengaging approach to social networking in order to maximise results, actively partaking indialogical communication within the online community and attempting to build sustainablerelationships; both are seen to be inherently linked and co-dependent. Further researchsuggestions are then made, alongside the acknowledgment that the area of online socialinteraction is constantly evolving. i
  3. 3. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181CONTENTSList Of Figures....................................................................................................................... iiiList Of Abbreviations ............................................................................................................. iiiAcknowledgements ............................................................................................................... iii1.0 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 12.0 The Rise Of Social......................................................................................................... 13.0 A New Approach For Social ......................................................................................... 44.0 Building Relationships And Encouraging Dialogical Communications .................... 8 4.1 Monitor: Observing Interactions And The Environment ............................................ 9 4.2 Megaphone: Brand-To-Customer Communication ................................................. 10 4.3 Magnet: Customer-To-Brand Communication ........................................................ 135.0 Examples ..................................................................................................................... 15 5.1 A Negative Example: Habitat UK............................................................................ 15 5.1.1 Monitor- Improve Slow Response Times ........................................................ 16 5.1.2 Megaphone- Give Brand Personality .............................................................. 16 5.1.3 Magnet- Learn From The Conversation .......................................................... 16 5.1.4 Monitor- Motivation For Joining ....................................................................... 16 5.1.5 Megaphone- Not Their Conversation .............................................................. 17 5.1.6 Megaphone- Mistakes Are Instant .................................................................. 17 5.2 A Positive Example: Virgin Media........................................................................... 18 5.2.1 Monitor- Proactive Engagement ..................................................................... 18 5.2.2 Magnet- Quick To Reply ................................................................................. 18 5.2.3 Megaphone- Clear Identities ........................................................................... 19 5.2.4 Megaphone, Magnet And Monitor- Empathetic Conversation ......................... 19 5.2.5 Monitor- Increase Monitoring Times................................................................ 20 5.2.6 Magnet- Follow Issues Through To Completion .............................................. 206.0 Conclusion And Areas For Future Research ............................................................ 21Reflective Report ................................................................................................................ 23References ......................................................................................................................... 25Appendices ......................................................................................................................... 31 Appendix A: T-Mobile Royal Wedding Spoof ................................................................ 31 Appendix B: Virgin Media And Social Media Presentation Hand Out............................ 32 ii
  4. 4. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181LIST OF FIGURESFigure 2.1: The Continued Rise in the Popularity of Social Media ......................................... 3Figure 3.2: The Megaphone, Magnet and Monitor (3-M) Framework ..................................... 9Figure 5.1: A Screenshot of Habitat UKs Twitter Page ....................................................... 17Figure 5.2: A Screenshot of Virgin Medias Twitter Page ..................................................... 20LIST OF ABBREVIATIONSROI- Return on InvestmentCRM- Customer Relationship ManagementB2B- Business to BusinessACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThis project received significant direction and guidance from Dr Sue Halliday. iii
  5. 5. Nick Robinson URN: 60021811.0 INTRODUCTIONThis paper seeks to ascertain key reasons why brands have failed to fully utilise socialnetworks, and aims to provide helpful advice for managers of these brands who seek tomaximise their use. Firstly, values and principles will be established through an in-depthbreakdown of the foundations that form social networks and drive social media. Thesereasons will then be explored in detail, with suggestions for practical implementation, beforethe analysis of two contrasting real world examples. These relatively new technologies ofonline social networks lack exploration and development, especially surrounding thepresence of brands within online social environments. This paper aims to deliver real worldsolutions for brands wishing to maximise their social presence, whilst highlighting areas forfurther research and development within a rather unexplored sector.2.0 THE RISE OF SOCIALThe popularity of social networking continues to grow with over 24 million people from theUK actively participating in Facebook alone (see Figure 2.1). Understandably, brands haveseen the opportunity for a new channel, with many building their own presences within theseonline communities. Unlike certain traditional web experts who previously concluded thatwhen brands arrived original participants would move elsewhere, the users seeminglyaccepted brands as part of the social experience (Nutley, 2007) seeking to attach them aspart of their online identity (Smith, 2007). It is perhaps due to this unforeseen approval thatbrands sought to apply a similar marketing approach to that of other mediums, utilising socialnetworks as another channel where a traditional approach of one-sided information sharingcould be applied (Smith, 2009). Yet, for many, this approach has seemingly failed to fullyengage with users (Goodman, 2010) and leaves those wishing to connect uninformed; arecent study by internet firm Auros showed large numbers of brands aren‟t responding to themajority of complaints and queries they receive on social networks (Cowling, 2011). Despitethis lack of attention, consumers who would previously have been unwillingly subjected todecisions now have the power to reject a brand‟s chosen direction, as seen through thenegative backlash to Gap‟s logo change (Nash, 2010). Consequently, if the traditionalapproach which marketers have relied upon for decades is now ineffective to persuade andinfluence consumers, how can brands successfully engage with users and maximise a socialpresence? Does this require a drastically new approach or can past techniques simply beadapted for use within online communities? Before these questions are addressed, it isnecessary to root out the foundations of social networks in order to gain an insight into theirworkings. The Oxford Dictionary of English (2010) defines a social network as “a network ofsocial interactions and personal relationships”, whilst social media can be defined as “the 1
  6. 6. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181media that is published, created and shared by individuals on the internet, such as blogs,images, video and more”1 (Strokes, 2009, p. 350). These definitions suggest that at the heartof social networks is a human desire for relationship and community through which thecreation of social media can strengthen connections and bonds. Potentially, this gives theopportunity for brands to build stronger relationships with consumers than was ever possiblethrough traditional methods (Kane et al, 2009). Yet, if the heart of online social activity canbe seen to be both relational and community centred, then activity in which these values arelacking will supposedly fail to connect with users. Therefore, it is seemingly important thatbrands accept the core notions on which online social activities are founded and extensivelyapply their values throughout their social media if they are to fully and effectively utilisesocial networks.1 Although older forms of social networks and media such as blogs and forums can be grouped intothis definition, the main focus for this discussion will be around platforms such as Facebook, Twitterand LinkedIn, where brands are a part of a wider community and not the exclusive central focus. 2
  7. 7. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181FIGURE 2.1: THE CONTINUED RISE IN THE POPULARITY OF SOCIAL MEDIA (SOURCE: BBC, 2010) 3
  8. 8. Nick Robinson URN: 60021813.0 A NEW APPROACH FOR SOCIALAs true community cannot exist without authentic communication (Evans, 2001) andrelationships require dialogue (Varey and Ballantyne, 2005), it is seemingly vital for brandsto build their approach to social around these foundations. Fully utilising social throughout abrand means building campaigns around social from the bottom up and not simply attachingsocial to campaigns as an afterthought (Briody, 2011). As already discussed, many brandssee social media as simply another place for press releases, blanket messages and otherforms of monological (one way) communications, yet this informative, one directionalapproach is only a small part of the communications that brands could be having as part ofonline communities (Edelman 2010; Kane et al, 2009; Nash, 2010; Smith, 2009). It is not tosay the media that brands choose to share within networks is unimportant. Quite thecontrary- choosing the right media that will connect with users is a vital part of thecommunication process. Yet it is simply the first step in successfully maximising a socialpresence. Only attempting, or overdoing, this initial stage may be detrimental to the brand‟sfuture presence on the network, and perhaps even resonate negatively across both onlineand offline communities, as observed within section 5.1 „A Negative Example: Habitat UK‟.The current social landscape is reminiscent of a stereotypical party. The majority of thegathered fit into a certain social group; some party goers form parts of cliques, whereparticular individuals hold more social standing than others, whilst some attendees are ableto crossover between friendship groups. Then there is the drunken guest, usually foundspouting garbled messages at people, with no intention of ever listening to their responses.Other guests simply begin to ignore the drunk, passively listening and ignoring any attemptat communication. Certain brands are excessively guilty of this within social networks, wherea traditional approach has spilled over, curtailing discussion and leading to uninvolved andpassive listeners (Evans, 2001). There is an arrogance surrounding these brands thatsuggests they follow a different set of community rules and need only repeatedly shout theirmessage to be a part of the network. This stems from the long tradition of monologicalcommunications found within marketing (Varey and Ballantyne, 2005) and needs to bechallenged if the online community is to fully embrace social media‟s connectiveopportunities. Brands must develop effective methods for co-existing inside communitythrough the building of relationships based around an authentic and sincere dialogue. Varey(2003) sees clear association between these, arguing this sincere dialogue, through whicheach party may learn and grow, requires genuine relationship in order to flourish. 4
  9. 9. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Yet, brands are used to utilising marketing as a form of control, directing and influencingthrough the informational approach (Varey, 2003). This desire for control can seemingly betraced to the need for quick measurements of the return on investment (ROI) in order tomeet short-term target requirements results. In order to adopt a new ideology, brands needto be persuaded that a long-term relational approach has beneficial results over a traditionalshort-term informational method. This begins with the dismissal of a common misconception;that social media is simply a new channel (Smith, 2009). Labelling social as a channelimmediately draws the traditional boundaries and boxes which send marketers towards atraditional approach. Social must be seen as a new environment centred around communityand dialogue, where different and additional rules and theories apply (Kane et al, 2009). Aswithin traditional media, these methods are not absolute and often differ uponimplementation. Indeed, these rules vary within the different channel platforms found withinsocial, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but the general environment remainsconsistently community centred.This shift to a long-term approach, based around dialogue and relationship, requires a shiftof focus away from ROI. Brian Solis claims social media is simply not designed to deliver ameasurable return; it delivers relationships and learning on how to become relevant tocustomers which cannot be easily quantified (Martin, 2011). Brands must realise this andsee the limitations of the monological communication models, which have madecommunications and marketing interactions highly scientific (Varey and Ballantyne, 2005),and instead focus on a method that can be well applied within the context of social networksthat escapes from the limits of the monological approach and scientises all dimensions of asocial act (Varey and Ballantyne, 2005). Clearly, social networks are based on community,relationships and conversations. Yet marketing itself is routed in strategic and purposefulsocial interaction (Deetz, 1995; Varey, 2002) meaning a return to a relational approach is notrevolutionary but found within marketing‟s very foundations. Varey and Ballantyne (2005)describe three ways in which marketing is based on interaction. The first of which isinformational, as seen in the majority of communications displayed in traditional media,where the brand retains control and attempts to influence the consumer through persuasion.The second is communicational, where the interaction is based around informing andlistening. A communicational approach to marketing can be seen within customerrelationship management (CRM), yet this is seen to be un-human and simply demonstratean approach where relationships and thinking processes have been de-centred, andinformation simply captured and distributed (Varey and Ballantyne, 2005). Varey (2003) seesCRM as “limiting and counterproductive” (Varey, 2003, p.274) as relationships are seen to 5
  10. 10. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181only exist between the data that is stored, with no personal connections drawn to them(Varey and Ballantyne, 2005). However, Bengtsson (2003) questions whether brandrelationships should indeed be thought of within human relationship theory, as they areinanimate, lack feelings and offer consumers only highly standardised responses. Thiscounters Fournier‟s (1998) claims that brands can be seen as a valid partner withinrelationships, yet Bengtsson (2003) raises a valid issue which can be directly addressedthrough social media. Brands have the opportunity to demonstrate human characteristics,respond uniquely to individuals and present the people behind the products. Yet, brandsmust now decide how far they humanise the brand. Is there a risk of an employee becomingthe only contact consumers have with the brand? If an employee ceases to work for a brand,will the consumer become disconnected and leave? Does implementing a relational modelmean employees will be encouraged to remain at companies for longer periods and holdstronger power over management? These are certainly potential issues and areas for futureresearch, yet this paper sees the potential for brand humanisation as largely positive.In developing this humanisation, Varey and Ballantyne (2005) discuss a further stage ofinteraction where brands and consumers co-determine solutions, building a network ofvaluable relationships through which learning and added value can be achieved. This isreferred to as a dialogical approach and is a dramatic step from the informational interactionthat is currently commonplace within traditional media (Varey and Ballantyne, 2005) yetmakes sense within the relational world of social networks. It is characterised by participantsplacing equal emphasis on both speaking and active listening, where brands are engagingwith consumers and reassessing positions they have taken (Evans, 2001). The participantswithin the conversations are seen to act between, and not simply to, each other (Varey andBallantyne, 2005). As Varey and Ballantyne (2005) note, this approach is particularly suitedto certain sectors such as Business to Business (B2B) and service industries, yet particularbrands may struggle to engage with a dialogical approach, especially if they are unwilling togive up directional control and bring in positive disruption through dialogue (Evans, 2001;Varey and Ballantyne, 2005). It is accepted that certain customers may not wish toparticipate in a dialogue with brands, instead simply wishing to observe conversations(Schaedel and Clement, 2010) and certain managers may not wish to deal with the positivechaos that being dialogical will undoubtedly present (Evans, 2001; Varey and Ballantyne,2005). Addressing issues raised through dialogues may take considerable amounts of timeaway from other tasks, and managers may feel this causes more harm than good.Whilst these are valid concerns, building campaigns from the ground up around social canhelp to address these issues (Briody, 2011). Brands should lead the way in commencing 6
  11. 11. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181dialogues and reach out to consumers, experimentally engaging in listening and learningfrom the online community whilst giving up total control in order to gain trust (Evans, 2001;Varey, 2003; Varey and Ballantyne, 2005). This trust can be achieved through an authentic,non-coercive and mutually beneficial exchange where all participants are involved inspeaking and active listening (Buber, 1966; Evans, 2001; Varey, 2003). For this authenticityto exist, both aspects of this communication must be given equal emphasis and respect fromeach participant (Evans, 2001). Likewise, brands‟ and consumers‟ trust must run in bothdirections, with brands being willing to believe in their communities (Varey and Ballantyne,2005) and change their viewpoints and beliefs (Evans, 2001). This is what it means to bedialogical, and failure to adapt to this relational model risks brands being left out of relevantconversations or being misrepresented within them (Varey and Ballantyne, 2005). Therefore,developing a dialogical and relational culture is an important base which should be carefullycultivated throughout all online activities. If brands fail to maintain this trust through authenticdialogue then it is possible that the community will break down and fragment (Evans, 2001).Consumers have developed a strong awareness of informational communications makingthe challenge for brands in achieving truly authentic dialogical communications even greater;consumers are wary of communicating with brands as they expect an ulterior motive.Indeed, in recent research 70% of consumers who had “fanned” a brand on Facebookexpressed that this did not mean their approval for being marketed to (Clark, 2010). Brandsmust also acknowledge that whilst technology such as social networks can enhance theability to communicate, it can also be seen to fragment dialogue and therefore should beused as a complement alongside other communication methods; being truly dialogicalmeans not neglecting the offline community (Evans, 2001). Indeed, beyond simply avoidingmarketplace favouritism, being dialogical is a precondition for acting ethically within business(Pearson, 1989) and returns buyers and sellers to an equal standing (Varey, 2003).Yet, Peters (1999) challenges this view, stating that the assumption that there is nothingwrong within a dialogical approach is a fairy tale. Indeed, he argues problems may neveractually be tackled, with participants simply monologically addressing each other (Peters,1999) and, as there is no commitment to online communities, can simply drop out wheneverthey feel uncomfortable (Evans, 2001). How will brands utilise the data they gather from“authentic relationships”? Will they betray users and harness it in a Big Brother-esquemanner (Evans, 2001)? These are real concerns, yet there is a need for brands to becomemore democratic and less dictatorial (Varey and Ballantyne, 2005), and dialogue withinsocial networks is a prime opportunity for this change. In order to maximise the effectiveness 7
  12. 12. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181of dialogical and relational interaction within social networks, this new approach must be builtfrom the foundations of the brand (Briody, 2011).4.0 BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS AND ENCOURAGING DIALOGICALCOMMUNICATIONSAs established, the online conversation clearly requires different areas of focus to an offlinecampaign. Yet, how can a brand convert offline ideology into online personality? For theuninitiated, the internet can be seen as an intimidating place with social networks exhibitingself-established ground rules which govern the community (Evans, 2001); it has beensuggested that certain brands should not even be on social networks in the first place(Drapeau, 2008; Paynter, 2010), yet brands who can build relationships and loyalty have theopportunity to mobilise an army of passionate evangelists. As mentioned previously,contributing to authentic dialogical conversations and building relationships is at the centre ofall social networks and therefore brands need to respect and revere this, understanding whyusers are actually there (Goodman, 2010). Varey (2003) observes that marketing requiresgenuine relationship in order to operate dialogically. Compellingly, Aaker et al (2004)discovered customer relationships with sincere brands followed human friendshiptendencies, where connections were strengthened over time. Therefore building a brand‟sfocus around a dialogical approach, which is sincere and authentic by its very nature, canpotentially build strong and long lasting relationships with customers, providingtransgressions from brands are avoided. Brands who do not follow this relational modelassume they are bigger or better than the community on which social networks are based,and should not expect users to accept them.Within social media, a desire for authentic connection can be seen when consumers like orfollow a brand. Although, as already mentioned, users may not feel as if they have approvedthe brand to market to them, there is a desire to participate in some way and brands shouldseize this opportunity. Some users may be present due to previous promotional activitywhich has polluted the authenticity of their connection, yet the fact they remain shows acertain interest which, if sparked correctly, could be converted into a genuine relationship.For the first time, brands are exposed to direct customer feedback, and opportunities todirectly gather information from customers. Gallaugher and Ransbotham (2010) demonstratethese paths well within their „Megaphone, Magnet, and Monitor (3-M)‟ framework (Figure 1).These paths all contribute to forming relationships and developing dialogue, yet all requirediffering approaches in order to maximise. The following sub-sections apply this framework 8
  13. 13. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181and seek to address how brands can to maximise their dialogical and relational approacheswithin each path.Figure 3.2: THE MEGAPHONE, MAGNET, AND MONITOR (3-M) FRAMEWORK- FIRM AND CUSTOMERCOMMUNICATION PATHS WITH SOCIAL MEDIA (SOURCE: GALLAUGHER AND RANSBOTHAM, 2010,P.200)4.1 MONITOR: OBSERVING INTERACTIONS AND THE ENVIRONMENTBrands should firstly focus on listening to customer-to-customer interactions, alongsidediscussions between customers and other brands. There is a lot of information brands cangather from simply listening to the surrounding conversations that are already on going(Barwise and Meehan, 2010). Influencers and other users may be reporting issues withcertain products, in which case action can be taken to correct faults quickly. Indeed, ifbrands took a step back, stopped talking and listened to the conversations that are alreadyhappening there is potential to gain a lot more information about what customers (andpotential customers) actually really want from the brand (Bayler, 2006), enabling futureengagement, dialogue and relationships through relevant content and the potential haloeffect of positive customer service, if problems proactively found are successfully dealt with.Being seriously social and consistently monitoring activity is a time consuming activity andcan require high levels of staff commitment. If staff are expected to be highly involved withsocial media in addition to their job description, it can mean increased workloads without apay rise. Although costly, it is suggested brands need teams dedicated to managing theirsocial media presence (Kane et al, 2009). Yet what type of people should these teams 9
  14. 14. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181consist of; should they be sales orientated or support centred? Ideally, the social age willdevelop a new specialist who, whilst being at the forefront of developments within socialtechnology, can capably deal with minor support issues, engage relationally with theconsumer online, share their story, learn from other users and unthreateningly demonstratehow the brand can offer added value. Realistically, however workers may not have levels ofexcellence within each of these specialities. Therefore it is vital that staff within social mediaare well connected throughout the organisation and able to discover accurate informationquickly. Research has shown that the majority of Twitter message replies and retweets2occur within the first hour (Van Grove, 2010a) whilst 95 percent of Facebook status “likes”occur within 22 hours of the post (Wasserman, 2011). Brands should aim to begin a dialoguewithin this time frame in order to maximise impact. Software can help to increaseresponsiveness with Social CRM systems becoming popular across businesses (McKay,2011). Yet even sophisticated software is not enough to monitor, track and understand allthe conversations surrounding a large brand; it removes the emotional significance of therelationship, scientises it and leads away from a truly dialogical approach so should becarefully utilised (Varey, 2003; Varey and Ballantyne, 2005). Responding to issues andconversations becomes a natural next step for brands within the social space.4.2 MEGAPHONE: BRAND-TO-CUSTOMER COMMUNICATIONBrands should seek to generate engaging original content that connects with users (Walter,2011) enhancing their brand values, establishing dialogues and building relationships.Indeed, Bengtsson (2003) confirms that a relationship needs to be beneficial to both parties,and a large part of this added value derives from the brands posted content. Buildingauthentic relationships starts within the brand itself and the staff who manage the socialcommunications. Brands should seek to bring people in who epitomise the brand and arewilling to be highly visible and transparent, enabling them to become influencers within thesocial sphere (Klopper, 2010). Brands must ensure that those running their social mediadisplay a personal „face‟, encapsulating brand identity and personality (Lindstrom, 2005),humanising the corporate persona. Brands should allow people to talk with the employeeand not simply about the brand (Kane et al, 2009); sharing personal stories and asking funquestions allow both the brand and employee‟s personalities to display through the content(Walter, 2011). Displaying this „human side‟ within social media can make a brand easier forconsumers to relate to (Klopper, 2010; Van Grove, 2010b) and accept mistakes when theyare made. The immediate nature of the web provides inevitable hazards and means aninadvertent post could cause a widespread media storm. Before stepping out into social2 A retweet occurs when a user chooses to re-broadcast a message to their audience. 10
  15. 15. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181networks, a brand needs to be confident and self-assured in its values and beliefs,demonstrating a personality that audiences will relate to. A brand‟s social media updatersare effectively spokespeople to the audiences within each social network, therefore puttingthe right people in place to provide suitable updates should be carefully considered(Ostrowski, 2009).Personality can be delivered through both conversation and content, yet it needs to begenuinely and sincerely conceived and truly add value through some relevancy to thebrand‟s values. This sincerity, without transgressions, can help to build long-termrelationships with customers (Aaker et al, 2004). Within products, irrelevant attributes can beseen to add value to the brand (Albrecht et al, 2011). The same is true within the onlinespace, yet irrelevant noise should be avoided. Brand characteristics should be present withinirrelevancy and employees within the company should be allowed to demonstrate theirpersonality. When Blendtec started posting YouTube videos online demonstrating theirblender‟s ability to demolish popular technology products such as the iPhone and eccentricobjects they demonstrated the excellent strength of their blenders, and provided a humorouspersonality through the presence of their MD to a product that does not lead itself to warmth.The humorous irrelevance through demonstration of complementary characteristics alsoutilised the success of the iPhone and other Apple products, to gain initial exposure whichhas been followed up via relational dialogues with Twitter and Facebook users (Peters,2008).Brands should reach out to consumers and increase interactions to build relationships. In anEdelman (2011) study, only 44% of UK consumers believed companies would do what isright, the second lowest level of trust within the top ten leading GDP countries. Thereforeutilising social media to increase loyalty and trust should be seen as a worthwhile exercise.The more a brand is able to sincerely engage with consumers, the more their relationshipwill grow (Aaker et al, 2004), and the more loyalty and trust the brand will gain. Dialoguewithin social networks follows certain unspoken rules and brands must be aware of theseengagement guidelines before attempting to build relationships (Evans, 2001). Languageused within dialogue should be centred around a „please-thank you‟ culture, wherecustomers feel individualised and valued (Vaynerchuk, 2011). Focussing on building arespecting environment and utilising small talk with community members can help buildrelations with customers and allow them to develop a stronger rapport with companies(Pullin, 2010; Vaynerchuk, 2011), especially where the brand clearly identifies people withinthe company. Small talk also allows the brand to build a better understanding of theiraudience, allowing for potential development and further targeting of future communications. 11
  16. 16. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Brands have to now find ways of reaching out beyond their standard demographic; socialnetworks bring together people from a variety of different countries and cultures. If the brandhas a global presence, then attention to individual markets should be carefully considered inorder to increase relevance and establish a cultural connection; utilising localisation targetingcan reduce culture clash and increase relevance (Walter, 2011). Yet brands should realisethat people who like, follow and listen to their social media may actually never wish to buytheir product (Miller and Washington, 2011). Brands can extend relevance through postingmore visual content; images, videos and other media will likely see a higher response than asimple text update, especially if the shared media is within the brand‟s personality andsomehow relevant to current affairs. T-Mobile‟s spoof Royal Wedding video is an excellentexample of this (see Appendix A). Although media can instil a huge response from the socialaudience, viral should never be considered a strategy but merely a by-product of asuccessful relational connection made with the audience.Brands shouldn‟t be afraid to utilise social media to crowd source opinions on new productsor company developments. Social media can help take empowerment a step further andallow followers/fans to decide on marketing decisions, as Budweiser did when it allowed fansto choose which ad would run during the 2010 Superbowl (Brenna, 2010). Empoweringusers enables them to own the brand and deepen their connection, whilst encouraginginteraction and spreading the brand‟s media. The results may help to impact directions offuture campaigns and resonate further with consumers (Walter, 2011). Brands should utilisestats to see when users are most engaged and find the best times and types of content thatare appreciated most (Walter, 2011). However, avoid using automating posts (Walter, 2011)as content can be easily spotted, especially when consumers who are interested inbeginning a dialogue receive no reply. Social networks are fast moving environment and arealways reacting, therefore having a present knowledge of the current conditions is importantbefore sharing. It is also important to avoid bombarding audiences with frequent andrepetitive updates (Lowenthal, 2009). 12
  17. 17. Nick Robinson URN: 60021814.3 MAGNET: CUSTOMER-TO-BRAND COMMUNICATIONIdeally, if a brand provides the consumer with a good experience, the consumer will utilisesocial networks to advocate the brand, at which point there is an opportunity for the brand tobuild relationship through dialogical interaction. Edelman (2010) summarises this well byhighlighting the change from a traditional funnel approach, where consumers simply narrowdown brands before coming to a decision. Within the Consumer Decision Journey, a loyaltyloop is introduced post-purchase where it is suggested consumers will advocate the productif they enjoy it, at which point brands have the opportunity to bond with the consumer, form arelationship and develop brand loyalty. Indeed, Edelman (2010) states how this brandoutreach and research of other social media posted from trusted friends and colleagues maytake place within the evaluation stage prior to purchase, hence the importance alreadyafforded to the monitoring of social discussions. Edelman (2010) also points out the potentialfor consumers to become adversaries should their experience be negative.A condition of being dialogical is learning and growing through discussion with all views(Evans, 2001; Varey, 2003; Varey and Ballantyne, 2005). This means engaging with bothpositive and negative responses within social media. Dealing with negative views andcomplaints can put off brands from initially getting involved, yet the conversation is going onaround the brand whether it is on social media or not. Through discussion, public opinioncan be formed (Evans, 2001); therefore making sure a brand‟s voice is represented withindiscussion should be seen as vital. With a report claiming more than half of users are put offby negative comments on social networks (Pinkerfield, 2007), responding and dealing withissues should be a high priority. Being part of the dialogue allows brands to communicatetheir view, and receive instantaneous feedback allowing improvement of the product(Ostrowski, 2009). Sometimes that may just be apologising, which becomes easier if thebrand has successfully humanised their communications (Walter, 2011). Brands shouldnever be afraid of receiving negative comments and must show courage to build connectionswith those who criticise (Evans, 2001). Usually other members of the community will respondto posts that aren‟t constructive and deal with spammers (Cohen, 2008), whilst genuinegrievances and complaints should be responded to directly and sincerely. Acting dialogicallymeans brands should not impose themselves onto consumers and insist their methods areright, but instead journey with them to find a mutual solution (Evans, 2001). This empatheticresponse should be done in a timely manner, with staff seeking confirmation of theresolution. Consequently, it is important that social media teams have close connections withcustomer service departments to provide suitable support. 13
  18. 18. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Although brands may find it tempting to filter offensive posts there is likely to be far moreimpact should all posts be listened to and effectively dealt with. The chance of dialogueshould be seen as an opportunity to positively influence brand loyalty, not a threat to publiccredibility. Brands should also be transparent within their use of social media (Walter, 2011)as within unknown and emerging online environments, honesty and trust are important inbuilding relationships and maintaining customer loyalty (Nutley, 2004). Any signs of branddeception are likely to be quickly spotted by the community; this then risks escalation and awide loss of trust from consumers, as seen within section 5.1 „A Negative Example: HabitatUK‟. 14
  19. 19. Nick Robinson URN: 60021815.0 EXAMPLESThe following examples were taken from Twitter and highlight the issues raised surroundinga brand‟s utilisation of social media. Although this should not be considered conclusive of allsocial media activity undertaken by the two brands featured, it provides an overview of theirvarying approaches. Twitter was chosen over other social networks as it was seen to be thebest environment for potential consumer and brand interaction.5.1 A NEGATIVE EXAMPLE: HABITAT UKAlthough many brands have decided to purely utilise social media as another channel forinformation sharing, certain brands have gone a step further and attached their promotionalefforts to features within social networks that are designed to increase dialogue and buildcommunity. This approach can understandably receive negative feedback from thecommunity and become amplified throughout offline media as was the case with Habitat UKwhen their Twitter account was launched in June 2009. Initially, the strategy conceived byHabitat was to utilise trending topics and hashtags3 for their own promotions. Not only wasthere a large backlash to the spam nature of these messages, but the firm also managed totake a hashtag associated with Iranian elections where Twitter was being used to getimportant public information out (Gloria, 2009; Singer, 2009; Tiphereth, 2009). The eventwas picked up on by a large number of Twitter users and certain media outlets also ran thestory (Gloria, 2009; Singer, 2009; Tiphereth, 2009). Habitat deleted the offending tweets andissued a public apology via the firm‟s blog stating that they had not authorised the use ofthese methods to gain brand awareness and the responsibility lay with an enthusiastic intern(Tiphereth, 2009). However, the damage had been done and the story gained hugelynegative publicity. Habitat failed to grasp the foundations of the network and high jackeddialogues instead of cultivating their own community and conversation, without adding anyvalue and detracting from the issues being discussed. Although this example is a clearlyextreme, and few brands have had such a negative approach, this basic misunderstandingof social networks can be found throughout a wide cross-section of brands. Although Habitat3 Trending topics and hashtags are two features of the Twitter community, used to increaseopportunities for conversation. 15
  20. 20. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181seems to have learned lessons from the initial faux pas, there are still a number of areas forimprovement. These are established below and applied to a broader context. 5.1.1 MONITOR- IMPROVE SLOW RESPONSE TIMESSocial media is fast moving and conversations are starting every second. Brands are beingtalked about on Twitter and they need to listen to what is being said. Brands acting on acomplaint, without a customer even directly contacting them, are likely to improve relations.If customers are trying to connect with a brand, whether to report a problem, make acomplaint, or just say thanks, it‟s important to acknowledge them even if the issue cannot befixed straight away. The average effective response rate to a tweet is an hour (Van Grove,2010a). If brands don‟t have the staffing power to keep up with a reasonable response ratethen it should consider bringing in additional staff or outsourcing to an agency. 5.1.2 MEGAPHONE- GIVE BRAND PERSONALITYAlthough Habitat staff replying to the Twitter feed are being polite and trying to injectcharacter into posts, there is still a lack of personal touches to tweets, such as initials or signoffs within posts, and engaging content for interaction. This increases the distance betweencustomer and brand, taking away a personal feel and meaning customers lack a name whendealing with any other customer service. This also means there is more anonymity foremployees posting on the account and due care may not be taken. 5.1.3 MAGNET- LEARN FROM THE CONVERSATIONHabitat should take on and converse with users who are posting negative comments. Asimple search on Twitter reveals complaints, and customers attempting to contact Habitatdirectly, left unanswered. These should be directly addressed and seen as a positiveopportunity to learn from past errors, build and repair relationships, and improve futureresults.There are a number of key issues that can be learned through Habitat UK‟s mistakes. 5.1.4 MONITOR- MOTIVATION FOR JOININGIs the brand joining a social network as a way to connect with consumers, build relationshipsand learn together through dialogue? Or is it simply to market at another audience, with noknowledge of the network‟s etiquette. A brand should only be on Twitter as another methodof effectively boosting your communications with stake holders. The harm done to a brand 16
  21. 21. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181by jumping into a communication method that they do not understand will be far greater thanif they said nothing in the first place; there is no harm in listening and becoming familiar withthe social code of conduct before actively participating; there is plenty a brand can learn(Barwise and Meehan, 2010). 5.1.5 MEGAPHONE- NOT THEIR CONVERSATIONNo one likes their discussion being interrupted by an irrelevant topic. It wouldn‟t be donewithin normal conversation so why take it online? A brand should stick to topics they havesomething to contribute to, and not feel the need to have an opinion on every trending topicthere is. 5.1.6 MEGAPHONE- MISTAKES ARE INSTANTAs with all things on the internet, mistakes are instantly visible for all to see and should thatmistake be big enough it can be guaranteed that someone will spot it. Brands shouldn‟t beafraid; spelling mistakes every year or so won‟t be judged too harshly, but due care andattention should be applied to the content of each post made.FIGURE 5.1: A SCREENSHOT OF HABITAT UKS TWITTER PAGE (SOURCE: TWITTER, 2011a) 17
  22. 22. Nick Robinson URN: 60021815.2 A POSITIVE EXAMPLE: VIRGIN MEDIAIn contrast to Habitat‟s strategy, Virgin Media have based their approach aroundconversations and representing their brand within consumer discussions. Launched inDecember 2008, the site is a good example of how certain brands are intentionally utilisingsocial networks to begin dialogues and build relationships, and attempting to becomedialogical. Further details of this intentionality can be seen within Appendix B, with insightinto their current approach and future strategy. Here are highlights of the things they do well: 5.2.1 MONITOR- PROACTIVE ENGAGEMENTVirgin doesn‟t wait for Twitter users to communicate with them directly and registercomplaints. Their Twitter team and other staff have searches in place on key terms andhashtags to remain updated on conversations surrounding the brand. Virgin monitor theseconversations carefully, and offer assistance where needed. In implementing a proactiveapproach there is an opportunity to turn a negative experience into a positive connection, orto quickly address problems that have been raised by consumers. Virgin are not simplysending out information, they are listening and learning; a key aspect of being dialogical(Evans, 2001; Varey, 2003; Varey and Ballantyne, 2005). 5.2.2 MAGNET- QUICK TO REPLYAll tweets are replied to within a short period of time, usually 24 hours. Although the Twittersite is not monitored 24/7, the times that the site is checked is clearly displayed within thedescription to avoid confusion. A short response time is a good example of active listening;Virgin are acknowledging to the consumer that the message has been received and 18
  23. 23. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181understood, and that they will act upon this. Figure 3 clearly shows the quantity of „@‟4responses Virgin are using. 5.2.3 MEGAPHONE- CLEAR IDENTITIESTweets from staff are marked with initials, giving clear identity to those communicating withthe company and a marker for future reference. This allows for easy recognition of staff whoare communicating well, and enables staff to display personality more freely within posts.There are also clear details of who updates the Twitter feed within their page description.This personal identity allows for a more relational dialogue and helps to humanise the brand. 5.2.4 MEGAPHONE, MAGNET AND MONITOR- EMPATHETIC CONVERSATIONStaff are relational in their approach to dealing with problems and empathise withcomplaints. They also show high levels of gratitude when responding to positive feedback. 5.2.4.1 THEY LISTENSometimes good customer service is just intentionally listening to customer frustration.Active listening is a key separation from a dialogical and monological approach (Evans,2001; Varey, 2003; Varey and Ballantyne, 2005). It may not even be the company‟s fault butlistening to the problem and learning from the experience helps reduce future issues. 5.2.4.2 THEY ACTWhen a customer needs assistance the team is quick to take the issue offline via adedicated email address for Twitter issues. Emails to this address are responded to within aone hour period during working days.4 „@‟ signs are used within Twitter to bring a topic to the particular user‟s attention or reply as part of aconversation. 19
  24. 24. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181There are always going to be things that can be improved: 5.2.5 MONITOR- INCREASE MONITORING TIMESIn a 24/7 world where the social media conversation does not stop, consumers are wantingfaster replies. For a home service such as Virgin, where usage for the majority of userswould be within evenings and weekends, only monitoring a Twitter service from 8am-4.15pmis not likely to be ideal. The times at which tweets (particularly complaints) are receivedshould be monitored and analysed, and this should define when help is online, not atraditional 9am-5pm approach. 5.2.6 MAGNET- FOLLOW ISSUES THROUGH TO COMPLETIONThere have been instances, as reported within The Telegraph (Lunn, 2011), where VirginMedia have failed to deal with an issue raised through their Twitter account. Integratingfeedback from social networks into traditional complaint procedures has been a issue formany brands, and there will be instances where communication fails to be acted upon andno action is taken. Brands should put in place a clear procedure to deal with complaints, withclear instructions on where various customer issues should be redirected. This will avoidcustomers simply being passed from department to department, and no action being taken.FIGURE 5.2: A SCREENSHOT OF VIRGIN MEDIAS TWITTER PAGE (SOURCE: TWITTER, 2011b) 20
  25. 25. Nick Robinson URN: 60021816.0 CONCLUSION AND AREAS FOR FUTURE RESEARCHThe majority of brands take a largely informational approach to social media, routed in pasttraditions and techniques that were not designed to incorporate a dialogical responseframework. Where CRM systems are implemented the intrinsically emotional and socialfoundation for the relationship is not acknowledged or recognised and becomes scientised(Varey and Ballantyne, 2005). These approaches are not only dangerous as a brand‟scommunication becomes irrelevant to the environment, but also because the brands who arein dialogue with consumers have a strong opportunity to authentically influence opinionsthrough relationship. A brand which is not afraid to give up total control and can utilise socialmedia to strengthen mutual trust has the potential to build authentic and enduringrelationships through a long-term approach, built around reciprocated, relationalcommunication and dialogical interaction. Attempting to build one of these elements whilstneglecting the other is seen as implausible, as both are vitally co-dependent; relationshipwithout genuine dialogue can be seen to fragment (Evans, 2001) whilst attempting dialogicalexistence neglecting relationship forgoes the communicatory authority granted by connectedparticipants. Through creating a social media presence that encourages interaction anddevelops relationships, brands have the opportunity to grow, strengthen and repair loyalty.However, it is accepted that this is a considerable change for many brands to make; thetransition is likely to take time to implement and could well require a change in culture or, atthe very least, acknowledgement that traditional methods of marketing are unsuited to socialnetworks. Edelman (2010) notes that pilot schemes provide excellent testing grounds intothe new methods; noting and benchmarking successes and failures, learning for future largerscale projects. Every brand is likely to have a differing social experience, with varying andunguaranteed results (Smith, 2009) with some managers reluctant to sacrifice detailedstatistics on ROI.In addition to these varying results, the effects of influence within social media are stilllargely unknown. How best to combine this dialogical and relational approach with thetargeting of influential users, as suggested by Nutley (2007), is an interesting area for futureresearch. In addition, further research should be conducted on how influence is gained andgrown. For example, it is untrue to state that a dialogical approach is the only way throughwhich influence can be attained; brands may already hold a great deal of authority andinfluence from their offline activity and may be unconsciously influencing online conversation(Wu et al, 2011). The 6 methods of influence identified by Cialdini (1993) can also be appliedwithin the online social environment and should be revised for this setting. 21
  26. 26. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Whilst it is believed these recommendations have current relevance, the future evolution ofsocial is likely to further change the landscape and lead to revised and perhaps completelydifferent suggestions for complete social utilisation. Within the future, offline and onlineworlds are likely to be further blurred with augmented reality helping brands to becomeincreasingly relational and at the centre of the conversation. Smart phones will sit at theheart of the new social experience and games such as Foursquare and Scvngr will enableconsumers to further immerse themselves within environments and brands. This immersionshould be used by brands to add another dimension to their communications and rewardinteractions and loyalty, and is an area that could benefit from further research. 22
  27. 27. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181REFLECTIVE REPORTI believe this report deals with an important issue facing businesses today. The recent rise insocial networking has presented a significant opportunity for brands, yet many still fail todifferentiate between traditional and digital approaches, simply seeing social networks asanother channel. I chose this topic from real experience within my Placement Year atMicrosoft where I saw a great deal of confusion surrounding social networking from bothwithin and outside of the business. A number of staff were unsure how the company shouldbehave within social media, and how they could effectively utilise it within campaigns.Although I was aware that building relationships was to be an important part of the project, Ibegan by approaching the topic of communication as a whole. This was far too broad andprovided little focus for the key issue of why marketers did not communicate well online. Irealised that coming at the problem of maximisation from a company looking into the socialspace was ineffective and that the problem should instead be addressed from a socialnetwork looking out. This led me to reflect on what the core values of social networksactually were and out of this research came the clear realisation that a brands approach tosocial media would need to be significantly different from a traditional informationalapproach. After discussing the idea with my tutor, I focussed on applying a relational anddialogical approach to the different paths found within social networks in order to give theproject a specific focus.I accept that there is not a “one golden rule” when it comes to social media; there arelimitations in the application of this paper in far as to say everyone is an individual andshould be treated as such, whilst the largely immeasurable ROI offers a challenge formanagers who must justify activity. Yet, to enforce a blanket approach is to go against thefoundation of this project, and this too can be seen as a limitation. There is no easy or quicksolution and therefore the advice is somewhat vague and difficult to measure effectively. It isalso difficult to qualify numerous sources for this relatively new field, where the term “expert”should be viewed cautiously. Researching journals which specifically focussed on socialmedia brought few results, yet those relevant few provided significant insight. It becamenecessary to rely on internet sources, such as Mashable.com, which were chosen due totheir respectability within social media and used to develop issues initially raised withinacademic journals. I feel my research skills have developed significantly through myappraisal of content that had to be undertaken in order to seek out trustworthy and informedviews. Yet, these are indeed simply views, with little solid theory and results to inform. 23
  28. 28. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181However, discovering the small amount of theory that currently does exist cemented andstrengthened many views that were voiced through online articles, leading me to stronglybelieve in the project and its conclusions.Researching and developing my knowledge in this area has strengthened my passion forrelational communications and heightened my desire to pursue a career surrounding socialmedia management. 24
  29. 29. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181WORD COUNT: 7,700REFERENCESAaker, J., Fournier, S., and Brasel, S. (2004) „When Good Brands Do Bad‟. Journal ofConsumer Research; Jun2004, Vol. 31 Issue 1, p1-16, 16pAlbrecht, C., Neumann, M., Haber, T and Bauer, H. (2011) „The relevance of irrelevance inbrand communication‟. Psychology & Marketing; Jan2011, Vol. 28 Issue 1, p1-28, 28pBarwise, P. and Meehan, S. (2010) „The One Thing You Must Get Right When Building aBrand‟. Harvard Business Review; Dec2010, Vol. 88 Issue 12, p80-84, 5pBayler, M. (2006) „As consumers talk more can they even hear advertisers?‟ New MediaAge; 8/24/2006, p12-12, 1/2pBBC (2010) The Ups and Downs of Social Networks [online]. Available at:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10719042 [Accessed: 03/01/2011]Bengtsson, A (2003) „Towards a Critique of Brand Relationships‟. Advances in ConsumerResearch; 2003, Vol. 30 Issue 1, p154-158, 5pBrenna, E. (2010) „Budweiser Urges Fans to Vote for Super Bowl Ad Via Facebook‟ [online]Mashable.com. Available at: http://mashable.com/2010/02/02/budweiser-facebook-super-bowl/ [Accessed: 15/01/2011]Briody, K. (2011) „“Make it Social” is a Recipe to Fail‟ [online] SocialMallard.com. Availableat: http://www.socialmallard.com/socialmedia/make-it-social-is-a-recipe-to-fail/ [Accessed:20/04/2011]Buber, M. (1966) The Way of Response: Selections from his Writings, Glatzer, N. N. (ed.)New York, Schocken BooksCialdini, R (1993) Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion. Rev. ed. New York : Morrow,c1993. 25
  30. 30. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Clark, M. (2010) „Tapping into the Social Community‟ [online] ExactTarget.com. Available at:http://blog.exacttarget.com/blog/community-growth-and-development/tapping-into-the-social-community [Accessed: 05/01/2011]Cohen, L. (2008) „Why Brands ABSOLUTELY DO Belong on Twitter‟ [online] Mashable.com.Available at: http://mashable.com/2008/12/14/brands-do-twitter/ [Accessed: 16/01/2011]Cowling, J. (2011) „UK Brands Not Responding to Social Media Queries, Claims Research‟[online] PRWeek.com. Available at:http://www.prweek.com/news/bulletin/UKDaily/article/1064706/?DCMP=EMC-CONUKDaily[Accessed: 08/04/2011]Deetz, S. (1995) Transforming Communication, Transforming Business: BuildingResponsive and responsible Workplaces, Creskill, NJ, Hampton PressDrapeau, M. (2008) „Do Brands Belong on Twitter?‟ [online] Mashable.com. Available at:http://mashable.com/2008/12/12/twitter-brands/ [Accessed: 16/01/2011]Edelman (2011) „Figure 1: Emerging markets dominate as “business trusters”‟ 2011Edelman Trust Barometer Executive Summary. Available at:http://edelman.com/trust/2011/uploads/Trust%20Executive%20Summary.PDF [Accessed:19/04/2011]Edelman, D (2010) „Branding in the Digital Age‟. Harvard Business Review; Dec2010, Vol.88 Issue 12, p62-69, 8pEvans, K (2001) „Dewey and the Dialogical Process; Speaking, Listening, and TodaysMedia‟. International Journal of Public Administration; 2001, Vol. 24 Issue 7/8, p771-798,28pFournier, S (1998) „Consumers and Their Brands: Developing Relationship Theory inConsumer Research‟. Journal of Consumer Research; Mar98, Vol. 24 Issue 4, p343-373,31pGallaugher, J. and Ransbotham, S. (2010) „Social Media and Customer Dialog Managementat Starbucks‟. MIS Quarterly Executive; 2010, Vol. 9 Issue 4, p197-212, 16p 26
  31. 31. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Gloria, T. (2009) „HabitatUK apologises for Twitter hashtag issue‟ [online]SocialMediaToday.com. Available at:http://socialmediatoday.com/index.php?q=SMC/104490 [Accessed: 10/02/2011]Goodman, C. (2010) „Brands on social networks need to understand why people are there‟.New Media Age; 5/13/2010, p07-07, 1/2pKane, G., Fichman, R., Gallaugher, J., and Glaser, J. (2009) „Community Relations 2.0‟.Harvard Business Review; Nov2009, Vol. 87 Issue 11, p45-50, 6pKlopper, C. (2010) „Managing Your Companys Image‟. Manager: British Journal ofAdministrative Management; Summer2010, Issue 71, p15-17, 2pLindstrom, M. (2005) „Consumers love a brand with a personal face’. Media: Asias Media &Marketing Newspaper; 6/17/2005, p23-23, 1/2pLowenthal, B. (2009) „Optimal Posting Rate‟. Adweek; 10/19/2009, Vol. 50 Issue 37, p16-16,1pLunn, E. (2011) „Complaints- „I tweeted @RoyalMail and within six minutes my missingparcel turned up‟ Telegraph Money, 16/04/2011, pY7, 1/2pMartin, D. (2011) „Brian Solis: Social media ROI is measurable – if ROI is return onignorance‟ [online] MyCustomer.com. Available at: http://www.mycustomer.com/topic/social-crm/brian-solis-social-media-roi-easy-measure-if-we-re-talking-return-ignorance/123381[Accessed: 01/04/2011]McKay, L (2011) „Most Vendors Embrace Social CRM‟. CRM Magazine; Jan2011, Vol. 15Issue 1, p15-15, 2/3pMiller, R. and Washington, K. (2011) „Chapter 22: Social Marketing‟. Entertainment, Media &Advertising Market Research Handbook; 2011, Issue 11, p216-220, 5pNash, K. (2010) „Friending your customers‟. CIO; 12/1/2010, Vol. 24 Issue 5, p32-41, 7pNutley, M. (2004) „Even online, brands still benefit from earning trust‟. New Media Age;4/22/2004, p16-16, 1/2p 27
  32. 32. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Nutley, M. (2007) ‘Its the influencers, not the social media, that brands need to target‟.Marketing Week; 5/3/2007, Vol. 30 Issue 18, p19-19, 1pOstrowski, S. (2009) „Social engagement‟. Smart Business Houston; Oct2009, Vol. 4 Issue4, p16-16, 1pOxford Dictionary of English (2010) New York, NY: Oxford University PressPaynter, B (2010) „Five Steps to Social Currency‟. Fast Company; May2010, Issue 145, p44-47, 4pPearson, R. (1989) „Business Ethics as Communication Ethics : Public Relations Practiceand the Idea of Dialogue‟. In C. H. Botan and V. Hazleton, Jr. (Eds.), Public RelationsTheory, Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, p111-134, 23pPeters, J. (1999) Speaking into the Air: A history of the idea of communication, Chicago, IL,University of Chicago PressPeters, J. (2008) „Social Media Marketing Primer: How Blendtec Got Its Face On‟ [online]Mashable.com. Available at: http://mashable.com/2008/05/22/social-media-marketing-primer/ [Accessed: 10/04/2011]Pinkerfield, H. (2007) „Brands must beware social networks‟ [online] BrandRepublic.comAvailable at: http://www.brandrepublic.com/news/672058/Brands-beware-social-networks/[Accessed: 11/03/2011]Pullin, P. (2010) „Small Talk, Rapport, and International Communicative Competence‟.Journal of Business Communication, Oct2010, Vol. 47 Issue 4, p455-476, 22pSchaedel, U. and Clement, M. (2010) „Managing The Online Crowd: Motivations ForEngagement In User-Generated Content‟. Journal of Media Business Studies; 2010, Vol. 7Issue 3, p17-36, 20p 28
  33. 33. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Singer, D. (2009) „Habitats moment of Twitter madness‟ [online] BrandRepublic.com.Available at:http://community.brandrepublic.com/blogs/newsfromtheherd/archive/2009/06/23/habitat-s-moment-of-twitter-madness.aspx [Accessed: 02/04/2011]Smith, T. (2007) „The existential consumption paradox: an exploration of meaning inmarketing‟. Marketing Review; Winter2007, Vol. 7 Issue 4, p325-341, 17pSmith, T. (2009) „Why Big Brands Struggle With Social Media‟ [online] Mashable.com.Available at: http://mashable.com/2009/02/20/big-brands-social-media/ [Accessed:10/11/2010]Strokes, R. (2009) eMarketing: The Essential Guide to Online Marketing. Cape Town, SouthAfrica: Quirk eMarketing Ltd.Tiphereth (2009) „Habitatuk Apologises for Twitter Hashtag Issue‟ [online] DigitalTip.com.au.Available at: http://www.digitaltip.com.au/index.php/habitatuk-apologises-twitter-hashtag-issue/ [Accessed on 07/04/2011]Twitter (2011a) „HabitatUK (habitatuk) on Twitter‟ [online] Twitter.com. Available at:http://twitter.com/#!/habitatuk [Accessed: 03/05/2011]Twitter (2011b) „Virgin Media (virginmedia) on Twitter‟ [online] Twitter.com. Available at:http://twitter.com/#!/virginmedia [Accessed: 15/03/2011]Van Grove, J (2010a) „Most Tweets Produce Zero Replies or Retweets‟ [online]Mashable.com. Available at: http://mashable.com/2010/09/29/twitter-replies-retweets/[Accessed 13/02/2011]Van Grove, J. (2010b) „40 of the Best Twitter Brands and the People Behind Them‟ [online]Mashable.com. Available at: http://mashable.com/2009/01/21/best-twitter-brands/ [Accessed24/01/2011]Varey, R. (2002) Marketing Communication: Principles and Practice. London: Routledge.Varey, R. (2003) „A Dialogical Foundation for Marketing.‟ Marketing Review; Summer2003,Vol. 3 Issue 3, p273-288, 16p 29
  34. 34. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Varey, R. and Ballantyne, D. (2005) „Relationship Marketing and the Challenge of DialogicalInteraction‟ Journal of Relationship Marketing; 2005, Vol. 4 Issue 3/4, p11, 18pVaynerchuk, G. (2011) The Thank You Economy. New York: Harper BusinessWalter, E. (2011) „10 Tips for Posting on Your Brand‟s Facebook Page‟ [online]Mashable.com. Available at: http://mashable.com/2011/03/22/tips-brand-facebook-page/[Accessed 22/03/2011]Wasserman, T. (2011) „Audi Has the Most Engaged Fans on Facebook‟ [online]Mashable.com. Available at: http://mashable.com/2011/04/22/audis-facebook-bieber/[Accessed 22/04/2011]Wu, S., Hofman, J., Mason, W., Watts, J. (2011) „Who Says What to Whom on Twitter‟[online] Yahoo! Research. Available at: http://research.yahoo.com/pub/3386 [Accessed10/04/2011] 30
  35. 35. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181APPENDICESAPPENDIX A: T-MOBILE ROYAL WEDDING SPOOFIn April 2011, T-Mobile launched a spoof Royal Wedding video, utilising the popularitysurrounding the wedding of Prince William. The video was shared via T-Mobile‟s Twitter andFacebook pages, and spread rapidly across social networks, amassing over 16 million viewsand 43,000 likes on YouTube in under two weeks. 31
  36. 36. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181APPENDIX B: VIRGIN MEDIA AND SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENTATION HAND OUTSelected slides demonstrating Virgin Media‟s intentionality of fully utilising social media.Slide 1 32
  37. 37. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Slide 4Launched Aug 20095,000+ posts weeklyRelevant & frequently updated content = Google friendlyFocus is on peer help and customers helping themselves‘Kudos’ system to recognise power users – recognition drives behaviourDedicated customer service resourceE-mail migrationsFirmware testers 33
  38. 38. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Slide 6Used to promote V Festival, Shorts, Pioneers and one off campaignsConversations are ‘friend to friend’ and we often can’t see themEngage with campaigning groups direct, dealing with group operators (who pass info ontoothers) – Plymouth capacity upgradesSenior complaints team staff deal with issuesRoom for future expansion of Twitter team model 34
  39. 39. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Slide 7 35
  40. 40. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Slide 8Followers: 13,647 customers, media, prospects, celebrities we have direct contact with Tweets out: news, product launches & updates, sales offers, portal articles, general education, competitions, acquisition hunting Tweets in: feedback, questions, complaints, service recovery issues, compliments and appreciationProactive engagement: VMTwits (staff members – over 400 of them) search for comments on „Virgin Media‟ and encourage customers to tweet us 36
  41. 41. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Slide 9 Average growth now approx 30-50 new follows per day Jumped by around 200 in one day when Stephen Fry reported a service problem (as it resulted in other people recognising we were on Twitter) 37
  42. 42. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Slide 10Average 48 tweets per day (tpd) since launch 38
  43. 43. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Slide 11@vfestival - News and exclusive content, even help on where to find the loos!@vmondemand / @vmmovies - Showcasing our video on demand service@VMediaShorts / @vmpioneers - Promoting short film competition and entrepreneurshipscheme we sponsor.@vmbusiness - Primarily a PR feed (promoting products, blogs etc) but also servicerecovery 39
  44. 44. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Slide 13Reactive: Important to take conversation „offline‟ (as usually an account specific enquiry) – team mailbox (twitter@virginmedia.co.uk) Most issues resolved same day, all within 5 days E-mails responded to within the hour (business hours) Keeping customer updated at every step of way Empowered to do what is needed internally to resolveProactive: The source of many of our biggest „wow‟ reactions from customers. 40
  45. 45. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Slide 14NPS Scores of ‟10‟ in a complaints function – unusual with a customer already unhappyCost to serve – lower goodwill creditsOwn words – blogs, media stories, NPS feedback (which we widely use to promote theTweam internally) 41
  46. 46. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Slide 15 42
  47. 47. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Slide 16 43
  48. 48. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Slide 17 44
  49. 49. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Slide 18 45
  50. 50. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Slide 19 46
  51. 51. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Slide 20The conversation: Taking part means you can get the facts out there and help people who need itCase management: A named person empowered to resolve problems gets the results and wows thecustomerStaff Judgment: Your frontline team know how to deal with your customers Let them use their discretion on when/how to respond – you learn from your mistakes(and you will make some)Internal Feedback Contacts: Twitter team engage with field, faults, product, marketing, PR and other teamsInstantaneous Feedback: Ideal „weathervane‟ for product launches – e.g. Netbooks Fixing problems faster through immediate engagement – e.g. network issue toFacebook 47
  52. 52. Nick Robinson URN: 6002181Slide 21Where do we take social media from here: How to tackle Facebook customer service Scaling the Twitter operation Further integration with other channels Tighter integration of forums with main website 48

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